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Jona's Sapo

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  • Jona's Sapo

    Hey all!
    As for me this challenge is in the first place an opportunity to learn as much as I can from you guys - actual painters - I'm putting up a log for my progress already. As I'm planning to do a lot of things I have never done, or never thought about (lots of ideas I got from reading various logs on here and Platoon Britannica, which go far beyond the things I previously saw on Warhammer-related fora), I hope to receieve as much criticism as possible.
    I'm not in the same league of many of you, by far, but I'd appreciate it a lot if you could judge and criticise my progress as you would your own work. There are without doubt much subtleties I won't be able to incorporate, or techniques which lie far beyond my proficiency with a brush, but it's by hearing what is possible, and failing trying it myself, that I think I can learn most. And don't be affraid to hurt my feelings; I'm a student in architecture, so I'm used to hearing the truth and worse.

    So, off we go, with a brief concept outline, and a couple of pictures.

    I'm theming my Sapo around his dual nature of frog-man, making a clear (but hopefully still subtle enough) split between his left (frog) and right (man) side. There are a couple of techniques I want to use to achieve this:

    - I envision him working in the sewers, or something like that, so I'll be using a dark setting with directional lighting from a torch/lamp/... which shines from his upper left side, probably using a soft yellow (almost near fleshtones) similar to what Darkmessiah is doing/has done on his Samurai.
    - I'm starting from a complementary colours scheme of a green base with purple patterning. While at his dark side, these will be the midtones and highlights, with deep (almost) black shadows, in the lit area they will be pushed back to the shadows, with fleshtones over the green and browns over the purple as midtones/highlights.
    - I also used slightly different patterning on both sides (which isn't final yet, probably), to have his left show 'amphibian' striping, while on his right the pattern will become something more similar to age marks, and thus associated more with humans.
    - For his eyes, I'm using a mix between human eyes and frog eyes with a horizontal slit pupil. I'm also considering leaving out the iris at his left side, and washing out the blue over the whole eye to again resemble frog eyes more.
    So, that's basically the general ambition. Apart from that, I'll try to use a cold-warm-cold contrast progression on his eyes-face-clothing. Like earlier noted techniques (directional lighting, complementary colours, using colour coats below fleshtone,...) this will be my first experience with this.

    As this is both my first time painting a bust, and my first non-gaming piece in general (above tabletop standard), I have no doubt this is all overly ambitious, and destined to fail. Still, I'm very much looking forward to the bumpy ride this is no doubt going to be, and already enjoyed the work I did so far tremendously.

    Pictures, then!

    The bust primed black, and then directional white:

    Today, I managed to put on the base colours, and really couldn't stop myself from painting one of his eyes already, as I had really been looking forward to that a lot:

    I'm really happy with it so far. I think the patterning could be more subtle (especially the difference between left and right), but the base colours work I think. The contrast with the blue eye start working as well, and from that front shot I got the idea to bring in the blue again on that little cogwheel necklace he has, probably in the form of very blue verdigris on copper. That should look cool with the triangle of his eyes and the necklace.
    I think the eye is getting there as well. For my first try, I'm really happy with it. The iris could be rounder (especially on top I think) and I'm not so sure about the angled pupil. Perfectly horizontal would probably be better. I had some difficulty painting the black neatly, as apparently you don't see the outline of your brush as well (which is quite obvious I guess...) which resulted in quite some mistakes. There's also a line visible below his pupil, which I'm not sure I'll keep.
    As said (quite a few times, I know ) comments and especially criticism is very, very welcome. On concept, painting, and also photography (I just have a new camera, but I really need to commit to learning how to use it, so I might as well ask you to help me with that as well).

    Thank you already!

    Things I'm working on: Sculpting, Puppet Wars Unstitched, Sapo

  • #2
    You are of to a great start and your vision for him sounds excellent. The eye looks really good.

    As for the photography, for a quick way to get more even lighting, you can hold a white piece of paper on the side of the mini that is in shadow (just outside the shot) as the reflected light from it can help light up the dark side. It isn't as good as a second light source, but it still adds surprisingly much.
    "Of course I'm sane, when trees start talking to me, I don't talk back."
    - Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

    My new paint blog - Brath's Paint Shop


    • #3
      You should be excited with your progress! I am just seeing what you've done so far. Also, I'm blown away by your vision of what you want to do. I've never really come up with anything specific like that and I think you're doing it justice with your first stages for sure.

      It makes me want to really plan mine out as well to try to do this piece in a different way from what I always do. Can I ask how you go about starting to put your theme together? Just choosing colors to start? Looking at images of amphibians or other source material?
      "I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious."


      • #4
        Looking great so far that! the eye is really cool. I like the purple splotches as well. Will add some interest in the skin and help break up the green blob.

        I kinda wish this bust had a jabba the hut tongue leaking out.


        • #5
          Looks great so far!

          Wow, what a great start!

          The green and purple are an interesting choice of colours. I think it'll really work well if you can work some yellow into the green highlights, which should help by adding the natural contrast colour to the purple.

          The one thing that's sticking out to me at the moment is the pupil itself is quite flat - it doesn't reflect the curvature of the eye - you need a few tiny spots of off - white (not pure white), just where you would imagine the light would reflect to really make this seem more realistic. Another tip is adding some gloss varnish can help! :)


          • #6
            Dalsgaard - Thanks a lot! I indeed struggle with the lights; I don't have daylight artificial lighting at my disposal (which really isn't ideal for my painting either; I know) so I'm restricted to our larger window when taking pictures, and only on more or less clear days. I will try the trick with the white paper, though, for now. I guess I should really invest in some decent lights.

            Scherdy - Thanks; even though it might sound thought through very well, I really lack the experience to estimate how it will turn out. It's just some ideas to start with, but no doubt a lot of it will have changed by the time I finish this. I generally get the most ideas looking at other people's work, I think. I've only recently discovered this forum (and the Platoon Britannica one), and looking at what people achieve in terms of composition and technique really is hugely inspirational to me.
            For this model, I just started with the idea that I wanted it to be something in between man and frog. Using the directional lighting for that came from John's first post noticing the slight tilt in the bust, and the colour contrasts I got interested in somewhere in Darkmessiah's log.

            Pete - That could work. I'll be leaving this perfect sculpt as it is, and just ruin it with my painting rather than slapping lumps of greenstuff on it as well, though.

            Chameleon - Thanks for the great tips! I'm not sure yet how much green and purple will still be visible in the lit part, pushing them to the shadows, but I'll certainly try to get some yellows in the light.
            You're quite right about the pupil. I put a layer of gloss varnish over the eye already, but it will probably need more (although it works better in the flesh than on the pictures, so it might be a matter of photography as well). Apart from that, I was thinking to add a reflection of the light source in the pupil, not just as a brighter spot but trying to paint in the reflection. I'll only be trying that after I'm sure of the light colour, hopefully after a few more sessions.

            So, taking in these points, I hope to proceed with it next monday. Now that there's the basic lighting and the undercoat colours, I want to move on to adding the light colour, to get a better idea of the final colour combinations.
            Now that I look back at the pictures after a few days, I'm really thinking I should repaint the pupil to be perfectly horizontal. It looks very little controlled now (which it indeed is), and especially if I'll be trying to add a reflection to it, I think it will look too messy for my taste. I'll wait until there's some more colour on the bust in general, though, before repainting it.

            Thanks again all for the remarks!
            Last edited by Jona; 06-02-2014, 07:51 pm.
            Things I'm working on: Sculpting, Puppet Wars Unstitched, Sapo


            • #7
              Actually overcast days aren't a bad thing. The light gets softer and creates less highlights and shadows.
              "Of course I'm sane, when trees start talking to me, I don't talk back."
              - Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

              My new paint blog - Brath's Paint Shop


              • #8
                Dalsgaard - I tried your suggestions concerning photography today, getting some white panels around him and taking the picture on an overcast day. Also, I tried going from auto setting to adjusted shutter time, but it will need a lot of failures (and probably some reading as well) to get half-decent pictures I think. Feel free to keep commenting on this side of the presentation; it's something I really know nothing about, and all help is welcomed.

                So, I spent another hour and a half on frogman today, and tried adding in the fleshtones in his lit side (see first post) while also getting the greens deeper and richer on his other. I tried the wet-in-wet blending John talked about for the first time, and I quite like it. I think I thinned my paints too much at first (they almost behaved like washes...) on the fleshtone side, but got it working much better on the greens I think.

                To keep his face warm, I tried adding some yellows in the fleshtones, especially around his eye (thanks to Sue's remark), to get as much warm-cold contrast there as I can. I also added in Scorched Brown in the greens on his left, which really helped deepen the colour and give it a warm appearance while still being dark. This brown was also used for the age spots. Adding in these browns to the patterning on his right side worked quite well, I think, but the difference between the purple and the brown is too large to be attributed solely to the light source. I think I'll need to add some more browns in the purples. Also, the markings on the transition need a gradient as well, being too brown now.
                I'm quite happy with the difference between the happy-man side and the angry-frog side, helped a lot by the grin on the sculpt.

                The lighting sortof moved to a more horizontal position coming from the right, rather than the more down and slightly more from the middle I used when priming. It's far from perfect, so I'll probably need to push it around a little more.

                As always, I appreciate any comments, but harsh criticism even more so.
                Things I'm working on: Sculpting, Puppet Wars Unstitched, Sapo


                • #9
                  Looking great Jona.
                  "Of course I'm sane, when trees start talking to me, I don't talk back."
                  - Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

                  My new paint blog - Brath's Paint Shop


                  • #10
                    Thanks. I'm really not so sure about the light placement of that source lightning . I hope it will become more clear when painting up the other areas (goggles and clothing) and adding in the highlights, and I'm waiting until I got all that right to add in the shine in the eye, but I could use some pointers of the more experienced painters on this subject.
                    Things I'm working on: Sculpting, Puppet Wars Unstitched, Sapo


                    • #11
                      I think this is already looking mighty fine, Jona! I like the sharing of your vision for him, and how it is captured already quite well through the directional priming and darker 'right' side. I understand you're coming at this from a true color wheel perspective with your green complementing your purple, but don't be afraid to highlight the green with yellows to make it warmer and brighter while you shade your purple more towards dark blue as both a color and temperature contrast. I think it would work very well - already does :)

                      Your primer still shows through the paint in some places, which is quite common when priming black and dusting it white as it becomes a bit 'spotted' if you see what I mean. Just ensure you get enough passes to cover it up or glaze until the spotted areas are gone. Your eye is very well done already, I might steal that idea for my own. I agree the pupil is too flat, but I think you should wait with the off-white spots until you have come further on other areas, then you can work on the light placement for the whole piece :)

                      Great job!