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First off, WELCOME TO THE FORUM! You'll find this to be a wonderful place full of great people who are very friendly and very helpful.

 

Secondly, that is a fantastic first figure. You already have a lot of skill and tons of potential to get better and better.

 

Thirdly, just keep practicing. It looks like you have some really good brush control already, you'll need to learn shading and highlighting next. Shading is using the darker colors of your base color and even dark colors opposite of the base color you are using on a color wheel (examples being red and green) to get into the areas where light wouldn't touch such as folds in cloaks. Just keep practicing, asking questions, and asking for feedback. Try to improve on one thing with every figure you do and soon enough you'll be putting out some amazing stuff.

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Hey, what's with all these really great "first" mini treads recently? I'm starting to find it hard to believe... :rock:

 

Anyway, this looks great! Your paint placement and brush control look really good. Do you do other forms of painting? My main critique is that the white looks a little garish (though it might just be the lighting; white is really hard to photograph). It looks like a cold white, which clashes with the rest of the mini. I'd suggest using a warm, creamy white instead (highlight up to "Linen White" if you're using RMS paints) and shade down somewhat deeper in the crevices to a yellow/brown/dark cream/bone color.

 

Ub3r's right as well that highlights and shading will boost your minis to the next level too. One of the most frequently repeated pieces of advice on this forum is "more contrast!" Push your highlights much brighter than you think you should, and your shadows much darker. When you get to the point where you aren't sure if you should push them any further or not, add another layer in each direction, and then one more. When your face is squished up a mini for an hour, under bright lights (you do have good lighting in your painting space, right?), it looks like you've gone far enough, and anything further will ruin it; you know every subtle color variation and highlight. But once you step back, look at it on the table or under worse light, or even just after having not looked at it for a while, subtle variation will disappear and it'll look too flat and lifeless. The brightest highlights on the mini should be near-white and the darkest shadows should be near-black, though not every surface should necessarily cover that whole spectrum. Some painters use the same highlight and shadow colors throughout the piece, which really helps unify it and prevents any one area from standing out more than you want. (For instance, a recent mini of mine ended up very garish, so I put a cool purple wash over the whole thing, and highlighted most of the clothes up through yellow.)

 

As I said though, this is a great start. The face in particular is really incredible for a first mini; and would actually be good even for an experienced painter. I know I'd be pleased to have that on one of my minis. Keep practicing; I look forward to seeing how your skills progress!

Edited by Slendertroll
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What an excellent job! Welcome to the forums and welcome to your work as well. This is a great place to learn and share. Especially useful are the WIPS (work in progress) that you can post pics of where you're at and ask questions. Have a look around and again, welcome!

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White is a very tricky colour to paint so you really gave yourself a challenge with your first mini.

As others have said you obviously have a steady hand as you're able to place the paint only where you want it.

Follow the others advice on shading and highlighting and I think you'll be impressed with the work you can do.

 

And welcome to the Reaper forums. ::):

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For a first mini that's really nice. You paid a lot of attention to the shapes of the figure and it's really clear which parts are what. That's a good face, too, and faces are some of the tricky parts.

 

I would reiterate what ub3r_n3rd and Slendertroll said about shading. Since the rest of the painting is so skilled, the lack of shading is noticeable.

 

There are lots of ways to shade. A very simple one is to put a wash of a deep color thinned down with some matte medium over an area so that it fills the nooks and crannies and makes the details pop. For example, a wash of thin deep brown over her left hand, the one holding the staff, would visually separate her fingers. Then since the tone of the hand would be somewhat darkened one could touch up the highlights on the hand with the original skin color or a slightly lighter one. This technique works decently well for areas with lots of little, sharp details. For broad areas like the cloak, painting shadows directly tends to work better.

 

I'm doubly impressed you managed this with craft paints, which are notoriously difficult to work with. If you can manage some better quality paints I really recommend them, even if it's only a single color at a time. It is amazing the difference it makes when your paints work with you.

 

Most people around here use paints formulated especially for minis painting, premixed colors with mediums and matting agents already added to make them the right consistency for use straight out of the bottle. Reaper has a line of good quality paints and so do companies like Vallejo and Games Workshop (although the containers of the GW paints garner many complaints and seem prone to wastage and drying up). They are pricy per volume, but a $3 bottle will last a long time painting things as small as minis.

 

I use artists' paints, mostly Golden matte fluid acrylics. They are good for people who like mixing their own colors and work out to about half the cost per volume of miniatures paints, but they require more prep work and have a longer learning curve.

 

Some people here use airbrushes, but they are not required.

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Very nice work. Rather than repeat what everyone has said I will sum up to: you have an excellent eye for detail and your brush accuracy is great. Learning contrast and shading comes with time and experience.

 

It looks like you have a great future in the addiction, er hobby, ahead of you! Can't wait to see more

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Oh hey, I didn't even see that you're using craft paints. I think that craft paints are an acceptable way to start your paint collection, and have been known to recommend them to people just starting with a limited budget. But yes, buying paints specifically for mini painting will serve you better and make your life easier, and since you've presumably got a good base collection to work from, I recommend picking up a few of those at a time to mix into your collection, with the end goal of phasing out the craft paints. (And remember to thin your paints, regardless of type!)

 

Also, you don't say what brushes you're using, but the number one best purchase a mini painter will ever make is a high-quality brush. If you don't have one, pick up a Kolinsky sable brush. Popular brands are Windsor & Newton (95% of my painting is done with my W&N size 1), Raphael, and Da Vinci. Rosemary & Co is an up-and-coming brand that seems to be getting pretty good reviews. Also, it might seem counter-intuitive, but get the biggest brush you can handle. Sizes 0 through 2 are the usual suggestions, though it varies by brand. On a good brush, the tip will be razor-thin no matter the size, but they'll have a bigger belly, which will prevent the paint from drying before it gets to the mini, which happens with super-tiny "detail" brushes. It can actually be easier to paint fine details with a size 1 than a size 000, since you can really take your time to line it up. (Some here, like Buglips, like really tiny brushes, so you can go ahead and try them, but the general consensus is that bigger is easier.)

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Wow, thanks so much everyone for your encouragements and tips! ^_^ I'm very happy I became a member of the Reaper forums. In perfect lighting I know I see some of my shading, but yeah in the pictures and most lighting I realize it isn't enough. I'll work on that!

 

For those wondering, yes, I have painted other things before, mostly wooden figurines and stuff (usually between 5-10"), like nutcrackers and nesting dolls. I've become pretty used to working with my craft paint, and so I'm a bit reluctant to try other brands... Oh well, I may buy one here or there, at least to give them a chance. I read everywhere that Reaper products rock!

 

As for my paintbrushes, the handle is so worn out on most of them that I can't read the brand or size anymore...! I know I have one natural and relatively small for detailing (I think it's a size 1), and the others are various sizes and synthetic for drybrushing and mixing my colors.

 

I just bought the Mermaid mini, which has less of those little nooks and crannies, so I'll be able to practice the shading and highlighting more. Thanks for those who suggested using washes, the idea never occurred to me. O_o

 

To Kharsin, thanks for the idea! I certainly will post WIP pics of my Mermaid when I start it. I'll be trying my hand at some mods too, we'll see how that turns out.

 

Reaper Forums is now my favorite place to be! Thank you all! <3

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