DECEMBER’S WORK IN PROGRESS: The Prelude
We wanted to share with all of you the projects we’ve been working on to wrap up the year! This will be the last Work in Progress post for 2017! Where has the time gone? THE FIGUREMENTORS TEAM has been busy as always. The Illustrated Historical Artist has released it’s 2nd and 3rd issue, a special on the 2017 World Expo, and we’re hard at work on issue 4. We also wrapped up our first painting competition. There were a lot of great entries. Look for announcements about medal winners and random prize pool winners after the holidays. Okay, enough business, let’s take a look at what we’ve been painting…
JAY ‘REDRUM’ MARTIN
It has been a while since we did one of these Work in Progress posts and it seems quite a lot has been happening yet at the same time, I have actually completed very little.
My recent projects have included a muted, Mike Blank tribute piece, a large bust depicting a young Viking warrior from Young Miniatures and I recently did a new boxart for Stavros Zouliatis, a small Greek Hoplite Bust.
I have been working on my freehand technique as you can see from the two shields I have painted. It use to be something I was really scared of but actually once you summon the courage to make a start, following some basic rules, the whole process is far easier and quite enjoyable too!
As with all Figure Painting, reference and inspiration is vitally important. For the Viking shield I found two or three rather complex images that I liked and I basically merged the three different elements to come up with my own design but that looked reasonably historically accurate. The Hoplite shield design was one of a number that the sculptor had shown me and left me to decide which to do. The Hoplite design was considerably easier, I merely marked points for the placement of the stripes, start and finish and drew in a diluted outline.
Corrections can be made over painting errors with the shields base colour. Then it was just a case of building it up, painting in the colours over several coats until the pattern was fully defined. Simulating the weathering and damage was carefully done with an old brush I like to use for stippling followed by painting in accurate scratches, adding a 3D effect by painting two lines, one light, one much darker, one above the other, to create the illusion of depth to the scratch.
The Viking shield required considerably more time but actually was no more difficult once the basic outline is in place again using the method from before. It is quite nice to see it come together, for this battered shield the design was weathered much more aggressively, which helps to hide any errors you may have made with the painting.
I will definitely be doing more freehand, now I need to refine my technique and try something a little more elegant. Right now my current Work in Progress is a female figure from Scale 75 that I am painting on commission, maybe I will show you progress in the first Work in Progress post of 2018.
On top of the painting I am also super busy with the magazine which is doing very well. It is a lot of work collaborating with so many Artists, who speak so many languages from around the globe. Yet that is the strength of our Art/Hobby, we are all one big family. I couldn’t do any of this without the contributors and indeed my friends Kyle and Steve.
Happy painting folks!
Back in September, I was caught up in making these gaming figures and thought it would be cool to mention here in our Work in Progress post. . It was a warband for a game of 40K called Tor Megiddo: War in the sun. It was great fun for me to be part of such a big collaborative gaming project and frankly it was very nice to just make gaming figures for a time, I need such breaks from time to time. I went off to Helsinki in Finland and had a wonderful time playing our game. We were 8 players for that big chaotic game! It was a blast.
By the end of October I went to C4 open modelling competition in Malmö, Sweden. My pieces “Regrowth”, “Before the Battle”, “Farseer Elwins” all won prizes. I also took most of my Tor Megiddo warband, arranged it on a display base, thus turning them into a showpiece and entered them in the C4 competition as well. To my big and pleasant surprise they won a gold trophy. I am very proud of that and feel quite a bit lucky too.
It is a time for new beginnings, new projects for me. I have just finished a project, I’ve been working on for the past 6 weeks, ever since Helsinki. I am not at liberty to show any pictures of it, until sometime next year. After a break last week, I’ve started on two new projects.
One is an angry monkey. A bust inspired by Koba from Planet of the Apes. I am going to paint him like Koba and present him on this piece of gnarled old wood, which will serve as a plinth for him. Presently I have cut down the wood and tweaked it a little, in order to work as the plinth and actually to keep its balance and stand by itself. Koba himself has had his first paint session. I have sketched in the basic light situation, play of light and shadow and placement of colour generally. From here on it is just a matter of pushing light, shadow, colour and drama as much as I can while refining the paint job, so it works not only from arms-length, but also up close. I am quite curious myself to see how he turns out.
The other in my Work in Progress is a 75mm Roman aquilifer from Ares Mythology. It feels wonderful to finally do a historical again, it has been too long. The piece itself and my choice of miniature is inspired by our own cover story in the first issue of The Illustrated Historical Artist. At the moment my paint job on him is nothing to speak of. I have just sketched all the base colours and the first play of light and shadow, wherever it felt appropriate, much of it wet in wet. From here on it is also a matter of refining and instilling a sense of drama to him. There will be much more play of light and shadow as well as many glazes to tie the colours together. He will be wrapped in a big bear skin cloak. The base will be covered in ice and snow, therefore I have already now at this initial stage mixed in a little blue in all the colours, to make a bit of a cold feel to the entire piece.
DAVID ‘BAILEY’ POWELL
After finishing up my work on the fantasy Orc (as seen in our last WIP post), I decided to start on a historical piece. I was looking for a ‘quick’ project, something relatively straight-forward without much complication, so I decided to take on a 54mm knight from Romeo Models. Of course, even simple projects seem to find a way to become complicated once I start painting them! This became an opportunity to experiment with a higher contrast style on a historical piece, an exercise in freehand design, and a chance to experiment with my TMM metal approach and improve how I paint armor.
I decided to deviate from the box art and paint him as a generic knight (rather than one of the crusading orders). In my mind, he’s an English knight traveling with Richard the Lionheart on the Third Crusade. That inspired me to go with a red and yellow color scheme for surcoat and shield. I gave some thought to the heraldry. Instead of a lion, I changed it up a bit and went with a griffin. I found the design on a list of English shield images from the 1200’s, so it has some historical context and matches my backstory for the figure.
Below you can see a couple images showing how the piece has progressed from the early stages to it’s current state. Not much left to do at this point. I just need to finish the chainmail on his legs, a few other details on him (like the arrows embedded in the shield), paint the base, and then weather the piece (a knight in the midst of battle wouldn’t be too clean!). This piece will actually be the subject of a couple tutorials. The first of which, covering how I painted the freehand (griffins and the simpler stripe) will be in the 4th issue of the Illustrated Historical Artist, coming out at the beginning of January.
While I’ve spent a good deal of time focused on the knight, a true Work in Progress, I’ve also taken some breaks to work on a few other projects. The pirate orc, Redghar, from Big Child Creatives has been on my workbench for far too long. He’s been a piece I’ve been painting a bit here and there, but really do want to get his scene wrapped up. Hopefully after the knight I will turn my full focus on him. In the past month or so, I decided to do a bit of experimenting with some of the weathering acrylic paints from Secret Weapon Miniatures. Redghar is carrying this big anchor and I thought that would be an excellent opportunity to play around with the rust set from Secret Weapon. Overall I was very pleased with the colors and how the results looked. I also have their verdigris shades, which I will be looking to get more use out of soon!
Hey everyone, I always enjoy these Work in Progress posts as it gives everyone a chance to see what we are doing behind the scenes as it were. Over the last couple of months, I’ve found it difficult to find time to paint. I have many projects in the collect and build phase but only a few that have progressed into painting enough to show: Terrible Kids Stuff’s Frank Von Stein from their Paolo Parente Dust Babes line and Troop 54’s Forbidden 1/10 bust which strikes an uncanny resemblance to Tom Hardy’s James Keziah Delaney from the TV series Taboo, which id like to share in this months Work in Progress post.
Frank Von Stein After the Battle – Work in Progress
I’ve loved the illustrations produced for the tabletop miniature game Paolo Parente’s Dust for years, and was lucky to order one of the last Frank Von Stein kits from Terrible Kids Stuff. TKS based the figure on a sketch by Karl Kopinski (I also just saw one of Mr. Kopinski’s new sketchbook pages features a sketch of James Delaney, no relation to the Troop 54 bust), sculpted by Joaquin Palacios (see Figurementor’s review). I also just received TKS’ Winter Child figure which will make the perfect companion piece with Frank. My son and I just recently played a demo game of Dust 1947 and have invested heavily into the game come Christmas. I plan to display both large scale figures on their vignettes at the local game store that hosts Dust gaming events.
Painting Frank: I studied other artists’ take on this figure as well as Frankenstein’s Monster figures, art, and movies to find a direction for Frank’s undead flesh golem skin and stitches. Mixing oils, I ended up with a pretty traditional green-blue-grey skin tone with some smudged in ochres on muscle masses’ midtones. The color of his pants matched WWII German officer’s pants in a grey-blue. The black boots needed a thin specular highlight running their length. I tried blending the boots’ highlight using an old Shep Paine technique where I ran a line of burnt sienna between the black of the boot and the white highlight and the blended a more leathery look. I haven’t gotten to the second pass of oils yet which will boost the contrast with the deepest shadows and brightest highlights. I haven’t attacked many details of the webbing either. I’m keeping his claws separate until the main body is finished.
I did run into a problem while painting the highlights and shades on his torso. I added too much Grumbacher Oil Medium to my colors resulting in blotches of color drying before I could come back to blend. Usually, oil painting is a very leisurely process, with hours or even days passing and I can still make blending adjustments. Overusing this medium will make the colors dry in minutes, it’s more aggressive than I thought. I’ve learned from my mistake and now can use the fast drying properties of the medium to quickly add layers of detail since the paint now acts more like an enamel. This particular Work in Progress may take some time!
Building the Battlefield Vignette: I planned the layout geometry of Frank’s base using dynamic symmetry (a more complicated “rule of thirds”). I derived the symmetry using a musical progression ratio of 4-6-9. This divides the space into ninths along each side with guides at 4/9ths and 2/3rds and 9/9ths in each corner. You can then draw parallel lines and crossing diagonals between the points to create nexus points and triangles that can aid the aesthetics of a potentially boring layout on a 4×4 square board. The crosshairs and diagonals determined where I placed Frank’s feet, the pillars and tentacle, the cut to shreds power suit arm, and the diagonals separating the levels of the ground. Lastly, I drew a vertical grid for the front face of the vignette, based on an invisible 4×6 rectangle and positioned Frank’s eyeline at the main intersection in the upper right corner. Angles of the pillars and the arm followed other vertical diagonals.
Once I finalized the layout, I gathered standard vignette building materials including PVA glue, sheet cork, air dry clay, cast plaster “ice cubes,” etc. I clamped temporary MDF walls so I could butt up the cork sheets and clay right to the edge for a clean crop. I poorly chose MDF as it absorbed the PVA glue from the edges of the cork and the moisture from the clay. When I removed the walls it took small chunks of cork with it. Plus the clay shrunk when it dried and pulled away from a clean crop edge. I will need to refinish the edges with Aves epoxy. For the pillars, I drew some Cthulhu type symbols and then carved them out and chipped and scratched the cubes to look more like ancient stone. I sculpted the tentacle from scratch with Aves epoxy, I still haven’t sculpted the last, tiniest suckers yet. I cut up an old mech arm from a Bandai Gasaraki Raiden kit. The arm was boxy and riveted enough that I felt it fit the Dust world. I still need to finish the ground work with the usual roots, grasses, and sand and rocks. Maybe a puddle too. I plan to paint the base dark and muddy.
James Delaney in the Sun
I binged the Tom Hardy TV series Taboo a while back and desperately searched for a figure to paint. I couldn’t find Troop 54’s bust at first because it doesn’t show up under any official search terms. I finally tracked it down after seeing a fellow artist working on it in Facebook’s Bust group. I’m painting the bust’s two pieces separately (the hat and the head/torso) so I don’t run into any hard to reach angles on the face. On the show, Delaney just returned from Africa with a deep tan that doesn’t match the skin tone of any of the other characters in dreary England of 1815. I kept the warm bronzer look by adding more golden ochre to my flesh mix. I’m struggling with the eyes, I just noticed that I double white dotted the left eye, and it’s hard to represent Hardy’s grey-green eyes. The hat and clothing are still just the acrylic base coat. I will finish those in oils and then come back to the face for final shadows and highlights.
We hope you have all enjoyed this latest Work in Progress post! That is it for now, until the next time!!