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BEHOLD(er) One Year's Improvement (WizKids)

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Hi all!  With the year nearly at its end, this seemed like a great time to share a comparison project to reflect on this past year's growth.

A little over a year ago a painted up my first Beholder, and last month I painted another.  I was particularly proud of the first so it's interesting to see a side-by-side a year apart.




More Below the Spoiler:


The First Beholder


About a year ago I was looking to paint up a beholder for use in one of my games.  The Nolzur's unpainted beholder was perpetually out of stock so I settled for a zombie beholder I already owned from the Dungeon of the Mad Mage board game.  I figured I could paint it up more lively than it was intended.  This mini took longer than I expected and was one of the first big minis I tackled.  I remember it being a turning point for me with layering.  his details weren't sharp enough to get away with drybrushing and washes, so I spent a lot of time building up highlights.  I also played around with adding some texture to the skin through layering.


This may have also been my first use of cork for basing.  I think it worked pretty well and helped hide some of the flightstand.  Unlike the Nolzur's version, the board game version of the zombie beholder came with a solid plastic stand instead of a transparent one.  Definite


The real accomplishment, of course, were the eyes.  Up to this point I had pretty much only done simple white line and black pupil eyes.  But a beholder calls from some extra attention.  I was really proud of how the eyes came out.



The New Beholder

This past November, a friend from out of state decided he wanted to commission me to support a fellow artist.  He chose the Beholder.  I'd been excited to paint this model since before I painted the first beholder, and doubly excited to see how my skills had grown over the past year.


I kept the model fairly simple as I was painting on the clock.  No spell effect eyes or elaborate basing.  I had a bit of luck with masking the flight stand which was a first for me.  Managed to finish this guy in just over 7 hours.  Took a bit longer than I had anticipated, but I spent some extra time making sure things looked good.  I particularly like how pink the gums and mouth turned out.  It's too dark to see in the photo but I stippled some texture on to the tongue as well.


I chose to go with a ruddy orange color on this one just to give myself something different to do.  I don't really enjoy painting the same thing twice, so this was a fun difference to work with.  I also gave it a lighter underbelly for a bit of variety.  Looking at it here, I maybe could have gone even higher with the highlights, but I was trying to keep the time and price down and every extra layer added up with all those scales.


But, once again, the real star of the model are those eyes.  I used a similar technique to the first beholder.  Started with the lightest shade in the middle and worked out before adding the pupil last.  These guys are great for practicing eyes, and I may need to get another at some point to try out different techniques.  I enjoyed the venomous green color I used here and will have to keep this in mind for some future beasties.


It's always fun to compare two similar models that have been painted with time in between.  I'm always impressed by how much I can grow in this hobby in such a short amount of time.  I only painted my first skeleton a little over two years ago.  My confidence in layering has improved and it is now my go-to method of painting.  Drybrushing and Washes are now reserved for specific effects and textures.  My speed has increased, and I feel more comfortable adding freehanded details.

I'm proud of the growth I've had this past year and look forward to the improvements next year brings.  And these guys will be looking forward as well.  And backwards.  And sideways.  Always watching.


How have you improved this year?

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