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rubegon

89005 | Amiri, Iconic Barbarian (Bones version) WIP

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I got this mini in the Mini Painting 101 class at ReaperCon.  This was our first ReaperCon - my wife and I took the class together.  I’d painted about a dozen minis (badly) for D&D before going to RC.

 

I like this sculpt, and I wanted to work on improving my basic painting skills.  I decided to keep working on her to see how far I can go.

 

I’ve spent an embarrassingly large amount of time on her already.  I do feel like I’m learning a lot though and getting better at controlling my brush and getting paint consistency right.

 

I broke out one of the good brushes I had bought and not touched - a da Vinci Maestro.  I still feel unworthy to use it but maybe it will help me get better.

 

I’ve done a lot of work on the red armor already, but still need to do some more highlighting.  I think I might have overdone the highlights on the green ropes in some places.  I was planning to glaze them down and redo a bit smaller.

 

Thanks for taking a look.  I would greatly appreciate any feedback or tips on what I can improve on the parts I’ve worked on already.

 

Here she is so far - she looks a lot better if you squint.

 

FC716EBA-4DDB-49AF-BAE2-633A0394020D.thumb.jpeg.0450812205aed3b14c16e65ed5fa8027.jpeg

 

2C8628EA-9220-4A52-9534-4C030AEB6993.thumb.jpeg.10508fa3f7f4d049f9dcb63c7a0b8ac2.jpeg

 

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Great start so far! What are some of your goals? How much time and effort do you want to put in? Is this going to be a playing piece, or a display piece, or simply practice piece for techniques? Are you wanting to aggressively practice in preparation for competition, or just relax and enjoy the ride? Advice can very often be goal specific, so let us know what you are shooting for!

 

All of that being said, I would counter that over-highlighting is better than under-highlighting. Here is your example in grayscale to give you an idea:

 

feedback-bw.jpg.7736929099014f078677699b3baa2714.jpg

 

amiri1-bw.jpg.be9e061c310436dd3a61af85393e34e8.jpg

 

Now Derek is insanely talented, and I wish I could paint a fraction as well as he does, so I only use this picture as a reference example in terms of contrast. There are actually some very bright values in his example, (sword, spear tips, face, armor, etc) so never be afraid to push your contrast (highlights and shadows) towards the extremes. In fact, I would say your values with the green is just fine! So you can somewhat use that picture as a guide of how dark or bright things can be!

 

So an excellent start overall, and look forward to seeing your progress! Welcome the the hobby!

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7 hours ago, Al Capwn said:

Great start so far! What are some of your goals? How much time and effort do you want to put in? Is this going to be a playing piece, or a display piece, or simply practice piece for techniques? Are you wanting to aggressively practice in preparation for competition, or just relax and enjoy the ride? Advice can very often be goal specific, so let us know what you are shooting for!

 

Thanks for the feedback!

 

I don’t have any goals for this piece other than to use it to practice to improve my “design” and technical skills.  By that I mean ability to have a good plan for a piece and then be able to execute it well, if that makes sense.

 

Bigger picture, I do want to work towards making display quality pieces and eventually something good enough for competition.  I also hope that as I improve, I’ll be able to quickly paint good tabletop quality minis.

 

I don’t have as much time to paint as I’d like, and I want that time to count.  It’s not so much about relaxing - I’m motivated by improving and seeing better results, so I do want to aggressively focus on building my skills.

 

The B&W images are really helpful - thanks for that.  I knew I needed to go back and highlight the armor more, but that makes it very clear.  I’ll work on that next and see how it goes.  As for the green, I felt good about how bright I went with the highlights - I just though I wasn’t focused enough with them on the back.  The knots look messy.  I want the lightest spots to be smaller, but just as bright.

 

I need to think carefully about how to highlight the armor now.  I think I’ll add apply some brighter red over largish areas, and then highlight by adding some pale yellow?

 

EDIT:  typo

Edited by rubegon
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Looks good! @Al Capwn has already given you some great advice, I'll try to build on it:

 

I think the green ropes look great! It's a good goal to try to match your contrast to what you've achieved there. That said:

Contrast is not only in your highlights; darker shadows also help accomplish higher contrast. This is really important in red (like the armor on your mini here!), because pushing highlights can easily skew pink (if you use white to brighten the red) or orange (if you use yellow).

 

Red is a notoriously difficult color for this reason, but darkening the shadows doesn't have the same problems as brightening the highlights. A few ideas:

 

For a more burgundy kind of red, try a very dark blue (RMS has a coal color that is basically a really dark teal, and one of my must-have paints, Corporeal Black, which is a dark dark dark blue. Mixing this into your darkest red will give you a dark purple to work up in layers. I find that blue paints are pretty strong on their own, so this works best by mixing on the palette rather than glazing over red (IME, YMMV). For glazing red shadows, I like...

 

Green! A dark green glazed over red will make some really dramatic shadows.

 

Once you've futzed around with the shadows, you'll already see the basecoat reds look brighter by proximity, so you might not need to work so hard to highlight. Note that I didn't say you could avoid highlights, but you can likely avoid becoming too pink or orange.

 

When you do work on the highlights, keep in mind that broad, diffuse highlights make a surface seem more matte or satiny, while pinpoint highlights make a surface look more shiny. If the armor is dyed leather, you can probably work up to a bright red covering a large surface, but for enameled metal, you'll want white pinpoints.

 

 

And an aside about brushes! I'm so glad you broke out a "nice" brush! While it's true you don't NEED a $30 brush to make beautiful miniatures (look at Jim Wappel's work for proof of that), better brushes make a lot of techniques much easier to learn.

 

Hope some of my rambling is useful. Take whatever you need, ignore what you don't like! You've got a really nice start on this piece, I'll keep an eye out for it in show off!

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5 hours ago, rubegon said:

I think I’ll add apply some brighter red over largish areas, and then highlight by adding some pale yellow?

 

Alright, so now that I have a point of reference of what you are shooting for, I can point in a fairly specific direction. As @Sanael mentioned, you can go two directions to highlight red. The first is towards white, which will push it towards pink. Using a bright flesh tone is one color that works well for that.

 

The other is towards yellow, meaning pushing into oranges. Pale yellows, can help here too.

 

Now a method for red that I like, that I also implemented with magenta, is what Vince Venturella and Liz Beckley demoed, which is almost like "reverse" layering:

 

Blackline your borders, basecoat with your shadow tone (say a deep red brown), work up to a midtone red, say Reaper Heraldic Red.

 

Now instead of mixing white or yellow into your red paint, take white/offwhite and paint over top of the mini as if you would be applying a hightlight. Resist the urge to panic. Take your brightest red such as reaper clear red, glaze over top 2-3 times. You can apply more coats to any rough transitions to smooth it out. Repeat the white/offwhite+glaze combo in smaller and smaller areas. This will give you a gradient and a very vibrant and saturated red.

 

Check out Vince Venturella Hobby Cheating #159 for an example application.

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Thanks for the great feedback @Al Capwn and @Sanael - it’s really helpful!

 

I spend some time tonight laying on a lot more red and I think I managed to increase contrast somewhat, and shifted more area to a mid tone. Next step is to highlight with something lighter and add darker shadows.

 

02733556-28F8-4B1C-AF3D-837A6235B7DE.thumb.jpeg.bd501a71bdadc579872bcfa3e54b8d8f.jpeg

 

FE308ED8-891B-4BAF-81FE-EE162BFC0F78.thumb.jpeg.0b20dee139113faaf2a53db037a00161.jpeg

 

For reference, the colors I’ve used on the armor so far are:

 

09401 Dragon Red - basecoat

09426 Charred Brown -  layering in shadows and edges/creases

09492 Heraldic Red - layering up highlights

 

I think the brightest red I have is 29082 Brilliant Red and I have Clear Magenta - I don’t have Clear Red (just ordered it so should have it this weekend).

 

I do have 09236 Black Green and 09237 Violet Shadow - that one is a deep, inky blue!

13F06F46-31AE-4881-82A5-CA6E419A94FA.thumb.jpeg.81ad819239f441a320a3ff2d8c4ff4bd.jpeg

 

I’m thinking to glaze the shadows down darker and purpler by adding that, and then layer up with the Brilliant Red and a pale yellow.  I figure that will give me more brightness contrast, while also some color contrast with the hue shifting.  Will that work?

 

Colors I’ve used and considering (right front):

87766879-E795-41F5-A43B-1AC395D08570.thumb.jpeg.6da44d1d7fc1a2d981192a3e0310d754.jpeg

 

Thanks again!

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Yeah! You can already see how the red looks like it's more in the same world as the green, and the green isn't as stark anymore. This is why, at least for now until you really feel confident in what "good highlights" look like on your minis, I'd suggest getting most of the mini painted to a similar level before deciding "I need to knock these highlights back a bit, they're too much." Amiri is progressing well!

 

I think Violet Shadow is going to serve you well, here. It's a good choice.

 

Most of your brightest reds seem well-placed. The butt-flag seems a little flat to me, I think you could reclaim some midtone on it, near the middle of it. The top of the cheeks is a convex curve, and the bottom of the flap sticks out; those should have brought highlights. But the space right below the buttocks would curve in a little bit, and have a bit more midtone. I don't think you NEED to follow that advice, but the butt-flag is the largest, flattest piece of the mini, and a bit of shadow-shaping would make it a bit more interesting.

 

Ah! Also think about where her backpack is going to sit! Will the top of the butt-flag actually be exposed to light? The answer to that question might negate everything I just said, but I'm going to leave it because it's a useful thought process for future minis. If the backpack is going to block light from hitting her butt, shade accordingly.

 

She's looking great so far! Keep at it, enjoy the shadows!

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I haven’t had much time to work on her lately, but I did a bit today.  Some touch ups and practice working with red.

 

I watched this video that @Al Capwn recommended:

 

On 9/17/2019 at 3:55 PM, Al Capwn said:

 

Now a method for red that I like, that I also implemented with magenta, is what Vince Venturella and Liz Beckley demoed, which is almost like "reverse" layering:

 

Quote

 

Check out Vince Venturella Hobby Cheating #159 for an example application.

 

It looked less scary than it sounded, so I tried it on the backpack that @Sanael reminded me I had taken off (and I definitely need to consider it when sharing the buttflap!).

 

I actually basecoated it with Charred Brown, and highlighted that basecoat with Skeleton Bone.  Then I coated/glazed that with Dragon Red and Heraldic Red.  Wow!  Now that looks red!

 

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BEC3B197-477B-4CD5-9C50-0666973E8499.thumb.jpeg.e844fa2749027f737f4bdc390b198eb0.jpeg

 

I guess saturated reds are translucent, so you have to put down an opaque base layer that looks close to the end result you want minus the red.  Some other colors are much more opaque I think?

 

Next I guess I’m going to highlight her armor with Skeleton Bone and then re-glaze red.  That should give me more value contrast and saturation.

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Oh, and also I organized my desk because it was a disaster and it was taking me ages to find anything.

 

It was pretty serious. I actually went to The Container Store.  They have soooo many containers ...

 

BFAF6D83-4F71-48B5-836F-6DE177AAD8D6.thumb.jpeg.7b8fefeae05b8e3be047c23942251af7.jpeg

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Hoooooooooo boy! That is a good red! Nicely done.

 

Yeah, removing the backpack was almost certainly the right call to get the first layers of paint down, you just need to keep stuff like that in mind as you go. Looks like it's working out pretty well at this point, though.

 

Hehe, The Container Store can be an addiction. So much great organizational stuff... And this hobby accrues so many things to keep organized! Like a match made in heaven, that is.

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12 hours ago, rubegon said:

I guess saturated reds are translucent, so you have to put down an opaque base layer that looks close to the end result you want minus the red.  Some other colors are much more opaque I think?

 

Yep, 100 percent the case. "Cool" Yellows (like a lemon yellow) Reds and some Purples (which contain Red, of course) are naturally very transparent by the nature of the pigment used. That is why thinking in terms of value/contrast instead of color first is often helpful.

 

Some hobby paints contain multiple pigments to provide more opacity. As such, some colors are very opaque, such as paints that contain iron oxide (rusty red) or titanium (white).

 

Paint is "weird" in that you are working with pigments that are blocking wavelengths. Which is why mixing a white with red causes pink whereas layering red over the top of white/pink looks different.

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Man, this is slow going!  I think I’ve pretty much finished  a third of the backpack that I started on before - and that was tonight.  I feel like I’m learning a lot though.

 

I had to start painting a drow party more casually for tabletop use as a side project to feel like I’m getting something done!

 

Here’s the backpack:

 

DE57998E-C757-4673-87A8-0C6DC87F5516.thumb.jpeg.385b275a2e71cec40057b41a0fe4a6dd.jpeg

 

761E6B9D-7D66-44AE-9B37-2FE0C8869CCB.thumb.jpeg.0edac7f5209ba0e8c9fca020cb86b8f8.jpeg

 

I shaded the red with Violet Shadow and then glazed with Brilliant Red, pushing wet paint around to try to get something that looks like a decent approximation of a gradient.  Looking at it now I want to work on the left edge more to smooth out that sharp transition to the underside.

 

Then I did a quick-ish job on the straps:  base of Charred Brown, and highlighted up through Desert Stone and Skeleton Bone.  It looked too hot though, so I ended up glazing it down a bit with Charred Brown after.  I feel like I should probably tighten up the highlights and put a few tiny spots of Skeleton Bone.

 

A388E714-5BEE-4CE2-9A2C-E61632F62F64.thumb.jpeg.4b3377f00d53d2ebef84498bc861f9d0.jpeg

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Quiver of javelins looks good! You're probably right to glaze on a little more shadow on the left, right now the shadows are stark enough they make the quiver look very square, a bit more gradient will accentuate the round shape.

 

Straps on top of the quiver actually look pretty good; more pinpoint highlights will make them pop more, but also make them look shiny, right now they're giving off a more worn look.

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Well, I’m pretty much done with the quiver and javelins I think.

 

AE501EBF-2ADB-4F4F-B878-E6B9668603FC.thumb.jpeg.2a79e081a543222bcaa4a9b44b5d06ba.jpeg

 

There are a bunch of things I’m not happy with, but I just don’t have the skills to fix them - I’m as likely to make them worse if I try (ask me how I know!).

 

Also, I hate metallic paints.  It’s like painting with clumpy sludge, they separate, you can’t thin them, and they just look kind of cheesy.  I mean, I’ve used them before but I wasn’t trying to do anything tricky with them.  Is it just me?  Is there a trick to using them?  Do I just need to learn NMM if I want to get nicely shaded, smooth metallics?

 

0FB5CA96-998F-4007-AAD6-D57C7911252D.thumb.jpeg.6b31c0e8c34cd387cb7685edc842a66f.jpeg

 

I keep posting pics of the paints I’m using for record-keeping purposes, because otherwise I’ll forget and I’ll lose notes.  Is it ok for me to do that, or is it considered bad form, cluttering up the forum, etc.?

 

 

I’m feeling emboldened, btw.  Next, I’m going to paint white over all her red armor and then reshade it back to a brighter red.

 

Someday I might get to work on the skin...

 

That will be a whole ‘nother thing.

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1 hour ago, rubegon said:

Also, I hate metallic paints.  It’s like painting with clumpy sludge, they separate, you can’t thin them, and they just look kind of cheesy.  I mean, I’ve used them before but I wasn’t trying to do anything tricky with them.  Is it just me?  Is there a trick to using them?  Do I just need to learn NMM if I want to get nicely shaded, smooth metallics?

 

True Metallic Metals (TMM) can be done; Michael Proctor has a solid class on doing them to look right. You aren't alone, but I will say this: With the exception of Vallejo Metal Color, most metallics are pretty terrible. They tend to be thick, yet do not thin easily. You can apply the principles of NMM to TMM, but if you are looking for a good metallic paint, Reaper unfortunately is not one of them and in fact is prob one of their weakest line ups. The trick to TMM is to kill the sheen in the shadows; you can do so fairly easily with a wash or the Reaper Liner paints.

 

Normally I am not a brand fan boy per se, but pick up a bottle of Vallejo Metal Color and I can pretty much promise you an entirely different experience. Somewhat spendy, but worth every penny. That being said, they really only have a solid range in the "Silver" line-up (Gunmetal, Steel, Silver and Alluminum/Chrome). The Copper and Gold are smooth, but I don't particularly like the Gold since it leans towards the Green-Gold spectrum, and I prefer my Gold colors to learn towards Orange/Brown.

Edited by Al Capwn
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