Friday, October 19, 2012

Painting Gwaihir, part ONE.

Once I had my eagle conversion ready for painting, I got out the brushes and set to work while we were at the Wandering Dragon Shoppe!

As usual, the shaded basecoat technique reigns supreme.  I started by setting up the colors of the base.  From there, I put down some colors on the palette for the eagle.  You can see I had a green, a dark brown, a light reddish brown, and an orange brown.   This would eventually be joined by a light tan.

Using one of my larger brushes, I work quickly to lay down my lights and darks, being sure to balance things like color temperature.  This is vital when you are doing something as relatively monochromatic as this.  Working quickly is the key.  Do not be tentative.  Come up with your plan and attack the miniature with your brushes.  Think of them as +3 strength magic swords or master crafted lightning claws. :-)

My basic plan was to have the chest and interior of the eagle a cooler temperature of browns, while the dorsal part of the bird would be warmer.

You can really see the basic warmer browns on that dorsal side of the wing.

I like to play with the color temperatures like this to create contrast in a way that is different from the usual light vs dark.  The edges and tips of the wings are also a cooler dark.

I mixed that greyish tan with my reds on the ventral side of the wings in order to make them less warm, rather than the orange brown of the dorsal side.

These next few images show this juxtaposition of the warms and cools...

You can even see that dance of color temperature play out on the palette.  Here the colors are warmer

And now you can see that I have added a seafoam type green and have mixed that in with my reds, further cooling them down.

At this time, I also start working out the details on the face.  I tried to get some golds and oranges in the face, so that it would stand out...

All across the wings and legs, I try to build my lights little by little, working the same sets of cooler and warmer colors.

The next post will show you how the base was painted, along with the face and talons!  Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!!


  1. Your step by step articles are always cool but this was especially nice to see the progression while the paint was still wet. I've noticed that with anything remotely natural (ie bases and animal hair/plumage) it helps to be a bit "sloppy" as nature doesn't really do symmetry too much or too accurately. Has this been your experience too?

    1. Thanks! Actually, this is how every miniature is while it's painted. This time I was very lucky to capture the wet paint! What is great about moving quickly with a large brush is the opportunity to wet blend.

      As you mentioned, that "sloppy" feel of nature is a great thing to harness in this way, since it cam make everything from knights to tanks look a tiny bit more real :-) I count on that a lot, in fact, so that is a great observation by you!