Monday, December 28, 2020

Drusil: Skin Highlights

 I got back to Drusil today and worked on highlighting her skin. I think I'm done with it...I'll see how I feel about it next time. Next will be highlighting her hair. I'm also debating putting colored polish on her finger and toe nails. It would suit her, but I'm not sure I want to draw attention to her feet. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Completed Experiment

 So last weekend I posted a figure with a weird base coat. It was going to be the starting point to an experiment. I finished up the experiment today. Was it successful? Well, depends on your definition of success. It didn't produce a wonderfully painted figure or anything like that. But I answered the question I wanted to answer and I learned some things in the process. So from that standpoint, I consider it a success.

I had the base coat on previously. Today I started with shading...some green, then dark brown. I highlighted with a lighter version of the base color. I painted the hair dark, and then glazed red in on her dress. 

Things that didn't work: I don't think using the base color for the skin tone works without having the context of the rest of the page. I definitely need to shade and highlight darker/lighter if I plan to glaze over it, which I should have known if I'd thought about it. I would need to think of a way to deal with the fine details. I also think you'd have to have just the right figure for it to look good.

Things that worked: I like the glazed on color, and I think with some work you could paint a figure that way and it would work out, if you solve the aforementioned problems. It would give you a nice, if very non-traditional, look. 

So would I try it for real? Maybe. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Phone booths: Done. More on Drusil's face.

 I finished constructing phone booths last week, so this week I worked on cleaning up edges, and then yesterday and today was painting them. They're all done now.

They are really...not very good. But I learned a lot, which was the point. I got faster and more consistent with construction. I learned some about the best ways (and not the best ways) to work with different materials. And I learned what I have to work on going forward.

The biggest problem? Texture. The ones I made out of chip board have a very distinct texture on the surface, and very rough and messy cut edges. The clear coat to help seal them did not help that at all; it might have made it worse. I think if you were making a stucco building or something like that it would be fine, but since these are meant to have a smooth surface, it's not so good here. The plasticard has a very smooth surface, but the edges and joins were still a problem. Even in places where I added putty to try to smooth things over, it's very obvious that's what I did. I know it's possible to use putty to smooth a join, I'm just not great at it in smooth planes. Usually when I do that it's at the join in a mini, which is often recessed and will hide some flaws from you. I think what I should have done was made the edges just slightly proud, sanded them flush, then puttied, then sanded again.

Also, all the rough cuts and spots where the knife got away from me and cut into the surface show. For that, I need to get better at doing those kinds of cuts, and I might have been able to clean them up with putty.

Scoring actual grooves for the edges of the door and/or taking more care with painting them on would have been good. 

There are various other minor things - the signs needed to be a bit higher on the booth. The one with the open door is a little wonky. I'm not sure if using the shiny plastic for the windows was worth the extra care needed when painting that one - but it wasn't actually that much extra work, either.

Most of the problems are clearly a lack of skill on my part. That's no surprise, I haven't done much of this kind of thing, and it takes time and practice to get good at it, like anything else. But I also think doing a piece that it a modern item, meant to be made with modern materials and construction, might be inherently more difficult than doing something like a fantasy building, run down sci-fi terrain, or things like rocks and trees. Or at least, it might be more particular as far as the specific issues I ran into go. For other kinds of end product, it doesn't necessarily need to be as exacting. A house made of thatch and plaster doesn't need to be smooth. A weathered and beat up mining operation will have a lot of rough edges and broken areas. And a pile of rocks doesn't need to be smooth, or square, or symmetric, or any of that. Those things have their own different challenges, but I do have to wonder if I made things harder for myself with what I chose to build.

Anyway. After all that, I got back to work on Drusil. I've added a bit more detail to her face, got a base coat on the hair, and started highlights on her chest. I think the face is better now, though I'd still prefer if she had more of an expression. I might come back to that once the rest is farther along and I have a better idea for what kind of mood she wants to have.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Drusil: Face

I continued on Drusil's skin today, but after getting highlights on her face I decided I wanted to continue detailing her face. It still needs work; she's still pretty vacant. But it's a start.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Drusil: Shading. Experiment.

Finished off my last commission piece for the year this weekend, so I'm back to personal projects for the time being. I got back to Drusil, and got more shading on her skin.

I'm also doing an experiment where I'm trying to replicate particular 2D art style. For what I'm trying to reproduce, go look for any of Tony DiTerlizzi's Changeling or Planescape drawings. They have a particular style, where there's sort of a yellowish background, a lot of heavy, dark lines, and then colors are kind of suggested with very transparent layers in various places. I want to see how that'd work on a mini. So, I got out a Bones figure to experiment with. I've laid down a base coat across the whole figure.

Next step will be to shade and line the whole thing with dark brows (and some greens in the skin areas). I will probably add some highlights in a lighter shade of this base color after that, and then glaze colors into a few areas, and see what happens.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Another Phone Booth

I made another phone booth today, because I wanted to try some different materials and because I wanted to try making one with an open door. This time, I remembered to get many more WIP pictures.

I started by cutting some lengths of wood for some internal support structure. I happen to have a lot of small lengths of hardwood that I get from my husband as off-cuts from his woodworking projects. These happen to be walnut. Hardwood is not needed for this, though - it's just what I have on hand. 

I cut one to the length I wanted, then used it to set a length for the rest of my cuts on this chopping tool. I love this thing. There's a razor blade in the middle bit that actually does the cutting. It works on small pieces of wood, plasticard, and chipboard. It has gages that you can use to set a fixed length for cutting stuff, and others with defined angles for making those kinds of cuts.

Next I cut some chipboard to use as the exterior surface. I used a scribe too to cut a strip of the width that I wanted, and then used the same chopping tool I used on the wood pieces to cut the long strips into a bunch of pieces of the same length.

I found that the chipboard is a little easier to cut, but that it doesn't cut as cleanly as the plasticard. You have to cut all or almost all the way through the chipboard, where with the plasticard you can get away with scoring it well and then snapping it. 

Here's how the interior frame pieces start going on to the cardboard. I used hot glue here, but I don't think I'd use it again. You have to work pretty quickly with it, and it has volume, so it's harder to get everything lined up just right.

I wanted to make the door by getting a piece of clear plastic and putting it behind the door cut-out. I hope the shiny plastic will give me a glass look. Here, I have cut out the plastic from a blister pack to the right size to fit my door piece.

Then I did the cut-outs in the door. I had to do this twice, as the first time I wasn't paying enough attention and cut right through the middle bar. Doh!

I scuffed up one side of the plastic so it would take paint better, glued it in place, and then painted the back of the plastic black. I want it to look like glass, but I don't want people to actually be able to look in.

Next, I started putting all the pieces together. I've added the support blocks to the front door, then glued a side panel to the front, and a side panel to the back.

Then I glued the two half-booths together.

The booth with the open door I had to do a bit differently. I want to paint the inside of it black so that it's dark and shadowed. That means I have to leave it open so I can paint it before I put the front on. So, I put together the two sides, the back, the top and the bottom. I prepared a piece for the outer frame of the front door, and glued a couple of pieces of cardboard together to be the accordion-folded door. Here are all the pieces.

That is roughly how they will go together, though obviously the front door isn't lined up correctly in that picture. I had switched to tacky glue at this point. So, I need to wait for it to dry, then paint the inside, they I can finish the construction.

Here's the other one completely put together, along side my other two.

I think after these two, I'm done building these. I have some puttying to do on the second plastic one, I need to finish putting together the one with the open door and then coat both the cardboard ones with Mod Podge to seal them.

After all that, it will be time to pull out the airbrush and paint them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Drusil: Shading Face. Phone booth, version 2.

Over the last couple days, I added a little more putty to the joins on Drusil. Today I touched up the base coat on the areas with the putty, and then started shading. There's a first layer of shading on her face and chest.

I'm wondering if I need more putty where that leg and the robe meet. I'll look again tomorrow.

Over the weekend, I also built a second tiny phone booth. This time, I got a few pictures in progress.

These are some small sticks that I'm using for interior structure, to have something to glue the plasticard to. The drawings above are showing the size I'm going for.

These are the pieces of plasticard I cut to use as the sides. A couple of the inner frame pieces are there to show (very roughly) where they will be attached.

Here's a top view once the sides were all glued in place. 

Here's what it looks like once the top and bottom are on and the details added. 

And here it is with the first one I made. The first one is on the right, and the second one is on the left. It's not great, but it's better.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Drusil: Skin

 I spent some time working on a commission today, but got some time in on Drusil afterward. I got a base coat on her skin, decided part way through that I needed to putty one of the seams by her front leg, did that, and then finished the base coat. There's a couple other places where that leg joins that I'm debating if I should putty or not. I think I can get away with leaving them, but there are a couple of wacky angles where it is possible to see the separation between the pieces, and a bit of primer deep in there that I can't get to. see it, you have to pick it up and look at it from just the right angle.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Drusil, Phone Booth

 I have been working on things in dribs and drabs, but have been slacking on blog updates. In some cases, I didn't think to get work-in-progress shots like I should have. So, consider this sort of a sum-up of the last week of activity.

For starters, Drusil. She goes on the base I was working on lately. I put her partly together, primed her, then shaded parts that would be unreachable once I had more parts glued on. It'll make more sense after you see the pictures, so here they are:

So. I glued her arm on. Her front leg is also a separate piece, but I knew I was going to have to paint the stuff behind it before I attached it, and also determined I'd have to get her leg on before I could attach her to the base. Otherwise, I'd run the risk of not gluing her to the base correctly, so that the front leg wouldn't line up with its spot on the base.

So I primed her, and then painted the area that would be behind her leg. I made a mistake here - I should have just primed the area I was going to work on instead of the whole thing. As it is, I got some rub-off of the primer in a couple spots. I'm hoping I can fix it; I'd really rather not have little bumps from primer chunks on her like I did on the Adriana bust. You'd think I'd learn. :p

I ended up painting the area behind her leg fairly roughly, as it's not super visible. The parts that are more visible, around the edges of that area, I can clean up later. With that painted, I glued on her leg and then attached her to the base.

I kind of want to make her dress sheer. Not sure I'm going to do it.

I also worked on building a phone booth:

This was my reference photo:

The proportions are different in that I made mine wider. That was on purpose, I wanted the option of being able to fit a mini on a 30mm base in there, if I made an open one to go with it. 

This is the one where I should have gotten in-progress pictures so I could describe the process. I'm going to make another one soon, as there's definitely room for improvement. I'll try to remember to get in progress shots of that one. Short version: there's a wooden frame on the inside that I glued all the plasticard to. It provides support, rigidity, and some weight, as I used some hardwood scraps I got from my husband.

Friday, November 27, 2020


 Finished up Frigge today. Amazingly, the feathers stayed put.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Frigge: Dress, Gluing Bits. Base.

 I finished off Frigge's dress, and then glued on the remaining bits.

She also comes with feathers that are supposed to go along the bottom edge of the shield, but I think they look kinda weird so I'm not going to use them. I also have doubts about how sturdy the feathers on her head will be. I give it a 50/50 chance that at least one of them comes off while I'm painting them. 

Either way, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to finish her tomorrow.

Since once I glued those things on I couldn't work on her anymore today, I got back to the base:

The nice thing about painting things like stone is that if you do something and you're not happy with it, you can just keep futzing. I first did a wash of off-black, blue, and purple, but I wasn't loving where it was going. So I came back with desaturated green and blue, and a darker brown, and then a couple lighter greys, and stippled those colors all over the place. I was a lot happier with that. Then I hit it with a wash again to kind of make all the stippling look more like part of the rock rather than just sitting on the surface. Then, I painted a dark color in the sculpted cracks and corners. I was so happy with the cracks that I painted on a few extra. Then I went back to the light gray to pick out the edges, line the edges of the cracks, and highlight the sculpted bits on the front of each step. They don't show up well in the pictures, but look better live. I might put some dark around them to make them show up better.

I think I'm pretty content with it, but I'm going to wait and see what I think tomorrow before actually gluing it to the plinth.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Frigge: Dress. New Project: Base

 Shading and highlights on Frigge's dress. Also did the leather straps. Once I do the beaded sections, I'll look at putting her shield and other remaining bits that aren't attached in place. I'm happier with the dress now than I was when I started working on it earlier tonight. It definitely went through an ugly phase, and is better now than it was. Still, this is never going to be one of my best. 

I've also started putting together my next project. It's a 75mm figure of some kind of sorceress person. I've washed it, cleaned up a bunch, and started gluing her together. I've got to do some puttying and more gluing. I've also decided to use her built in base. I'm starting on that, because I think what I want to do is get the built-in base attached to a display platform, and then start attaching her to the base, piece by piece. I think this'll give me something to hold on working on her, but also let me build up the pieces as I go as I have to to be able to paint everything as easily as possible. That'll make more sense once I start posting pictures of the figure.

Anyway, so here's her base with just the base coat on. Next I'll be finishing the stone steps, and once they are all painted, I'll attach it to the black plinth. Right now it's just sitting on there.

Normally I paint a figure, then do the base afterward. Part of that is just habit, but one of the things it lets me do it add some of the colors on the figure into the base. Since I'm starting with the base here, I'll have to either decide on my palette now, keep the steps very neutral, or plan on adding in colors from the figure later, very carefully. Probably I'll end up adding in colors later, as I haven't the slightest idea how I'm going to paint the figure.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Frigge: Leather, Dress

 Got highlights on Frigge's boots and sleeve. Then I debated for a long time about what to do with her dress. That's part of the reason it's taken me so long to get back to her, I had no idea what colors I wanted. I have been kind of giving the different factions in here similar coloring, so I kinda wanted to stick to that. It wasn't any help, though, as the other figure from this faction was just in leather, and I didn't want to give her an all leather outfit. I went through a couple options and settled on this light blue, which I think I like pretty well with the rest of her colors.

Her outfit is weird. The plates over the arm seem like they should be on a leather sleeve. So, I thought about switching the top of her dress to leather, but decided I still didn't want to do that. Some of those straps will be leather. The others are beaded, and they'll be darker blue and red. That'll match with the other character.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Frigge: Leather

 I had a little bit of time left after finishing some commission work today, so I got back to Frigge. All I did was start shadows on the leather bits, including her sandal that I had overlooked before.