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Practice makes perfect


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I love seeing people's first figures in comparison to what they're doing now.


Very nice work!


As far as what to work no next, it's kind of hard to say. How are you at painting skin tones? Metallics? What about fancy stuff like free hand, NMM, or OSL?

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My recommendation would be to experiment with highlighting to a more stark contrast level. It can take some getting used to, as models often look worse (at least to my eyes) while they're being painted this way - maybe your basecoat is intended only for the deepest areas and the model looks way too dark, maybe building into mid tones doesn't have the model popping yet because a pretty wide area all has that some color so the raised / prominent features aren't being picked out by your eyes. A big one for me is that paint is lighter when first applied to the model (especially if you're using something already fairly translucent, like a regular MSP Reaper paint, that's also been further thinned with water). I've absolutely thought 'oh, I've done it now' adding a final highlight layer during its application, and then thought I needed to go even one step brighter for another layer after that one dried.


I love Reaper's triads because it shows you a comfortable spread to have for a color. It can be restrictive in that if you consider each triad 'one' color, there actually aren't that many of them. But seeing how the colors build from one to the next plus some color theory on how paints mix will let you build off of that. There's no reason you can't start with paint #2 in a triad, make the highlight one your mid, and then mix up an actual highlight color if you can't find one. If you really like that particular color, you can always get empty droppers and pre-mix your master recipe for constant use. There is some hit-and-miss mixing if it isn't something like "I need a color between these two in a triad, I'll mix them together" because very few mini paints are pure pigments. Kimera are one of the very few outside traditional artist paints to do this, but then you basically *have* to be mixing, which is a significant tradeoff to Reaper having literally hundreds of ready tones. I have my Reaper collection for a reason. 😃 You just sometimes don't get exactly what you're expecting combining paint A with paint B. Also, spend some time reading if you aren't already familiar with color theory so you don't try things like "let me add some white to this dark red to make a highlight" and get something unexpected. I had a horrible time attempting mixing when I was a kid pre-YouTube / art classes.


If I were to pick a spot on this model, it would be the ridges along his tail. It's the largest flat surface he has besides his chest, which you did a good job breaking up with highlight lines already. Even with a more narrow color range, your horizontal highlights (that sort of continue from where they're physically part of the model's neck) on the flat chest really help texture it. With just two tones on the tail, it feels a bit unfinished to my eyes. I'm attaching a photo of a WIP model that has tones built up through a triad + an additional color on top. This is Magma Red, pure, as the base color, built up through Lava Orange, Explosion Orange, and, I believe, 50/50 or 2:1 Explosion Orange / Marigold Yellow at the time of the photo. Pay no attention to the rest, it's WIP for a reason. 😅 The wyvern's tail is also quite a bit larger than your humanoid-sized critter, so even just doing 3 strips of color would really break it up. If you're going for more, a nice starting point is paint #1, 50/50 mix with paint #2, paint #2, 50/50 mix with paint #3, paint #3. If you're using droppers, super easy to do and replicate.


Another thing you could do is add texture/interest to the transitions by sketching in the color layers with vertical lines, or creating almost a camo pattern of dots as the colors shift. The first time I ever experienced this was looking for help with alien models like 20 years ago, which happened to have large swaths of bare, relatively uninteresting carapace for painters to attempt to break up or make more appealing. For an example within Reaper, first thing that comes to mind is the Goremaw model, which already has some texture to the carapace modeled into the sculpt. You pretend there are grooves in spots where there aren't and just add darker lines all over, then build up to the next color and draw more lines, just leaving space for the darker ones above them, until you're ending with some tiny marks of the brightest colors near the tips/ridges of the scales or shell or whatever you're working on. You don't have to do it this way, I played with going smooth for my wyvern's tail, but it works a lot better if you aren't doing a lot of color gradients. The texture sort of substitutes for smoother color transitions. I don't know all the art behind it, but I believe it's the same logic as why the chest and neck area look nice on your lizard.


You already paint very cleanly, and already developed an eye for adding a splash of complementary colors, like in your addition of the red along the shoulder strap. So the highlight / contrast thing feels like the next step. Another thought would be making those large tail scales (and maybe the crest on his head) a different color. Maybe not going full complementary - I always feel complementary is very dangerous with medium reds and greens, the Christmas link is so strong. Easier as your green shifts towards blue or yellow. But it doesn't have to be complementary anyway, especially when you have that accent already with the belt. It could be a different green, maybe darker, maybe lighter. I have brown and orange tones in my wyvern's skin and brighter red / orange / yellow for the tail scales. I could just as well have used darker/muted tones for his scales and given him lighter flesh. I wouldn't just swap those tones around, I just mean you could go any direction you wanted with it.




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