Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The brown covers the pink, sink the red?

I'm kinda pushing it with the titles, I know, but that's what comes from excitement.

After thinking about it and generally procrastinating most of the day, I spent about half an hour this afternoon fixing my pink issue with what ended up being quite a simple solution. I mixed up what I was planning to be a red/brown glaze and stopped at just a single drop of Scarlet Red and changed my mind. After watching some YouTube videos from Studio McVey on the two-brush blending technique recently, I thought I'd see if I could smooth the transitions out a bit using this method.

Boy did it work! Inspired, I then mixed up a dark brown glaze and went over the whole miniature to tone it all back down a bit, and I'm so pleased with the result. Using a second damp brush to take the fresh layer of paint away from the areas I wanted to keep highlighted, and to feather out the edge of the colour I was applying, the transitions were miles ahead in terms of smoothness.

I'm now ready to declare the hide finished. I'll do the horns and eyes later, but the actual hide is done. Here's where I'm at:

On to the armour, finally! Now originally I was planning on ignoring the box art (which depicts aqua armour), and just paint it blue instead. Beyond the fact that there's not a single aqua paint in the VGA lineup, I've got an awesome colour app on my phone that calculates complimentary colours and it tells me a soft mid-blue is a perfect match for the scarlet I've been using.

But meh, I love the box art and it's primarily because the aqua strikes such a balance with the scarlet. So I spent some time messing with my paints in the palette; the VGA line has three primary blues (dark, mid and light) and three primary greens (again, three tones), so I figured what the hell - maybe that'll give me three aquas to use. I wasn't quite right, but they certainly gave me some awesome tones to use.

Below is a picture of my palettes. The lighting really doesn't do the colours justice as they are more saturated and bright in real life, but you can see I've noted the mix for each.

So based on this, my plan is as follows:
1) Basecoat with a 1:1 mix of Dark Green (DG) to Magic Blue (MB)
2) Highlight with 1:1 Sick Green (SG) to MB
3) Highlight with 1:1 Escorpena Green (EG) to Electric Blue (EB)
4) Glaze with the basecoat mix to tone it back if I need to
5) Shade with 2:1:1 DG+MB+ Imperial Blue (IB)
6) Shade with 2:1:2 DG+MB+IB
7) Shade with 1:1 DG+IB
8) Final edge highlighting and hotspots with a lightened version of the EG+EB mix

I'll adjust as necessary throughout the process and I'm actually planning on doing mid-step mixes between highlighting and shading tones, so all up it should be 13 discreet paint mixes. If it makes sense at the time, I'll also add some very subtle red glazes to represent reflected colour from his arms and neck, but we'll have to see.

But before all that, I need to paint the glowing rune in his belt buckle. It's a really bright glowing rune in the box art, but it's a very fine embossed depression in the miniature so it's not going to be fun. Oh well, the means justify the end in this case :)

Until next time.

Red's doing in my head!

And Pink stinks!

I've posted a couple of "completed" blog entries recetnly, but I'm going to start adding WIP blogs as and when I think there's a point. As in the old days on my blog, it'll be as much about formulating and documenting my process and experiments for myself as much as for anyone else to view (cuz hey, who's reading this but me anyway?!).

For the first WIP post, I'm currently working on Belthir, one of the lieutenants from Descent 2nd Edition. Nicely detailed model, reasonable scale (though a bit smaller than my usual GW space marines), and once I removed his wings he's reasonably easy to access with a paintbrush.

So the box art for Belthir has a frustrating amount of shadow over it, but it's pretty clear that he has a deep red hide and complimentary-coloured blue\green armour. I decided heading into painting him that I wanted to try my hand at NMM for the armour, so I figured I'd quickly paint the red hide so I didn't have to try to access his neck with a paintbrush later and get red paint on my finished armour. I also assumed the red would be relatively quick, and I'd spend most of my time on the armour. Boy was I wrong!

Painting a deep red and highlighting up without it appearing way too pink has proven to be a nightmare! I started with a VGA Scarlet Red basecoat, and a thin mix of Scarlet Red and Charred Brown for shading, then moved onto highlights. After experimenting with Bonewhite and finding it too pink, I settled on a Scarlet Red + Dwarf Flesh mix as it seemed to increase brightness without too much pinkness to it (on my test paper at least).

So, I've applied progressively smaller treatments of 2:1, 1:1 and 1:2 Scarlet Red to Dwarf Flesh, and as you can see from the pics below, there's quite a bit of not-cool going on:

Firstly, I'm struggling to get smooth transitions. If I add a single drop of water to thin the mixed pain, I end up with something more like a wash - it fills recesses and pools on flat surfaces. If I don't add water, I'm finding it goes on way too thick to show the underlying layer and I don't get the blend I'm looking for.

Secondly, each successive colour is vastly different from the last, meaning I need to use much better blending techniques than I have so far.

Finally, it's freaking pink!!!

My plan at this stage is to bring the tone back down with several thin layers of a very dark brown (Black + Charred Brown + Glaze Medium) - this should restore the shadows and smooth out some of the layering. I may also apply a glaze of Scarlet Red if I find it ends up too desaturated. From there, I'll have to reassess next steps. 

The figure only costs $10, so if I have to start again from basecoat I will, but I could just re-buy the whole miniature if I have to (though obviously I'd prefer not to). Hopefully I won't end up wet-blending the hide as well, as it's just further delaying this mini, and I have literally 160-odd left to do for Descent. Grrr....

Anyway, onwards and upwards :) Until next time - Darchangel

Sunday, 26 April 2015


Continuing on my Descent painting journey, my next finished paint job is these Cave Spiders.

I actually finished these a few weeks ago but kept forgetting to take some pics to post.

I took this rather arbitrary opportunity to play around with wet-blending on their legs. This is one technique I've never tried before and while it didn't come out perfect (I've had better transitions from layered dry blending in the past), I learnt a lot and it's something I'll be refining do I can add it to my toolkit. 

On with the pics!
Here's the original source image. 

And my painted rendition:

The next finished mini is a while away, unfortunately. In the expanded rules for Descent 2nd Edition the evil Overlord gets to choose a lieutenant that he can occasionally bring into play through cards. Our Overlord chose Belthir, so he's next up.