As most of you are aware, I have been practicing painting heads and faces over the past few weeks. I try and do one a day but being on holiday and busy means that sometimes it’s not always practical. Above, you can see all the heads I have done so far. The one on the left was the first.
I rather liked the dot method of painting eyes that I highlighted before, but when I tried to paint iris’ on, it didn’t work too well. A friend over on twitter linked me to a different way and so I gave it a try. This was the result!
His eyes are way too anime to be called good, but for a first attempt at a new method, I was pretty pleased. I look at it now though and think it’s rather funny. Some of the comments were fun, but I had to have another go to make him look less kawaii…
This is a step in the right direction for sure. The black around the edge of the eyes makes it look more realistic and less anime. The left eye is neater than the right and I am wondering if I should try using a magnifying glass as it is hard to see. Maybe I am being too picky with it and practice is going to be the cure in this case. Either way, I look forward to painting those Death Company marines, who will have red eyes and look crazy!
When I was a teacher, we used to assess our own skills using a system of rating yourself out of 10 against several key areas. It helped with self reflection and was a valuable tool when it came to setting yourself targets. I thought I would do something similar with my hobby skills and then set about improving them as the year goes on. I made a list of skills – as many as I could think of, and rated myself out of 10 for each of them:
As you can see, I have been thought through this a fair bit and rated myself as I see fit.
Areas I want to improve, or need to work on the most would be Object Source Lighting, Skin Tones and Battle Damage. I am not terrible at them, but I want to get better. These are the key weak points in my skills.
As for Non-Metallic Metals, I want to learn how to do brighter gold shades and improve my silver before branching out and attempting others, such as copper.
Freehand is perhaps my strongest skill, though I know I am not perfect at that – is anyone ever perfect at a skill? It doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue to work on it though. I am far from complaicent with it and know I can do a lot more and a lot better as well.
I have the whole year ahead to improve my painting skills and techniques and to try different things as well. I shall revisit this list in a few months time and see what I have done to improve those areas I am not so sure about.
I finished the Primaris Ancient today, and I am very pleased with how smooth and sharp he turned out in the end. Here he is:
Some of these pictures are a little grainy because I have tried to lighten them. I wanted everyone to see the colours but I think I may have gone overboard a little. The next one is much sharper!
Here is the new Ancient with the Ancient I painted about two years ago when they first came out. I’ve come a long way since then and it really shows. My edge highlights are a lot sharper and I can blend colours a lot better now too. My basing has also got a lot better. I’ve always tried to assert that the only one you should compare youself to is you. Your progress is your journey, no one elses!
For those interested, these are the three colours I used to create the blend on the Ancient. After preshading with white to create a zenith, I used Ultramarine Blue as the base all over, making sure I sprayed underneath as well to make sure there was no black left. The mid colour was Magic blue, sprayed at about 90 degrees and the last one was Electric blue sprayed from above.
The Ancient is for sale is anyone is interested, please feel free to get in touch if you are!
Today was the second instalment of the Siege Studios painting course. Yesterday was intense, today was just as good. We started the day by working on the doors we started yesterday. Today we added battle damaging, weathering and scratches using some of the techniques we learned yesterday. Mine ended up looking like this:
Some of the scratches are too wide, and the battle shapes a bit cartoony, but these are areas I can work on over the next few weeks. I also sprayed the bottom with seraphim sepia at the bottom for wear as well. Pleased with this to say the least.
We also worked on flesh – faces to be specific. The skin was already sprayed on using the technique we were shown yesterday. We were shown recess shading and how to make skin look realistic rather than clown-like. It was an intense concentration moment, but it was worth the effort:
Again, there are plenty of spots that need improving, but I’m so pleased with how it turned out.
I’m going to have a lot of points to practice over the coming weeks and months and things can only get better. I’m very excited to get started and try out a whole host of awesome things.
For now though, I’m going to rest and let it all sink in!
Today has been spent in a rather warm Element Games learning from the masters at Siege Studios. James, the fellow who set up the company, had a great deal to tell and it seems only a fragment of that knowledge has sunk in. We started the day with a talk all about airbrushing and the basics of how to use one. Apart from what Gary showed me the other week, I was pretty clueless. It seemed to be a little like driving a car, in regards to pressure and effect, so I was set loose with a door and boundless enthusiasm.
I spent a while practicing on the mat before having a go at the door above. Not too bad for the first time I’ve ever used an airbrush if I say so myself. I have a lot I want to practice to say the least.
The next part of the day was spent learning about layer blending. Again, this was similar to what Gary showed me but added in the use of a hairdryer and why they are used. It involved thin layers built up to create the blending effect. I have done this before but it was good to see the theory behind it too.
We then spoke about using decals and good methods of applying them. Again, something I have not done before but now know how to do. I do need to buy some supplies, and I do need to have a think about my home set up. It’s good to know that some of the things I’m already doing are good practice, it’s now refining those techniques and gaining muscle memory. All in all, a good first day!
The idea I’ve got for my next diorama is ambitious to say the least. I have never before attempted anything as large as this, or as detailed. If it works, then it might well be the coolest thing I have ever created. If not, well, the less said about that the better.
I am calling it the Ridiculous Six.
It will be based around five Space Marines who are having a few problems with some Tyranids. The idea has been floating around in my head for a long time now but I haven’t had the skill or guts to try and put it together. With how well Ahriman and the Ahrimen went down, I decided to give this a go and see how I get on.
Here are two of the concept sketches that will form the basis of the diorama itself:
I am not the best drawer in the world but I am sure you get the idea. Fortunately, I have most of the bits I need in order to make this scene. The only things I need to pick up are the Night Lord who is stabbing the Brood Lord in the head and the rippers that the nurglings are going to be battling.
It is going to be an interesting project as the electronics are going to be slightly different as well. I want the Land Raider to have hazard lights and I want it to be spewing out smoke as well – as though the vehicle has crashed.
I need to figure out a colour scheme for the tyranids that’s going to stand out against the Black Legion Marines.
I thought Black Legion would be the best option because not only do I think they are awesome, but the Black and Gold will tie the warriors together rather than having them in their legion ones. I think that these are the ones that get sent in to do stupid jobs in the hope that they will never come back, yet they always do. I shall have to figure out their story as I am working on the diorama.
I was asked the other day about wet blending and how I do it so I said that I would run through how I do it as best as I can. I’ve taken some pictures to try and illustrate the process.
Wet Palette. Nothing fancy, just a take away tub, a sponge and some baking paper:
When adding water to the wet palette, I keep the water just below the top of the sponge. This is my personal preference and it is a case of finding what works for you.
Select the paints you’re going to use. I am painting a cloak on a Stormcast for the purpose of this tutorial and I am going for dark purple.
Paint the darkest colour as a base on the area that is going to be blended. Don’t worry if it looks watery or parts of the undercoat show through, this will be fixed when blending.
While the paint is still wet, get the next lightest colour on your brush – not too much of it though – and mix it in the spaces you want to be lighter on the miniature. Try and make the two colours mix without any clear lines between the two.
Repeat this with the lighter colour for the places you want to be lighter. Again, try to do this without leaving any clear lines. I always try to get as smooth a blend as possible.
I also added some darker blends with dark blue because I wanted to add depth to the purple. You can see it in the second image above.
That is how I wet blend. I am aware that this is a tricky skill, or can be, for some and it takes a lot of practice. I’ve popped a couple of examples of what you can do with wet blending, though the limits are just your own thoughts. I hope this has helped!