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11-01-2011, 12:21 PM #1
Alys - The tutorial
Hi all. Well, I reckon that it's time to make a start on this little paint along.
One of the purposes of this paint along is to show the process of how I might approach a display piece, and then execute it.
So first of all we have the model, Alys and Pussycat by Hasslefree Miniatures.
This version was done a few years back by Pete Bell, aka Avicenna, who is a guy whose work I greatly admire, so I hope to do something like as good a job.
As someone who really cut my teeth on Space Marines, I reckon that much of Kev White's sculpting is as far removed from GW as you could get, and I am mildly addicted to his female sculpts as they tend to be very feminine, but in a more believable way (i.e. not all have massive boobs, big muscles and faces harder than a granite crash helmet!), and it's nice to paint models that aren't weighed down with endless gubbins and twiddly fiddly details.
Alys as a point in case is a reasonably simple sculpt of girl in dress with apron and cat. Job done. No guns, no skullz, and a nice straight forward pose.
It's often said that Hasslefree models almost paint themselves, and I tend to agree, in that the posing allows easy access to every important part of the model - not least an un-obscured view of the faces of both the girl and the cat.
Stage 1 - Inspiration
Everyone uses some form of reference when working on minis. It is a form of plagiarism, I guess, emulation, maybe, but in the end most of us copy some form of colour scheme or vision as to what we want our finished piece to look like. Now some people are lucky enough to be able to sketch out their ideas, and follow a plan like that; others might lift a scheme straight from a picture in a book or on the net.
I, in recent times, tend to collect up a group of images and then create a collage out of them
which I then stick up in my work area, like this...
Google is of course a very good friend as far as this is concerned, but scanning in pics from books and such is helpful too.
Now there are some obvious trains of inspiration for any Alice in Wonderland type piece, but John Tenniel's illustrations are probably my favourite as they have that odd Victorian darkness to them. However, the new movie has added to the imagery too. I've not seen the film, but Tim Burton is up to his usual standard again in terms of odd, gothic imagery, and more than anything, I really like the much darker styled Cheshire cat.
The model itself isn't going to be converted, but I did get struck with a couple of ideas for the base. The first was similar to Pete's idea, with a playing card, but I though I might have it reaching up to grab her ankle. The other was to do a mushroom/toadstool, which is a major image synonymous with Wonderland. As it turns out I went for the toadstool, but feel free to try the other idea if you wish. This may be a paint along, but you are free to paint and model as you see fit.
Next post - prep and priming.
17-01-2011, 01:12 PM #2
Prepping and Priming
Ok, I'm not going to teach you to suck eggs here, so I'll briefly go through what I did.
1st I put her in a vice and chopped off the tab under her feet. I can't remember the last mini that I didn't de-tab, so I'll not go too deeply into that other than to say that sawing off the tab allows you to have a nice flat finish to the bottom of the feet and then you can pin the feet accordingly.
Now, the pic above shows that this wasn't the cleanest copy that I've ever seen, but fortunately the metal used by Griffin moulds for HF's stuff is nice and firm, with just a little give, so filing isn't going to be a huge chore. That and the fact that there aren't huge amounts of details to be caught up in the mould line.
Here's the tools that I used to file and smooth the mini
The coarse sandpaper was used to smooth off the bottoms of the feet, the manicuring sponge was used after I had filed the mould lines down, the sculpting tool can be used where filing isn't necessarily feasible. If you keep the edge quite sharp on the tool it can easily scrape down a mould line.
Once this was done, I drilled out the holes for the pins and pinned her feet using a paper clip and some super glue.
Last bit of prep is that I used a dremel type rotary tool, with a wire brush attachment to polish up the model. Be careful to only do this lightly, because it can start to wear off details.
At this point I imprinted her feet into the base (as mentioned in the other step by step article) whilst the putty was still soft, so as to get the best possible join when the model is mounted to the base later on.
Before priming, I washed the model with a toothbrush and some soapy water, before drying it with a hair dryer on the warm setting.
Having done all that, I primed her (and some other models that I have prepped) using Tamiya Light Grey Fine Spray. It's a great spray if you can get hold of it. Really smooth finish and so far (*touches wood*) I haven't had any issues with it (unlike that useless GW white spray and even some automotive sprays...).
Leave it to dry over night to get the best results and we should have something like this
The little chips are where I found little bits of dust or snots of filings that didn't show up when I washed the model off... They are quickly covered up later.
For painting I will transfer her to one of my cork painting assemblies. I have several ways of making up the corks, all involving them being glued to a gaming base of some sort, but I often find it useful to cut a cork lengthways (a synthetic cork is best for this by the way) and glueing it to a cavalry type base, or a 40mm square base.
You'll actually see that I changed corks part way through. I don't know why, I'm just finnicky like that for some reason!
Next post - Paint choice.
17-01-2011, 01:40 PM #3
Wow, this is a tutorial... You're taking our hand like a mom ahahahahah!We are blind to the world within us
17-01-2011, 02:29 PM #4
I guess that I am, Antonio. But, as I said at the start, this is only how I personally would approach a display mini.
If there is just 1 step in this whole article that you don't already do and that helps you to get a better final result, then I have helped, even in a small way
Anyway, I'll do this as a short step before moving onto the proper painting process.
So, paints, brushes and anything else that I use whilst painting...
For this step by step, I am going to use mostly P3 paints. There are lots of ranges, and everyone has their preferences, but P3 has been a staple range for me for the last couple of years, along with Vallejo model colour. I do also use some GW paints still, and sometimes 1 or 2 Coat D'Arms colours, but I keep coming back to P3 for whatever reasons...
As a quick list, here are the colours that I will be using through the article...
Cat - P3 Coal Black, P3 Bastion Grey, VMC Silver Grey, P3 Arcane Blue, VMC Black, GW Ogryn Flesh wash, VMC Brown Rose.
Dress - P3 Cygnar Blue Base, P3 Coal Black, VMC Silver Grey, P3 Cygnar Blue Highlight, VMC Black.
Socks - VMC Silver Grey, P3 Frostbite, P3 Greatcoat Grey, GW white.
Shoes - VMC Black.
Skin - P3 Hammerfall Khaki, VMC Mahogany Earth, VMC Silver Grey, VMC Brown Rose, GW Ogryn Flesh, P3 Arcane Blue.
Hair - P3 Rucksack Tan, VMC Silver Grey, P3 Menoth White Base, P3 Menoth White Highlight, GW Gryphonne Sepia, P3 Coal Black, VMC Mahogany Earth.
Matt Medium, for if the colours were too glossy.
GW Ardcoat Brush-on Gloss Varnish at the end.
Plastic Well Palettes
Rosemary & Co Brushes - Sizes 3, 1 and 0
Black Latex glove!!
I use the latex glove, which I wear on my right hand to avoid passing oils from my skin to the model and to use my hand as a quick mix palette, as will be seen later! I am a bit OCD with regards to having dirty hands too, so this stops me going off to wash them every 15 minutes!
Next post - Painting the cat.
17-01-2011, 09:22 PM #5We are blind to the world within us
22-01-2011, 12:31 PM #6
As mentioned above in the inspiration post I like the look of the Cheshire cat in the latest Alice in Wonderland film, so that's the sort of scheme I'm going to go for. The dark fur is a nice little challenge, and the cool turquoise like stripes will really stand out, especially against the colours on the toadstool.
So, to start, I mixed up a base coat of Coal Black and Bastion Grey (approx 50/50). Both are misnomers really, as the coal black is more like a very dark turquoise and the bastion grey is more of a brown!
Anyway, that aside, I got a good base coat down of the base mix like so
You can see the colour nicely on the paper, and the bastion grey in the background too.
Whilst waiting for the base coat to dry, I set up the highlights for the cat. I put a few drops of VMC Silvergrey in the palette and mixed up increased amounts of the base colour to it, so that I had about 4 highlight stages from the base up to pure silvergrey (you are going to see this used a lot as it is the highlight colour of choice that I used throughout the model. If you don't have this colour, use some form of off white, but again be consistent and use it right across the model).
You could go for more transitional colours to be even smoother, but for a model this small, plus with the details going over the top, it's not really worth it...
So, concentrating on where light will fall on the cat I built up the highlights using each of the colours, making sure that I got at least 3 or 4 passes on for each colour and working the colours from dark to light. The face and top of the cat's back got a bit of extra highlighting, so that it looks like it is getting the most light falling upon it, with less highlighting of the tail, paws etc.
Once happy with the highlights, I quickly tidied up the blends and folds with the base colour, before moving onto the stripes.
The stripes are super simple, just need to be fairly steady handed, use a smallish brush - a size 0 for me - and paint the stripes in by working from the middle of the back down to the flanks, or from the top of the head down towards the face. Why this? Simple, it allows you to lift the brush at the end of the stroke and naturally make the stripes "pointed" at the end, just like a cat's stripes should be!
The colour - P3 Arcane Blue - is just perfect for this particular model. I marked in the stripes with reasonably thick paint, maybe 2 drops of water to 1 drop of paint, as it allows good control to get the stripes on, plus it won't puddle in the creases etc.
So, you should get something like this...
Highlighting is simply done by adding increased amounts of silvergrey in about 3 highlight tones, concentrating on the face and back mostly, but it's good to add a bit of interest across his knees and where his front paws cross. Again, just try to think where light will fall as to whether to highlight it or not.
Shading next. 1st shade was simple, just some slightly diluted GW Ogryn flesh pushed into the folds and up against the parts where he is in contact with Alys. Next take some very dilute VMC black and push that right into any folds, especially on the face, between the toes and in the mouth where we will get to the teeth later. Finally, in terms of the fur, I took the base coat colour and painted really fine lines on the fur, following what I would expect to be the natural lines of fur, breaking up the highlights and the stripes, and creating the impression of a textured finish - as the sculpt is basically smooth. Like this...
There aren't too many details to do, other than the teeth, nose, eyes and paw pads.
For the paw pads, I simply used VMC Brown Rose, highlighted by adding a bit of silvergrey and shaded using a little Ogryn flesh. Same for the nose, and I glazed a VERY thin bit of brown rose onto the face either side of the nose.
The eyes are tiny, so I dotted in some arcane blue, then a little centre stripe in black and a glint of silvergrey to finish.
The teeth were simply painted in carefully using silvergrey, painted from gum to point to get the shape right.
And now you should have a finished cat!!
In these pics, I used the brown rose to establish a base tone for the flesh, which isn't worked on any further until later, but I hate wasting too much paint, and it helps create a bit of uniformity of colour tones across the model too.
Next post - The dress
25-01-2011, 12:09 PM #7
Started the dress as a fairly deep blue - P3 Cygnar Blue base (which is not a million miles off of regal blue or enchanted blue if you are using GW) - and just laid that down nice and flat.
I tried to be careful to be tidy at this point, and in fact I painted all of the primed areas of the model with Silvergrey after finishing the cat. This was to sort out the stray brush marks, but also because I had a bit of paint flake off of the ankles.
Now blue isn't a colour that I use predominantly on models all that often. No particular reason why, just a preference I guess...
However, this also means that I don't stock as many tones of blue as some other colours. I do have the 2 P3 Cygnar blues - base and highlight - and they go together perfectly adequately.
So, after the base was done, I mixed up the highlights - 1st a 50/50 mix of P3 Cygnar blue base and highlight, then several increasing mixes of Silvergrey, right up to nearly pure silvergrey. I kept a hint of blue in the final highlight as I didn't want chalky edge lights, and this isn't an EM style paint job...
So, in a similar way to the cat, I built up the highlights gradually, concentrating on the high points like her shoulder and the edges of the folds in her skirt. I pretty much worked away from the middle, as the darkest part, towards the bottom of her dress and towards the top of her shoulder and sleeve. The only thing here is that I didn't highlight quite as far to the bottom of the dress. I also added a little more highlight to the hip of her dress on her left side as her arm and the cat aren't obscuring that as much.
Here are some of the transitions...
And the final stage of highlighting looked like this..
I'll probably exceed the image limit in a moment, so I'll do another post for the rest of the dress...
25-01-2011, 12:28 PM #8
Once you've got the last highlights on, it's time to shade and tone. Now, in this case I decided to tone before shading, mainly as I wasn't going to go too mad on the shading to be honest...
I heavily thinned some P3 Cygnar Blue highlight and glazed it over the entire dress in about 2 passes. I was careful to brush from the highlight into the shade so as not to over power the highlights too much.
Next I used some thin Cygnar Base and pushed this into the folds, creases and where the dress came into contact with the apron, skin, hair etc... Also I re-established the original blue to her lower back, or where small amounts of shadow might appear, like where her bottom is slightly shaded by her hair and the cat.
Finally, I mixed some P3 Coal Black and VMC black, which I pushed carefully into the deepest folds and recesses.
Around this time you may have noticed that I painted in the eyes and eye shadow. I have no real methodology to this other than again I hate wasting paint and it serves as a tie in with other parts of the model later on...
The way I paint in female facial features nowadays is base colour the skin, leaving the whites of the eyes in the primer colour (or paint the whites of the eyes with a base off white - in this case, guess what? Silvergrey! lol), then wash a dark black like colour into the eye area, effectively applying eye liner, then dot in the pupils in black or similar, VERY carefully paint in the eyebrows, dot in a tiny spot of white highlight, then tidy up ready to actually paint the skin and tone the eyes later.
Also in this case I plopped a bit of eye shadow on using some of the highlight blue from the dress.
With this all done, you should have something like this on the finished dress...
Next - Apron and Socks.
25-01-2011, 01:25 PM #9
The apron and the socks
Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I often struggle with getting my white paints to end up "clean" looking, so this was a real challenge for me.
As I often say (ad nauseum...), I try to do something new in every model that I've not tried before, and in this case, it was a chance to push my white-fu!
Basecoat - I painted the socks and apron carefully with a 50/50 mix of P3 Frostbite and Silvergrey. Frostbite is very similar to GW Space Wolf Grey ( but it is somehow a little cleaner when applied to a model. I can't really explain it, but I just prefer it) as a pale blue grey, silvergrey of course....
That'll give you something like this...
The apron actually had a little run off of the darkest shade from the dress, which doesn't do any harm to leave in place for the moment in the creases ;)
Now, in this case I mixed up the shades and the highlights at the same time. They didn't amount to much as the areas aren't that big, but the dilutions were quite important.
Highlights were some thinned Silvergrey with a hint of Frostbite and then a mix of white (GW white in this case) with a hint of the previous mix. However, the final white mix was mixed twice - once as a really thin glaze and the other as the same consistency as a base coat.
Shades were some thinned Frostbite, a thinned 50/50 mix of Frostbite and P3 Greatcoat Grey, and a final shade of REALLY thin Greatcoat grey.
Greatcoat grey is quite a complex colour - in fact it doesn't behave all that well in the palette and has a habit of falling apart quite quickly, but it is a really good grey blue, with a purple-ish hint to it also.
Now the method of painting smaller stuff like this is difficult to explain properly. Essentially I established the shades under the skirt edge, in the wrinkles at the ankle and to help define the details of the ankle joint - i.e. either side of the achilles tendon and around the recesses of the ankle itself.
I used the 1st shade, well blotted and carefully pushed into place with a size 0, and then the 2nd into a smaller area and then the final one, tweaking back with the base colour if I wasn't happy with it.
The apron, as a flat surface was a bit easier, and slightly more obvious where to shade and highlight.
Once I got that "right", I set about the highlights, establishing the parts that catch the light in the folds and joint with the 1st highlight, and then painting in the final highlight using the thicker white mix onto the tops of the folds and edges of the apron, plus a couple of strong lines to the front of the socks where I'm imagining the most light is hitting them. The thinner white was then glazed onto the lighter areas to make the difference less stark.
Once this was all done I quickly painted the shoes black. Just black. You might think that you've seen me messing around with the shoes in these pics, but it's a figment of your imagination, something to do with swamp gas or something...
And then, with much of the model painted, I glued her to the base.
I tend to find that there is a natural point on any model when it is necessary to fix the model to the base. Sometimes this is early on, sometimes much later. I find that adding the model to the base is a big part of the process as it is a first glimpse at how it really is going to look at the end.
At this stage I am quite happy with how she looks against the base. The warm earthy colours of the toadstool vs. the mostly cool blueish tones on the cat, dress etc make her stand out, but still the skin tones and the cat's feet tie it in somehow...
We're heading into the home straight now!
Next - SKIN!!!!!!!! OH YEAH!!
25-01-2011, 03:29 PM #10
I personally really LOVE painting skin. It is just something I really enjoy and find reasonably easy to do. My style in general isn't about hard angles and sharp highlights and I like to take this to it's fullest extent with skin, making it smooth and multi-tonal, with plenty of variation. To that end I rarely use shop bought skin tones as I find them too much this or that for the job in hand. (That said I am very tempted to buy the Andrea skin tone set cos I am still open to the idea of an off the shelf "go to" set for skin)
So, with this in mind I got my palette and mixed up some of the following - P3 Hammerfall Khaki, VMC Mahogany Earth, VMC Silver Grey and VMC Brown Rose.
It has been a fairly popular formula with several painters (I believe that Ritual/Anders was the 1st painter that I read using this) to use VMC Mahogany Earth mixed with a khaki colour (in this case the P3 Hammerfall Khaki) as a base tone for caucasian skin. It is something that I use almost all the time myself to some extent, and the same is the case here, all be it with an addition of a touch of VMC Brown Rose to tie it in with the base/under coat that I've already done. The slightly more pink tone from using the Brown Rose helps here for my intended finish of a classic English Rose type of skin tone.
Other than the main mix mentioned, I then mixed up lots of variations of the 3 tones, plus with lesser or more amounts of silvergrey added. Silvergrey is reasonably warm as a colour, so it wasn't going to muck up the mixes and make her into an ice queen!
I do like to mix on the fly, so what starts off like this..
Soon ends up like this...
That way I am sort of pre-blending colours before placing them on the model.
Now, the actual painting!
1st of all I got the base mix and painted a couple of reasonably thin coats over her arms. I left most of the face until later because I like to work on that as a separate thing, although I did add a little of the highlight tone to under her eyes just for the hell of it. Also it allows me to make mistakes on the arms which can be corrected a lot easier than on tiny facial details.
Once I had the base tone laid down, I placed successively lighter layers and glazes on the arms and hands until I got to almost pure Silvergrey, which I placed at the highest points. I did the highlights on one arm at a time as I was mixing colours as I went along.
I repeated with the other arm and then marked in the fingernails. These are simple - mark in the fingernails with Mahogany Earth, then dot in the nails with some silvergrey (what else!?) leaving a tiny line of the mahogany earth between the nail and the skin.
I then shaded in all of the skin with a mix of the darker skin tones and some diluted GW Ogryn flesh, concentrating on the spaces between the fingers and between the arm and the cat.
With that all done we are moving to the head. With the basic tone already established, I quickly painted a base colour for the hair onto her - P3 Rucksack Tan - so that I don't splash hair colour all over a finished face! I quickly also shaded the hair using a mix of the Rucksack Tan and mahogany earth.
The face. I couldn't stop and take photos as I went on the face, because it is entirely instinctive for me. What I'll do is bullet point what I do as a process though...
1st, establish the base colour across the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. If you keep that thin then the more pink tone of the original colour I used will peek through in the recesses.
Next I used a mix of the base colour and some thin Ogryn flesh to shade under the nose, into the sides of the nose and immediately under the eyes, under the eyebrows, under the bottom lip, the parts in contact with the hair, and under the chin. Working more or less according to their exposure to light.
Re-establish the base colour, then start highlighting. I usually work the forehead 1st as it is often a larger flat area. Generally I push the highest highlights DOWN towards the brow and away from the hair line.
For the cheeks I already had the light areas marked in, but again I highlighted working towards the eyes. This hopefully pushes the interest in the face towards the eyes, and any ladies following this will more than likely know about make up products like "Skin Flash" which do a similar thing.
I've had a lot of years watching my wife put on her make up, so I use a similar process when painting!!
The "hollows" of the cheeks received a bit of REALLY thin brown rose and her bottom lip got some mahogany earth mixed with brown rose. The bootom lip was then highlighted using a bit of silvergrey mixed with brown rose and then glazed over with Ogryn flesh.
The chin had a bit of highlighting too.
The brows where I had painted in some eye shadow earlier was glazed with highlight colours to make it less stark.
Once this was all done, I went back to the eyes, washing a mix of Coal black and VMC black immediately under the eyes, allowing me to finely highlight the bottom lid.
The final thing to do was to take a tiny dot of arcane blue and dot it onto the white light spots on her pupils. This is a seriously steady hand thing though!!
Oh, and a thin line of the coal black mix was drawn in between her lips.
This should give you a finished face something like this...
You'll notice here that there is a blemish under her bottom lip. It was a slight casting issue that I filled in after with a dot of milliput slip and repainted.
Next post - Hair and finishing touches!