Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lesson Plan

The latest Facebook live session once again focused on oil paints, and the reasons why I have been using them more and more.

Here's a link:

I was trying to demonstrate the value of using the oils to map out the majority of your colors and values, a bit like a "Super Shaded Basecoat" technique.  For instance, on this figure, I could rapidly place a number of different colors on the cloak, and easily blend them together.  If that had been done with acrylics, it would have taken much longer to get those color transitions, and I probably would not have been as bold with the choices!

I also worked on this figure in the pre Live Session hangout.  In this instance, I wanted to see if I could glaze very thinned down oils over wet oil paint.  Even I was shocked at how well that worked!  Of cousre, I was following my normal rules of 'thick paint over thin paint' and vice versa.

My initial layers were thicker, which allowed such thin paint to adhere to these layers, as opposed to wiping them away.  This can happen with wet acrylics, but not to the degree that it might with oils.

I did more of this glazing during the Facebook live session.  My initial layers were very thin, putting a darker glaze on all the surfaces.  The successive layers became thicker and thicker, which allowed them to stick to this initial underlayment.

Once I had built up these thicker layers, I could go back in with those very thin glazes, which really amazed me!

I will be posting finished results of those figures once they are completed and based.  Again, the idea if to use the oils like I use the Stynlrez primers, and that is to establish a nice solid base of colors and tones, which I can finish off with more precision with my usual acrylics.

These are the kinds of things that I want to show in much greater detail, especially in the Live session format.  This is why I established the Patreon Page, so that I could spend more time doing these things on camera!  Here's a link:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


This was part of an exercise during my last podcast with the Models Workshop folks.  While it is an audio cast, it was very helpful to have some things being painted at the same time we were recording, because I had several figures on the table all at once.

I talked a great deal about painting efficiency, and as you know, it is very helpful to have a lot of different genres and types of figures ready to paint.

Figures like this one, which have a lot of earth tones, skin, etc., are even more ideal, since it is going to have a lot of areas in common with just about every other figure.  This means that I can simply grab a figure that has a similar color set, and get that little bit done.

This also keeps me from overworking figures, which can happen if you just keep hammering away at the same figure for hour after hour.

Many years ago in art school, there was a major emphasis on not lingering too long on any particular area or piece.  Grab the figure, work on those common areas, and move on.  You get a "fresh view" of a figure more often with this method... a way to step outside your projects.  

Also, an interesting color combination on one piece might end up being just as good on another, even though it might not have been in your original plans!

I will be doing a few live broadcasts this week, starting on Wednesday.  Late in the evening, I will participate in the Hobby Hangout, which will lead into a Facebook Live session.

On Friday, I will join another broadcast with the Models Workshop crew.  You never know what topic may come up, since it really is a painting hangout at heart!!

I enjoy doing the live hangouts and Facebook live sessions, since they allow me to show the principles that I am talking about here.  I try to make them a "working broadcast", rather than a purely how to exercise.  This shows the down and dirty methods for getting figures painted, as opposed to a pre set demonstration only showing one concept.

As you know, this was a major reason why I started the Patreon page, so that I could do this kind of thing more often.  The people that have seen these kind of "working demos" have been able to get a lot out of them, as they are also more informal and participation is encouraged!

Here's a link:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Shifting Sands

Just before Thanksgiving, I had a chance to get back into the oil paints again.  These images are from a Google Hangout that I did to show how I use the Mig Ammo OilBrushers.

There are a few of the Mig Ammo washes in the little caps... Afrika Korps wash, Dark Wash and Brown for Green Vehicles.  The idea was to show how to vary the tones on a "limited palette" tan color scheme.

I alternated on each wash color as I moved around the vehicle, making sure to have warmer or cooler tones on each part of the hull.  These would be further accentuated by the addition of the OilBrushers.

I put a few of the OilBrushers on a palette, and you can see the variety there as well.  One of the tones is actually a light flesh tone.  That will be used to create the "bleaching" effect of the sun on the vehicle.

As I mentioned many times during the session, the primary source of weathering on these desert vehicles is bleaching, as opposed to rust and mud!

I love working with the oils, because the ability to mix right on the surface as if it were the palette is so much fun!  Using those initial washes as a base, I could allow the more opaque layers of OilBrushers to mix with my washes, creating even more subtle color transitions.

This is especially true in areas such as the lower hull.  The Dark Wash is more of a Van Dyke Brown tone, which is a little cooler.  By mixing in the more opaque OilBrusher colors with this, I was able to get more of a shadow tone without having to mix special colors to create them.

Meanwhile, on the upper hull, I allowed the lighter more opaque tones to mix in with the Afrika Korps wash which was already in place.  Again, it is all about mixing right on the surface.  The whole point of using a material such as oil paints is to be able to do something like this, so why not take advantage of it!

More mixing takes place, adding some layers of lighter colors.  While it is possible to do this kind of mixing with acrylics, it is nice to be able to take my time!  Also, I am trying to be mindful of the bleaching effect that I want to create.

It is important to keep in mind that oil paints should be applied in thinner or thicker layers.  Unlike acrylics, thinner layers of oil paint will not adhere to thin layers already in place.  Therefore, you will want to apply thicker paint to thin layers, and vice versa.

I used a very nice White Spirits to thin paints down, but the OilBrushers are already a very nice consistency, so you don't really have to worry too much about thinning them down.

I also wanted to show how to manipulate and shift the overall tones without having to use washes or filters.  I added a bit of the Ochre to the palette, and that was mixed into existing layers of color to make it a brighter tan.

This higher intensity tan was needed to give that sense of bleaching that I mentioned earlier.  Adding this more saturated tone made the surrounding areas more bleached out by comparison.

Some rusting effects were added to the exhausts, and even a bit on the surrounding areas.

All the while I was working with the oils, I had to keep in mind what I wanted to do later with weathering powders.  I want to have the lighter dusting effect down in the crevices, so I have to keep those recessed areas a little darker than I might do otherwise.

That is also true for the lower sections of the hull, where the sand effect will be very pronounced.

This hangout session was followed by a Facebook live painting session that showed how to do these same desert effects using regular oil paints.  You can watch that here:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Toys for the Holidays

Most of you probably recall the various toy dinosaurs that I posted to the blog early in the fall.  Those were very unusual, in that they were actual toys.

The material was very similar to BONES, but you could tell that it was not engineered to accept paint the same way as BONES would.  Ironically enough, these are pretty much 28mm scale critters!

The mould lines are impossible to get rid of, and the material is smushy.  To make things more challenging, there is a bunch of raised letters across the chest (company name, copyright, etc.).

This is one of two T-Rex figures that were painted, each one with a different color scheme.

I did have fun with the face on these guys!!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Hero or Goat?

Ever since I started to publish the how to articles on the Mierce Miniatures Beastman series, I thought people would get a kick out of seeing what the finished miniatures looked like.

As a bit of a refresher, here is how they began, using the Badger Stynlrez primers in the "Primer Painting" technique.

The subsequent painting process played out over 4 episodes, showing how to utilize the Secret Weapon Miniatures weathering paints for the metals, fur, skin and even a banner.  Since those paints are really designed for working in more of a watercolor style, they really make me feel at home!  

This image shows how the rust and other weathering turned out... here's a link to that stage:

If I get the opportunity, I will try to paint something like this unit in oils.  While many of the principles are the same, there are certain physical differences in the paint and the way it can be utilized.  So, if there seems to me more oil painting on the blog, or especially in the upcoming Facebook live sessions, this is why!

Pledging to the Patreon page really helps me to do more of the live sessions, where I try to conduct as many "live experiments" as I can.  Even I learn a lot from those!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

High Seas

This interesting sculpt is from an old game called 7th Seas.  I don't know how far back this miniature line goes, but I am sure they are well over 10 years old.  It is really interesting to go back and revisit these older figures, especially in the ways elements such as the faces have been sculpted.

Of course, when you deal with older figures such as these, you are not always sure what things are supposed to be.  I ran into this a few times.  

However, I really enjoyed the face, as I could do some fun things with the transitions of skin colors.  The hair was also an interesting style, and certainly not one that I have ever painted before!  That is a rare treat, especially with all the thousands of figures I have painted from so many different manufacturers!

I could not resist going with my traditional blue and gold color combination.  Also, I attempted to infuse as many of the gold surfaces with some blue, and to incorporate a touch of the golds into the blues.  This is why you have a bit of teal mixed in with those blues!

It all has to to with the "color unity" that I preach so often here on these pages.

Making sure that there is at least a hint of each color on all areas of the figure makes for a much more pleasant experience for the viewer.  I mention this even more on the Facebook live painting demonstrations, because it is a little easier to spin the figure around and point out those areas!

Any support that could be offered on the Patreon page will be very helpful in making more of those sessions possible!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Warriors of Winter

It has been a very long time since I have shown any images of the original winter Germans.  This original batch was done with the bark and branch method of basing, and the snow was done using the Secret Weapon crushed glass method.

I really enjoy that snow technique, because you can make a wide variety of snow types with the same material.  It all depends on how much of the realistic water that you mix in with the crushed glass.  More of the realistic water, and you get a more melted snow effect.  The "drier" you make the mix, the crunchier and fluffier your snow will be.

I have painted many different Warlord Games Bolt Action sets, but the winter Germans have been among my favorites.

While there are many different methods and materials for making snow effects, this one has more of a crystalline appearance, for obvious reasons.  You can see that even more when it is painted on the tree branches or on thew caps, hood, etc.

Here's a few images of the whole unit.  I also did the command figures as well as a few weapon teams.  I look forward to doing the next batch for our Staligrand games, so that means doing an urban theme with this snow.  When you add weathering powders into the snow mix, you can get a little more of a dirty snow.

I will try to do this new batch on the Facebook live sessions.  The figures will probably be painted with oils this time around, which should be very interesting!  Stay tune for those, and if possible, please try to support the Patreon page, which makes it possible for me to do more of those live tutorials.

You will also have a chance to win the monthly figure raffle too!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

No More Secrets

One more episode for the painting of the Mierce Miniatures beastmen.  The series began with "Primer Painting" using the Badger airbrush and the Stynlrez primers.  You can find that here:

After taking care of the metals and other elements, it was time to use the Secret Weapon weathering paints to actually weather something!  Yes, even I sometimes use things for the purpose they have been intended.

I usually start off with Old Rust, which is also a favorite skin tone wash too. 

As you can see from this trio of images, you can use those washes a bit like oil washes, in that I apply them mostly in crevices, and then wipe away at the edges.  This is done in a bit more of a watercolor style, with slightly less control exerted because oxidation takes its own course.

This is a good example of how the washes work.  I let them gather in some parts of the application, but pull away at those edges either with a dried out brush or one of  the makeup applicators.

While it is still somewhat wet, I add a slightly lighter rust color, and allow that to mix together on its own.  This is really the unique aspect of the Secret Weapon paints.  They are really meant to do this kind of spontaneous mixing, just as I did on the banner from the last episode.

A third and lighter layer of the rust series can be added, which I usually allow to mix with the other two.  That is another intent of the paints, and that is to mix together.  You can still apply them in "normal" layers of opaque color, which I do all the time.  It's just nice to have this option!

You can see what the various rust layers look like together.  As I mentioned in the previous post about the metals, I made them darker and a bit more blueish so that these subsequent layers of oxidation would show up a little more.

Once that weathering was done, it was time to go back into the metals and add some more lights... using a mix of the lighter Secret Weapon grays and a few lighter Reaper colors.  I wanted to get in all the rust before this stage.  It follows my normal process of working "globally", where I try to get as much of the surfaces covered in colors and values as soon as possible.

This creates context, so I know just how dark or light one area should be in relation to another.

I even took those darker blues and mixed them with the yellow rust, which created a bit of a 'patina' color.  I put this on a few of the bronze/copper bits.

I started to finalize some of the shading on other areas, such as the lion cloths, skin areas, the deepest darks in the furs, and a few highlights on the horns.  There are a lot of different shades of brown, so I tried to make variations in those broader areas of color by making some more greenish, more reddish, etc.

It is only at this point that I start to add in any of the brightest highlights.  This plays off all my years of 2D art, where such details were never added until the end.  As always, it is about context, and having all the rest of the color/value range in place, I know exactly how much is needed.

I have a few of those brightest highlights here, on the weapons and armor. You can see how the armor is meant to play off the snow colors!

I hope that this series was helpful.  I know that it can be difficult to translate all the information on these techniques in pictorial/text format!

This is why I am trying to do more of the facebook live sessions, so people can hear and see these things live on their screens.  To make some "space" to allow for more time,  the Patreon page was set up.  Apparently you can do live streams just for the patrons, and I am trying to set that up. 

Apparently you have to have a bunch of specific settings on your you tube channel, and then get 'approval' from Patreon that those are in place.

Here's a link to the page.  Anyone who pledges to the page gets a chance to win the painted Nocturna miniature which will be raffled off in December!!