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The Monday Miniature: 2015


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I can't believe it is already Monday. Argh!  I was going to talk about the awesome freehand on Jab's mini.  How he used very thin paint over his highlights to add that dappled effect on the cloth; how I plan on stealing the effect when I paint Coraline.  I'd also planned on sharing some freehand tips that I got from DKS, like using Stained Ivory as a base under your free hand, and as a mask to fix mistakes because it has large pigment flake and covers well; it also allows the color of your freehand to pop, because they are on a white, but alas, it is Monday, and I'll never get the chance now.

 

On to the next mini....

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Monday Miniature: 77375 Mashaaf

 

IG_4416_1.jpg

IG_4416_2.jpg

IG_4416_3.jpg

 

Painted by Peter Fitz
Sculpted by Kevin Williams
 
Today we have an excellent and yet gross version of Mashaaf (and yes that is a compliment).
 
A couple things really stand out to me on this one:
 
1. The whitish skin is well done.  Note how subtle the shadows are, with large areas left white.  This is an excellent primer in shading a white mini.  the key is to have more highlight zone, fewer shadows, and very smooth transitions.
 
2. I really like the way he transitioned to purple and pulled wet looking highlights on the tentacles.
 
3. I like the chitinous look and contrast of the dark claws.
 
4.  the gem eyes really make the piece.  Painting gems is not as hard as most thing it is, but you do have to know where to place the colors, and it is opposite how a non translucent surface would work, with the dark point being high and the lightest color low.  then you at a white reflection dot high to finish it off. dsmiles posted a good reference for gems here.
 
Have a great week.
 
Andy
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That worm is very inspiring, making such beautiful blends, and the colours chosen, just make this piece spectacular.

I'ld like to try to emulate what I think makes this piece work so well, the colour values are very similar -except for the darker purpley-red mouth tentacles which draws the eye, giving the very elegant grossness, that just makes this piece fantastic.

Great pick Andy!

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That piece is quite intriguing. The majority of the piece being white is an interesting choice. The shadows being a pink white and blue help harmonize and break up the monotone of white. The blending of the tentacles is pretty well done. They look almost wormish. The jewel effect is done well. My critique would be for some of the green/gray rocks to have sharper shadows.

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Monday Miniature: Unknown Bust

 

6x__sized_l.jpg 3x__sized_l.jpg

 

Painted by Alfonso Giraldes "Banshee"

 

This is a 3D skecth done in 90 minutes, which is impressive itself.  Cash brought this to me as a point for discussion.  I think there is a lot to take from this one.  There's a bit of cell shading going on here and color theory being applied well.  Mostly, I think it can give us a good point to discuss skin tones and shadows.  The complete blog post is here (no commerce links, I checked).

 

Cash, if you could kick off the discussion this week, that would be great; I know you found inspiration here and we'd like to hear about it.

 

(Also, if anyone knows where this mini comes from or what it is, let me know and I'll fix the title.)

 

Andy

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Well, first off I just love the paint job and the artist. I don't believe it has a name, just The Anonymous Bust, he uses it for classes to demonstrate on. This alone means there are a ton of different takes on it, from Banshee and also from students. Here's an example:

 

ZtbJeVK.jpg

 

Now, aside from the fact that I love how he paints this, it's a bit of a stylistic statement. Here's a couple quotes from Banshee:

 

90 minutes sketch

I think is the 15th version i have painted already.

I think that if you follow my work i am trying to develop an illustration style in 3d. i have been doing this since many years ago in kmodels when i started doing the duel between anakin and obiwan:http://www.puttyandpaint.com/projects/3095

Since that i think i have gone into a more wild way of painting. however there is obviously much more conciousness and control after years of developing those effects , techniques and searching for new ways and new styles.

now i am able to do this in 90 minutes, and this means that although this is just a sketch, I can guide the eye into certain ways that i want. and is the way of painting where i feel more relaxed, but excited and happy afterall .. Lets say that this is naturally what i have searching for since i discovered my love for the impresionism masters when i was 16 and i visited the musee d'orsay..and then following all the techniques and artist that can be perceived as sons of this style, and i would say attitude.. paint fast, capture the feeling, be strong, and understand the colours to create effects , light, ambiances or moments.

Life is a sequence of moments and to me this is impresionism. i cannot be an impresionist, but my attitude it is. and my techniques and way of painting are part of this tendency . smthing i will continue developing.

Who told that the only beautiful thing is the smooth blending?. I think that painting is much more than this.

 

i bet for the multiple styles and i bet for a future where people will appreciate the brushstrokes, the intention, the density of the pigment, as well as we use to do with 2d canvas or illustration. thats just a way. and as many people follow this or try this., the better will be for the health of this miniature world. because just to blend everything perfect in the same way with the same techniques and the same result ..i think is boring and one of the reasons why people get upset and tired with miniatures.. we must break down the boundaries!

 

Let me clarify I (not Banshee) am not trying to bash the smooth blending style. It's a great tool in the toolbox and a really great style. But as I began learning to paint minis I'd see people paint really cool things and then get slammed because the blends were not smooth. This kind of stuck as a pebble in my shoe, because it seemed to be putting down a great paint job because it didn't follow the prevailing stylistic trend. When I attended Reapercon, I heard that a LOT, we all have, it's a standard critique. And honestly, my blends do suck, this isn't a defensive mechanism trying to cover up my poor technique! But the idea that there should be more to painting than smooth blending style has stuck with me.

 

I've tried a few ways of approaching painting in a different style over the couple years I've been painting (three years now!), and not met much success. And again, this isn't to get around the technical aspect of smooth blending, I believe any technically sound style will be a ton of effort and skill. Going back to Red Box Svetlana and then Rollo, I was heavily influenced by Boris Vallejo (Tre's work always makes me want to paint like Vallejo and Frazetta). Boris can be a bit more 'oiled body builder' but I like his style and palette (example). As I painted Rollo I started wondering about painting a bit more like this and when I began painting my recent Kingdom Death survivor, it came even further to the forefront.

 

This most recent project was initially just to save some time, but I found it created a really cool effect as well as dramatic shading and honestly saved me no time at all. Each line had to be laid in perfectly, as the initial lack of blending and bold colors meant placement had to be exact, no fudging. I later relented and softened a lot of the transitions with blending, but it's still a pretty dramatic piece.

 

And then I stumbled across that bust on p&p and read what Banshee was saying about pursuing a more illustrative style and it recalled a conversation I had with my significant other on exactly that subject, as I tend to look to traditional painters for inspiration as much or more than mini painters. And the mini painters I am drawn to tend to paint a bit more stylistically 'out there' than the norm (Bohun, Karol Rudyk).

 

I guess it's just a serendipitous string of events for me as I try to figure out what artistic direction I'm trying to move towards as I try to progress technically.

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I'll tell ya, the miniature world is totally different from the "art" world and I say this in a completely fascinated way.  In art class, they kept telling me I needed to put more personality in the paint.  I needed more brushstrokes, more funky glazes, more color, more texture, more... sigh.  I'd get to the point where I just wanted to go back to clay.  Watercolor was a bit easier, because there was only so much you could do to it before you had to stop or risk screwing up the washes or muddying the colors.  When I found mini painting, I loved it, because it craved smooth blends!  Finally!  I could use color in fun ways, but I didn't have to get too creative and throw in 50 shades to make my white more... white.  I could use fewer colors since it was on such a small scale.  But this is the complete opposite of most painting styles with the exception of the hyper-realist and neo-classical movements (probably some others, but those are the ones I can think of.)  Certainly if you get a chance to look at a lot of the impressionist works in person, you can see how they caked on the paint!  The textures just lent such depth to the work- the paint looks like it is constant motion, even though it's frozen on the canvas.  But on our scale, it's hard to get that effect to work well.  Sigh.  'cause I love their colors... 

 

Pingo does a beautiful job with textures in her work, so she's a great model to follow if you're looking to use color in an artistic manner.

 

I like the style above because it is more "arty"  It reminds me of the sharper transitions you see in a lot of modern art.  Actually, I could see this as a silkscreen or a woodblock print, mainly because of those transitions.  It reminds me of the pop art movement in a way.  I love the red in the skin- that always makes the piece warmer. 

 

That's one thing I love about playing with skintones.  Using a variety of color rather than colors that end or start with "skin" is a great way to introduce a bit of personality in the mini.  I love blues, greens, reds, purples, teals... etc etc.  Don't be afraid to throw in color when painting the skin.

 

So, kudos for use of unique colors and sharp transitions to help define the 3-D form!

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I've thought a lot about the "rote vs art" concept in minis painting, too. As a minis painter, I haven't personally done much to break out of the standard mode of smooth blends, but I've contemplated the things that make my favorite works of 2D art great, vs what we do as minis painters.

 

I think part of it has to do with the fact that our "canvas" is so clearly pre-defined. A painter starts with nothing but an idea, and everything put on canvas (paper, masonite, whatever) is filtered through that idea before becoming visible. For minis painters, our ideas have to be filtered through the sculpt; we have to work very hard to avoid a "realistic" mode, because in some respects, we're just coloring within the lines*. This is reinforced by the most common purpose most of us have for painting minis: get them on the gaming table. This purpose pushes many painters toward a simple basecoat/shade/highlight goal, which is in turn the major drive for innovation and improvement in the artform.

 

This is why I think skills like OSL/directional lighting, monochrome and TMM (and, yes, NMM, even if it's not my bag) are important: playing with these skills open up new artistic modes. This "Anonymous Bust" is a great example of the things we are capable of as miniatures painters. There is a mood, a hint at a narrative, imbedded in the brushwork. It's very cool, and I want to paint that way one day.

 

At the same time, I have twelve kobolds and an angel that need to be ready for.the table in two weeks...so I'm falling back on "rote" right now. What I plan for Rcon 2016, I hope to play with some more of the "art." I think they can exist under one roof.

 

 

 

 

 

* I was once told (by some wag in a games shop) that the only true artists among miniatures painters are those who sculpt what they paint. I think this is a load of rotting tripe, but I do think most minis I've painted are massively influenced by the sculpt, and those which come closest to my own "artistic expression" are those which I've modified the sculpt in some extensive way. This is also one of the reasons I like basing so much: it affords me the opportunity to contribute to the 3D world of the sculpt.

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I see no problem with harsh transitions if it is the effect the artist is seeking, and it portrays the vision.

 

This bust is very evocative of a certain "comic book" or "graphic novel" feel. From one angle, it makes me think I'm looking at Wolverine. I've seen this taken to an extreme of 3D mecha painted to look like 2D anime. It looks fabulous, just like this bust. It still requires a lot of skill for picking where to place highlights and shadows. It may even require more skill in color selection since you can't just mash two paints together to see where you end up. I may try something like this some day. It could look very interesting on a model which isn't an obvious choice... A dragon or something.

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It's taken me a few days to come up with a response to this because every time I open this tab I get distracted by how gorgeous that mini is. I love the bold, stylized look. I am incredibly jealous of this guy's clear skill; he obviously knows just where the light should hit. The colored directional lighting is beautiful as well. Very, very nice work all around.

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