Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stone Scribe Chronicler

This is one of those models that I'm sure got got because at the time I thought it was a great model. Then it went into my queue... deep into the queue. I lost interest in it and after reviewing it, decided it wasn't such a great model. However, now that I've painted it, I have to say it was relatively nice to paint. The pose is pretty open, and everything was easy to get to. I'll admit it's not my favorite of the troll models, but it does help reinforce what makes a model pleasant to paint.

Things that went well:
* The wood worked out quite well for being speed painted. I used a base of Rucksack Tan, then washed it a couple times using a slightly thinned coat of Sepia ink, and then a thinned wash of Armor wash.
* The scroll went well too. I did some layers of heavy pseudo-drybrushing on it to give it that aged paper look. Then I used a mix of Umbral Umber and Armor wash to do the runes.
* The tartan went smoothly. I used the same pattern as on Borka. In hindsight, it would be nice to go back and do all my trolls that way.
* Overall color balance worked out pretty well I feel. It's a relatively dark model, but I sort of like that about it.
* The brass metals went nicely. I used VMC Brass as my base, then used washes of chesnut ink, turquoise ink, and armor wash, then highlighed back up with some GW shinning gold, and then some P3 Quicksilver. I like the depth it gives the brass metals, with sort of an aged and weathered look, but also creates some natural brushed metal texturing.

Things that could have gone better:
* The leather armor could have gotten more work, but honestly I spent enough time on it that I was disinclined to do any further shading work.
* The skin is not completely satisfactory. I used Sanguine Base to shade the skin, and although I like the color interplay, my execution of it was sub-par unfortunately. Borka had this same problem.
* His eyes could have used a little more effort.
Overall the whole model could have used a little more effort, but that's sort of a running theme for me these days. Once again, I'm focusing on getting paint to the model and not trying to perfect every blend. Color variation and balance is more of my focus right now when it comes to developing my skills, and that requires painting more models rather than painting for quality.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Borka Kegslayer

Shortcuts: yes. Top quality: no. Happy: yes. This was actually quite a fun model to paint. It was a little intimidating to start with, but I really did enjoy it a lot. There's plenty of detail, but not overdone with little tiny bits of detail, and his scale and pose makes everything accessible. I could have easily spent more time on him, but I'm trying to stick to an already tight schedule. Plus I spent some time working on basing ideas for my forthcoming Legion projects.

Something in particular that could have gone better is the fur. I used a combination of drybrushing and washes, but unfortunately it created kind of a dirty effect due to the wash's liquid cohesion. I need to remember to add something to break down that cohesion on washes that go into "high texture" areas.

Something in particular that worked out well was the tartan. I managed to get nice crisp lines, relatively smooth shading, and added a little highlighting to even the lines.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pyg Keg Carrier

I was going to wait to post this guy until after I finished Borka as well, but Borka is still a ways from complete. Plus I wanted to feel like I'm still on track to finish up my trolls by the end of February. The three day weekend is exactly what I needed to unwind from a long hard stretch of work and get re-energized to paint. It seems like every once in a while I hit a wall for painting and have a hard time picking up the brush again. This time at least I didn't have that initial trepidation.

In all fairness, this was just a tabletop quality job. I didn't try for anything great here. All three of these remaining trolls are in this boat. I did spend a fair amount of time on the keg though. I wanted to really work on he wood grain.

This was the first model in a while that I primed black. I'd gotten so used to painting over white primer that I sort of felt like I'd lost my chops at first. White primer is certainly nice for some things, and speeds up some processes. However painting over black has one distinct advantage for me: It forces me to be more disciplined about how I lay down paint. My base coats get a better treatment for sure, and I find that I think more carefully about my colors.

Ok, anyway, back to work on Borka.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

From The Desk: Things I Saw While Walking To Work

I'm officially in a slump. I'm still getting some painting done, but very little. The usual suspects are to blame: work, personal events, house projects. There's definitely some lack of motivation in there as well. I've got Borka, the Keg Carrier, and the Stone Scribe all started on my desk (the Key Carrier is practically finished actually). However at this rate, I won't finish them until the end of February.

As part of a house-wide experiment, my wife has designated February as "no unnecessary purchases" month. It's a good exercise for many reasons, but particularly because it will keep me focused on the unpainted miniatures I have rather than picking up anything new. I figure if I can finish my remaining trolls and be down to two factions with unpainted models, I'll be feeling better about getting new models.

So, now to the main reason for this post. Despite my lack of time and motivation to paint, I've still been thinking about painting. The other day I was able to walk to work and opted to take my camera. Now, I'm not photographer. Not by any stretch of the imagination do I fancy myself as good with a camera. However, I've been trying to train my artist's eye to be more conscious of color in the real world. So I snapped these pictures while I was walking because they got me thinking.

Bark fascinates me. The many types, the varied textures, the variety of color... It's amazing. I took this picture because I particularly liked the "scaly hard skin" look of this bark.
I have always held a motto of "Life Erupts", and this is an example of it. In the midst of bleached gravel are these clumps of grass and weeds. They sprout up in irregular spots. This picture was more about the pattern of the grass than the color, although the greens make an interesting counter to the mainly gray-scale rocks. The lighter yellow-ish greens tend to hide themselves as a result.
Colored from exposure, this rock was an interesting study in hue. The rock itself sports light blues and faded reds and oranges in addition to its natural gray tones. This particularly interested me because the colors shift dramatically in a small space, but due to the irregularity and dispersion of color, I didn't notice it immediately. I somewhat liken the effect to stippling.
Lance introduced me to a term from the computer effects industry: read. The use of this term is in regards to the eyes being able to see and understand what it is looking at. Images that are complex, lack contrast, or the visual information is irregular, can make it difficult for the eyes to identify what they are looking at quickly. This picture is an example. When I walked by, this pipe-valve assembly confused my eyes and I actually stopped to look more closely. Upon doing so, I recognized it quickly since I've seen these many times before. However this particular one was even more chaotic than usual with insulation partially pulled away and so much exposure to the elements over the years. Sometimes I encounter this same problem when painting a miniature. Grim Angus was an example where I was trying to balance creating contrast for the many items on his person, and not create an overly complex mosaic of color. In the end I failed in a couple ways, but learned much, and this picture reminded me of those lessons.
This was a mark on a concrete barrier. You might not realize it to look at it, but it was apparently due to something inside the concrete. These spots occurred at regular intervals along the barrier. I took this picture because it was curious to me how the cracks formed.
Now this was an interesting subject to look at. The dirty water lines are an intriguing study. On the top portion, dirt has been washed off by rain, runs over he edge, and the down the concave surface. The edges of the water marks are very hard and abrupt. However, further down there is a rougher stucco-like surface where the water does not form those hard lines. In this case, the surface texture naturally prevents those lines from forming apparently. Instead, any abrupt lines are formed to the higher textured parts of the surface. Well, at least that's my guess as to why it looks that way.
I just loved the color of these. Nothing more.
Wood grain is something I've been struggling with lately as a painter. These crates gave me yet another opportunity to study it.

Well, that's it for now. Time to tackle a couple more projects to get myself unburied and hopefully free up more time for painting.