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BlueNiteDragon

Book Imp Fairy

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So I painted this mini once and submitted it to the Inspiration gallery, then re-painted it when it was denied and submitted it again. Unfortunately it's been denied again. I'm at a loss on what I can do with Sprite here- she's so freakin' tiny its hard to get any really good detail done, but maybe its just my inexperience talking (I only just started painting minis about 2 weeks ago). Do any of you pros have any suggestions on how I can improve? I did just recently get 5 other minis accepted into the gallery, and comparing my work to some of the other folks on here I can definitely see there's TONS of room for me to improve- I just really don't know how without simply 'practice makes perfect'.

 

FYI- I'm using mainly Liquitex medium-body artist acrylics since I have so much of it left over from my college days. They're all still perfectly good to use for paintings and such, but I do realize they're not the ideal consistency for such detailed work. Plus I don't have a lot of cash to go spending on a whole new collection of paints. :)

 

Also FYI- photos were taken with my Cannon PowerShot SD750 Digital Elph, lit with an OttLite, and the background is simply a sheet of printer paper.

 

Thanks for lookin'!

 

~BND

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Practice does make perfect, I'm afraid. Sometimes that's all you really need.

 

Looking at this model, though, I could suggest a few things.

 

First, it looks like all of your paints are metallic. Are you mixing metallics into your colors, or maybe using the same water to rinse your brush between using metallic and non-metallic?

 

Second, your paint looks kind of blotchy. Beginners usually need to be told to thin their paints more. You may be thinning them too much, at least for your base coat. You want a nice, solid, smooth coat to begin with. Then you use thinner paints for highlighting and shading.

 

Finally, I suggest reading a lot of online tutorials. They can be really helpful. Aaron Lovejoy (a.k.a. Olliekickflip) has an amazing Blending Tutorialright here on the Reaper boards. There are many others out there as well. CMON has quite a collection, for starters.

 

Good luck!

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To follow up on what Mama said...

 

I think the metallic look is taking away from the paint. Unless you want the entire figure to be metallic, make sure you’re not cross contaminating your water or brush. Paint metallic’s ONLY with metallic’s and thoroughly clean your brush and water when finished or you risk transfer of the metallic flakes into your regular paint. Also, (a little tip) if you are using a gloss varnish over the entire piece...reconsider. This is a mistake I made early on but quickly learned that gloss varnish doesn't photograph well and creates shiny spots where you don't want them. If you want to accent areas with metallics, paint everything else first...then use a matte clear coat if you need one. After the matte coat dries, apply your metallics to the desired areas, i.e. edges of the wings. At this point you can use a brush on gloss varnish in just those areas if desired to protect and maintain the metallic effect.

 

Other than that, like Mama said, practice makes perfect. I improved my painting by finding online tutorials both written and video. Also, doing what you’re doing by posting in the forum is helpful. It allows you to get an outside perspective and it’s been my experience that everyone on the Reaper forums maintains courtesy in their critiques. 8 ) I have a tutorial on my blog about the basics of improving if you want to check it out. I tried to cover all the things that no one ever told me so hopefully my learning experience would make it easier on newer painters. It’s not so much about the technique as it is the lessons I learned the hard way. See it here.

 

This is the first miniature I ever painted. It's obviously been beaten up over the years but it honestly didn't look much better when it had fresh paint. LOL Keep on painting and don’t give up…most of all ENJOY YOURSELF! :bday:

 

weretigress.jpg

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The pigment in your paints looks like it's pretty coarse, which is why your minis look pretty rough.

Using a flow release agent mixed with water will help you get your paints to the right consistency, and get them to flow better for you.

The medium body acrylics have a much coarser pigment than the liquid acrylics, or a paint designed specifically for painting miniatures.

 

Despite not having money to replace them, get a few bottles at a time. You'll find using a paint that's meant for the purpose will assist in improving your techniques much faster than trying to struggle with the wrong tools for the job. There's no need go and get 250 bottles of paint, when you can spend a few bucks for a bottle of flow improver, and a few basic colours of miniature paint.

 

Tutorials will help immensely, as will just painting more. I wish there were online tutorials back in the day; I wouldn't have stagnated for so long....With the resources available now that we're in the digital age, you have a world of teachers at your fingertips.

 

For only two weeks at it, I think your expectations are quite high! I've been painting minis for almost 25 years, and I think there's a lot I can do to improve still. Don't be so hard on yourself, and as long as you see improvement from model to model, you know you're making progress.

 

The best thing you can do is not to compare yourself to the pros; compare your models to your own, and use the professional paint jobs to simply observe and learn.

 

That's art, and it improving never ends until you do. :D

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I'd further add the proverbial: "if you are anywhere near Reaper, you might want to consider coming to ReaperCon in May." The experience will open your eyes. ::):

 

~v

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What's been pointed out above me each has excellent advice for a new painter. The ones that reaper accepted in the inspiration gallery do look better than this one, and I think, like was said above, it's the metallic flakes in the paint. If you are not diluting yet it would be a great idea to achieve a smoother finish.

 

On a side note, I've been painting for about a year now, and most of the ones you have up at the inspiration gallery (especially your spirit wolf), is at least 2x better than my first miniature paint jobs! When you feel your ready to go to the next step, I'd recommend Dramatic Layering (basically using only three colors, and layering them up one at a time from darkest to lightest, making sure your second and third layer is diluted just enough for the base coat to show through). Dramatic layering was my first step to improving quality, and I think you'll like your results with it.

 

EDIT: I have to second what Ghool said. Investing in a few at a time in paints designed for mini's makes things easier when it comes to these mini's. If you see a mini you'd like to paint, think of the colors, and invest in the appropriate paints if you can. If you'd like to try out dramatic layering like I mentioned above, Reapers paint triads are perfect for that, as each paint in a triad goes well into the other.

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If the mini is too small, buy some giants and/or ogres to paint. For me, the tiny minis aren't 'fun', nor do I have the skill. So I stick to the bigger models.

 

Tiny minis come with skill and practice, so if your skill is not quite there yet, don't rush it.

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I'll second MamaGeek and Ghool -- between the flecks of metal medium in your matte colours and the chunky bits of pigment, this scale isn't at all flattering for your painting skills. It doesn't help that the photos you posted are a lot larger than the mini itself, and macrophotography magnifies all imperfections. The scale issue might be why you're having trouble getting the details to come out the way you want and why your other submissions were accepted while this one wasn't.

 

If you've taken courses in painting, you're probably way ahead of most of us in terms of mixing some basic colours to come up with what you want. Beyond that, your brush control looks rock-solid, and I dig the freehand on the open pages of the book -- which would've made me run screaming after a couple weeks of painting. I think once you get the pigment issues sorted out, you'll see great results.

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Welcome to the hobby. I think you've picked a good place on the web to start out with. The people here are pleasant, helpful, and really know their subject. Painting minis is difficult enough to master to keep me interested and always learning. It's also rewarding for me when I finish up something and it comes out well. I hope it's a good hobby for you as well.

 

I can also recommend Reapercon. It's been enjoyable enough we drive in every year.

 

On your mini: I think you might do better with paint designed for it. If you think you'll stay with the hobby some paint with finer pigment grains will help smooth out things a lot.

Decent brushes and at least some medium quality paints would be a good start. "Good tools are a joy"

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I think everyone covered anything I could think of. Welcome to the forums, hope you stick around and learn and enjoy this great hobby.

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Wow, thank you so much everyone! I really didn't expect such a positive critique! Going to an art school is really challenging and competitive so I was bracing myself for a complete rip-apart of my work! Man, I really don't miss critique days! You guys are awesome. :)

 

I'm amazed that my acrylics from 2001-2004 are still as fluid and smooth now as they were back then! I am using a clear, matte finish spray for the protective finish, so the shine you're seeing is from the metallic paint.

 

MamaGeek: I totally did a *facepalm* when dirty water was mentioned. DUH painting 101! Oy vey. That's my first problem right there!!! Shows how rusty I am at this whole painting thing!

 

LadyArgent: Thank you for the suggestion of doing everything with the matte colors, spray-varnishing, then putting the metallics where I want and brushing on a glossy varnish in those ares. Brilliant!

 

Ghool: I'll definitely check into the flow release agent. I'm too cheap to buy more acrylic paint when I haven't used up the paint I already have!

 

sgtoku: Thank you! I haven't heard of Dramatic Layering, I'll definitely check into it more. I'm always up for learning new techniques. Thinking about the larger minis I painted v/s this one, I remember that I used a lot of dry-brushing. With the coarser pigments in the paint, dry brushing might not be the best idea for such a tiny mini- that's probably why my paint looks all globby and icky.

 

twjolson: I got the smaller minis because I wanted something even more challenging than the regular sized ones. Its on now baby! ;)

 

Ferox: Thank you! The freehand didn't quite drive me insane, but it did drive me to the chiropractor afterwords- MAJOR cramps in the shoulders when I was done!

 

Shakandara and Jay: I'm totally interested in Reapercon, I still need to investigate and see if its something I can swing.

 

Mercius: Thank you very much, I'm definitely going to be sticking around. This has been a VERY pleasant experience!

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LOL I just checked where Reapercon is being held- Texas? I live in Iowa and I don't have a enough vacation time to take off on a 13 1/2hr ONE WAY car trip!! Maybe next year, but that's in big competition with the Renaissance Festivals my fiance and friends and I all love going to every year.... We'll have to see. :)

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Welcome to the forums!

 

One thing I wondered that no one else mentioned was: Did you use primer? I wasn't sure if some of what I was seeing in the pic was metallic paint or areas were the paint didn't stick or rubbed off. Primer is a whole other can of worms. There are lots of posts on this forum and others for you to check out. Primer, like paint, comes down to a personal preference. My preference, after some experimentation, is Reaper's Master Series white brush on primer. I live in an area where the humidity is high most of the year, which doesn't play nice with the spray-on and I prefer the control of the brush-on. It just takes longer.

 

What everyone else said is good advice. Check out tutorials, practice, invest in a few paints for minis, and practice. When I started painting, I used Testors enamel paints the hobby has come a long way since then.

 

Your photography is really good too. I use the fact that it shows every little flaw in larger-than-life detail to help my painting. I take photos as I paint to show which areas still need work.

 

Happy painting.

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Wow, thank you so much everyone! I really didn't expect such a positive critique! Going to an art school is really challenging and competitive so I was bracing myself for a complete rip-apart of my work! Man, I really don't miss critique days! You guys are awesome. :)

This is a great place that way. Another nice place to get advice is WAMP. It also has multiple competitions all year, some with prizes, some with only bragging rights, but all with helpful advice.

 

Ghool: I'll definitely check into the flow release agent. I'm too cheap to buy more acrylic paint when I haven't used up the paint I already have!

If you try some liquid acrylics like Reaper's MSPs, you might change your mind. It simplifies using the paint since it is nearly ready to go on the mini out of the bottle. One disadvantage is that you have to shake the paints if you haven't used them recently. Tube paints don't have that problem. ::):

 

Shakandara and Jay: I'm totally interested in Reapercon, I still need to investigate and see if its something I can swing.

Gen Con (in Indianapolis) is closer to Iowa and they have a nice selection of painting classes, demos, paint and take, speed painting, and contests. The last time I went, it was a very busy place and most of the classes I took were full. ReaperCon is very intimate compared to Gen Con, but it's nice to have alternatives.

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