Tuesday, May 31, 2011

War Hog

Apologies in advance, this post is going to be like 3 posts in 1, and longer than a normal gallery entry. I'll start with the normal gallery entry stuff and then move on to the Road-to-Competition stuff.

So here's my competition War Hog, in all his final glory! I have no idea how many hours I spent on this guy. Overall this model was pretty cool. Organic parts, mechanical parts, and just generally pretty interesting. He was pretty big and complex though, which made painting him pretty challenging. I should note that I didn't seal him since he is unlikely to be used on the table, and also sealing him would have affected the effects on the metals that I spent a lot of time on. So he's likely to just sit on the top shelf of my models cabinet where all the other best stuff sits. Perhaps sad, but honestly I'm not really very interested in playing Farrow at present, and regardless of whether I did play them or not, I had intended to paint this model.

What went well:
* Metals - I seriously feel like the metals worked out really well on this model. I spent a lot of time on them, both in terms of weathering and shading. I'm one of those people that like the look of metallic metal paints rather than NMM.
* Flesh - I spent a lot of time here too. It's not perfect, but I feel like the extra effort really paid off.
* Overall composition - Much of my time near the end was making little tweaks here and there to bring the overall composition together. I gathered a lot of feedback from people/places I trust on this. That leads me to...
* Getting feedback - Definitely very helpful. Not just friends getting in person viewings, but I also posted on the BrushThralls forum for feedback and got some really helpful critique. I'll definitely be doing that again for future competitions.

What could have been better:
* Not getting exhausted - Ugh! By the end, after having been working on it off and on for almost 2 months (just painting), I was ready to be done. I was pretty sick of looking at it in fact. I need a better way to tackle such large projects if I'm going to do them this seriously.
* Pigments - In all fairness, this was the first time I used dry pigments, so I'm still getting the hang of them. They were too thick in some places. I definitely like them though, and I'm looking forward to using them more in the future.
* Some details get lost - The model is huge and complex with a lot of details. I feel like some of the detailing work I did wound up lost in the overall complexity of the model.

Ok, so all that aside, time to talk about the competition itself. This year I entered the "masters" level which is still an "open judging" system, but did not place at all. According to the competition organizer, I was super close to getting a bronze. I was in good company actually, as there were other masters entries that didn't place, much to my surprise actually. There was a 40K Tyrant that was pretty impressive I though, but didn't get anything either. I can honestly say I'm not terribly disappointed. Why? Well...

After the awards ceremony I got a chance to sit down with Derek Schubert and he spent probably 20 minutes giving me an in-depth critique of my model. It was very education, and I am very grateful to him for his time. I've included notes about his feedback below, but before that I'll close with some things that I'm taking away to keep in mind for next year:
* Smaller model - Yeah, this one was too big. It's impressive, but smaller is better for the competition I think.
* Avoid metals - I think my love of metallics and trying to refine that style doesn't mesh well with the judges' perspectives. I'm probably better off avoiding them next year.
* Forced lighting perspective - This is something I'm still not comfortable with, but I think it's something I need to keep in mind.
* Telling a story - The model needs to tell a story much better. Overall composition is one thing, but if the model is able to convey a story then I'll have succeeded much better. It's not enough for the War Hog to be angry. There needs to be more of a sense of what's going on. I think my model selection for last year needs to take that into account.

The blending/shading on the muzzle needed to be tightened up considerably. Totally agree with this. I just sort of lost my steam in this area.
There should be reflections of light on the red of the gauntlet. Totally disagree with this one. I get where Derek's coming from, but this is a style thing that I just don't buy into. Forced light perspectives are a mixed bag. When you force the lighting perspective in a particular way, you must look at that model from that perspective to make sense of it. Just not my style, but it was interesting feedback.
The shading/transition of the hoof didn't work. Totally agree here. I blew this. It probably looks ok in the photo, but honestly the angling on it was wrong.
The plating "bumps" needed stronger contrast to stand out. Yeah, I mostly agree with this. They just didn't work out as good as I wanted. They needed more raise to their surface and just didn't have it to work with.
The blue hose stood out too much, and the busted pipe was somewhat unnecessary. This was something I hadn't even considered. The blue hose definitely stood out too much, and there wasn't any other blue on the model from that angle to balance with it. In comparison, the red hose worked well because there was plenty of red to balance with. The pipe, well, I'm torn on that. I like having it there, but it does make the whole thing a bit more busy. Point taken.
Mohawk needed more shading/highlighting to make it pop. Well, I'm torn on this. To some degree I wish I had done more on this. But on the flipside, I didn't want to be highlighting all the strands and making it look too gaudy. I've seen that too much already, and I got some very good advice from EricJ on the Wyrd forums about hair that I still very much subscribe to. I'll have to mull this over a lot more before I can decide whether I should have taken this advice.
Brighter highlights for the metals. Yeah, I mostly agree here. Overall there were plenty of opportunities to push the metal highlights farther. Derek picked out this section as an example where I could have put highlights on the lower half of the holes to emphasize reflections. Definitely a good point here. Overall there were other comments about metals not being smooth enough, and I sort of get that as well. Still more to learn with metallics.

Ok, I can't really handle posting anything more about this model. I'm done, and well past ready to be done. Time to move on to something faster and crank out some army stuff. I'll start thinking about the next competition in a couple months. In hindsight, I may not have even gotten a bronze, but I definitely feel like I painted like I had a pair!

1 comment:

Mike Howell said...

Some of my favorite competition memories are the critique I've received. The competition pushes you as a painter but the critique gives you direction.

It's really a good piece, and I look forward to seeing you use the advice imparted to step up and get ever better at this crazy art!