Saturday, March 30, 2013

More ReaperCon Prep

Did the shading and highlights on the skin of the assassin.I'm going to take another look at it tomorrow and make sure I'm still happy with it. If so, then I'll finish the eyes and eyebrows and base coat some of his clothing. The eyes are currently filled in with dark brown. To finish the eyes, I'll fill in most, but not all, of the brown area with a color that's not quite white. Usually I end up using a very light beige or cream color, whatever I already have out. It doesn't matter what color, exactly. However, using pure white tends to make the eyes look too bright and encourage the 'bug eyed' look. Using off white mitigates that some.

I'm thinking I'll do his clothing in dark blues and purples, or dark blues and grays, or purples and grays. Not sure which. But, he's an assassin, so he needs dark colors, and black is tricky to get right. Dark blue or dark purple can read like black, but is usually more visually interesting and a little easier to deal with.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Because having six or 8 projects going at once is terribly productive.

Put camo stripes on the tank with the airbrush today. I was going to do them by hand, then I thought, well, the point here is to practice with the airbrush, and if the tank comes out good, it's a bonus. Putting thin stripes on is a practice in control of the airbrush, so here we go.

I kind of like the soft edges of the stripes. I'm less thrilled with the spray that shows up well away from the stripes:

I tried touching up with a brush, and that helps some. I also tried using a brush to paint over the fuzzy edges and make them sharp. It worked, but I decided I liked the fuzzy edges better. So, I'm going to move on to details now.

Put a base cost on what would be the flush of this one if she wasn't a ghost. It's another piece I'll take to ReaperCon, so I'm not going to do more with it until then.

Last, I put some highlighting on the monk's robes and started on the robe details. Based on the expected lighting for the scene he'll be in, there wasn't a whole lot of highlighting to do.Again, the red highlights are showing up great in the pictures. I wonder if it's the light I'm using.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Starting Con Prep

I worked a little on the monk today. I mixed some of the blue I'm using for shadows into his skin shadow color and glazed his shadows some, and also moved some of the shading around to account for the placement of the light source. His skin tone has a lot of yellow in it, so adding blue turned it kind of greenish. I think it's still okay...he doesn't seem to look sickly, and it seems to have had more or less the effect I intended. It's still an experiment, and I probably won't know how successful it is until I get the whole piece put together.

In three weeks, I'm going to ReaperCon at Reaper Mini HQ. I want to have some stuff to work on while I'm down there, because I'll be taking some classes and, more importantly, sitting with the artists who are there. I will have the opportunity to get feedback and advice from people who do this for a living. So, I want to have some pieces in progress so I can get some real-time advice while I'm working on stuff. To that end, I'm starting to prep a handful of pieces to take with me. These two, I will probably finish the skin and base coat some of the other parts.

This guy, I will probably finish the skin on because there's not a lot of it. May as well be working on something substantial while I'm there.

The djinn, I will probably finish the skin on just to have him farther along when I take him to the con. I think I'll take 4 pieces, and I want them in different states of doneness.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Put some stippling on the base of the scorpions. It's not the best ever, but I think it helped. Now they're done.

Worked on the monk, shading his robes. Then I remembered that his light source will be coming from behind his left shoulder, not overhead like I usually use to decide where the shadows and highlights go. So, I made some adjustments to where the shadows fall. I may have to revisit the shading on the skin a bit, too, for the same reason. Then again, I was thinking about doing that anyway to put a little blue in the shadows of his skin.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Mostly finished the scorpions. Was going to call them done, but now that I think about it, I'm going to put some stippling on the base with a darker and a lighter paint to give it some kind of texture instead of just being so flat. I hit them with some gloss varnish to make the carapaces shiny. They're a bit glossier than I'd like now, but once it get warm enough and I can put some matte spray varnish on them that should knock it back down.You can see the picture I was working from back in this post here.

And, I finished re-base coating the tank today. I practiced a bit with making narrow lines, as well. The results are there on the flap of the cardboard box, with the tank there for scale. I was able to get lines narrow as I'd like, but because it's an airbrush, the edges are fuzzy. I could get sharp boundaries by masking areas off with tape. I think I'm probably going to paint on the camo instead.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Well, that didn't work.

Got my work station downstairs all set up the way I wanted it. This has my airbrush and my Dremel, set up with a foot pedal and an extender. This is the work area set up for the airbrush.

And this is a side view, showing the lighting, the Dremel hanging on the wall, and then the compressor for the airbrush and the foot pedal for the Dremel on the floor. My husband put in the hooks and things so that stuff can be hung up, and also hung the power strip along the wall.

So, after getting everything set up, I tried putting some camo on the tank with my airbrush. This did not work out so well.I couldn't get the paint to go in in as narrow or sharp a line as I wanted, and it just kind of made a mess. I'd dropped the airbrush before I started, and I don't think the needle that controls the flow of paint was set correctly. So, I was just getting a full paint flow all the time.

I'm going to re-base coat it and try again - preferably without dropping the airbrush this time. At least something good came of it; the brown I'd picked out is more red that I want. Sine I'm re-doing it anyway, I have the opportunity to pick a different brown.

And, I did some work on one of the scorpions tonight. It's just a start. I need to do the same with the other one, then smooth the transitions between the colors.

And, a quick shot of my photo set up, just because somebody on another board asked for one. It's pretty simple. A pair of Kodak gray cards and a couple of goose neck lamps with 60 watt bulbs. Having two lamps helps reduce shadows in the photographs.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


And, Grace is done. I increased the contrast on her clothing and finished the base. Once the weather gets warm enough to spray topcoat, I will do that, then most likely give the guitar a coat of gloss top coat to make it shiny.

I finished the base with a coat of a brown that I like better for dirt, and a dry brush of lighter brown to bring out the texture. None of that really matters, because I promptly covered with with static grass and product meant to represent meadow flowers (according to the label). It's basically static grass gathered into tufts with fine flock stuck to the top.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

She might be done.

Here's the progress on Grace:

So, she might be done (except the base, more on that later), or I might do some touch-up. The guitar face looks a little fuzzy in the close up, so I may try to neaten that up a bit. Or not, since it doesn't show that way when you're not looking at a close up photo. At least, not to me with my getting-older eyes. I'm not sure about the color of the guitar strings, but I'm not sure what else I'd use. I might just try to highlight them with white to make them show up a little more on the neck of the guitar. I may also want to darken the highlights and lighten the shadows on her clothes, but again, I think they look a little more contrast-y live. 

So, pretty much, it'll be take a look at her tomorrow after everything's had time to set, and see what I think then.

Either way, I do still need to work on her base. I started it tonight.

I took a ridged slotted base and put in some sandy paste mixed with RMS Walnut Brown. That brown is blacker than I'd like. I should have pulled out a different brown, but didn't bother. Since I'm going to cover the thing with flock it won't matter much.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Only about an hour in.

Only painted for about an hour tonight, and spent most of it on Grace. She's close enough to finished that I'll probably be focusing on her until she's done. I put a brown wash on her fur and then re-highlighted. I may need to bring them up a bit more. Also put a base coat on her clothing, which as you see, will be blue. Probably with purple-y shadows. And lastly, base coated her horns and hooves.

Normally, in a mini with a piece that covers a big chunk of the rest of the mini, like her guitar does here, I would leave the front bit off so it's easier to paint under it. However, in this case the point was to do the conversion (thank you, Gene), I kinda had to put the guitar in place at the time. It is a little tricky to reach under there. Probably trying to get the back of the guitar will be the most difficult.

I need to do some research to get ideas on how to paint up the guitar. I'm probably also going to start prepping her base tomorrow.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Fur and robes

Did a base coat on the monk's robes. I'm probably going to use blue-gray as the accent color, and put some blue into the shadows of that rust color. it'll help tie everything together, provide some additional visual interest, and since he's going to be going into a night scene, it seems appropriate. I may go back with a very light glaze and put some blue into the shadows on his flesh, too.

And, I did some work on the satyr's fur.I like the base color, but I'm not so pleased with the highlighting. I used one of the darker yellows from her hair as the highlight color, but it made it too light. So, I came back with a glaze of the base color, which did the job of getting everything in the right tone again, but it doesn't look contrast-y enough. I think I may hit it with a dark brown wash to bring down the shadows. I'll have to re-highlight, but that's OK.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Skin, hair, and airbrush

Yesterday, I fired up the airbrush for the first time and started a base coat on a tank. I couldn't get pictures yesterday because it needed to dry. I've base coated the other side of the tank today. Next time will be a bit of touch-up, and then on to the camo. My plan is to airbrush on some camo pattern, then brush paint some of the details of the tank, then put on some weathering on.

I worked on the monk some today. His left eye took three tries, and it's still not exactly 'good'. I might try it again. I also tried a dark brown glaze on his head for stubble from shaving it. It doesn't show up real well in the pictures, sadly. I'm not sure if I like the way it came out or if it's too blotchy. I may also need to smooth out his skin a bit more.

And, the satyr. I worked on her mouth and hair.The hair's pretty subtle in the pictures; I put some darker shading between the strands and lighter bits on the raised parts of the strands. It should be more apparent when  I get brighter highlights on there.