I See You – PRELUDE
Hello everyone! My name is Luis Mendez Juanola, otherwise known as fantasydemon, I am 37 years of age and live in Madrid. In this article I’ll show you some of my insights and techniques for the process of creating “I See You” which I created last year for MSS 2015. I hope you enjoy this tutorial that Jason and I have prepared! It first appeared in legionofthecow but since they have changed the direction of their interest, they gave Jason permission to re-publish here (along with some edits), so for all those who never got to see the article, you now can!
I have for many years painted miniatures, played, read and observed the world of fantasy, which I love. Furthermore I studied Art in college which gave me many ideas that I wanted to create, and what better way to develop our beautiful world of miniatures! One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is enter the world of sculpture at 1: 1 scale, in my work as a way to attract other viewers. Another idea that continually haunts me is to break the plane between the fantasy world and the real.
Moreover, this project has left me a little exhausted and what I want now is to paint a couple of simple figures for the sheer pleasure of doing it, while developing more projects in the future through my sketching!
BUILDING THE VARIOUS ELEMENTS
I built the figure from Supersculpey worked upon an armature that had green stuff as the covering layer. The hardest aspect of the process was to achieve a dynamic and proactive stance supported on just the one foot. The model had to convey the sense of fear, loneliness and vulnerability. Our hobbit is cautious and treads carefully through the forest, his way lit by a meagre lamp. This was a considerably large sculpting challenge. I used photos from the film The Hobbit for reference and inspiration.
The Palantir, a magical artefact from J.R.R. Tolkien epic fantasy world, as portrayed in The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), is basically a “seeing stone”. The build of this was much more complicated. This piece needed to be created in two halves to allow the easiest access for painting the internal elements, thus getting everything to fit exactly together so that the finished piece looks whole to the viewer. Getting the fit was crazy!
I used a plastic sphere for creating the thin clouds, a 50% mixture of Green and Milliput was shaped over and around the sphere. When I had the clouds as I wanted the sphere was cut in half and removed leaving the now hardened clouds to create the 360degree presentation.
A Dremell was subsequently used to smooth the entire thing until I was happy with the finished Palantir. To model the trees I used 50% mixture Supersculpey and Fimo for its flexibility. As you can see it was necessary to create slices in the branches to allow some hard to reach sections to be painted.
The hand was made with a cast of my own hand in plaster, which I modelled and created additional detailing to the nails for the perfect finish and to ensure a good fit between the fingers and the Palantir it was holding. If you have concerns about how to make a mold, the internet is full of great tutorials that will be very useful, take a look!
To paint on a variety of different materials and achieve an homogeneous and convincing result is difficult and complicated. I had to test and experiment with several brands of paints to find one that could cover well and give me the finish I wanted, in the end I realised my best option was the older Scale 75 paints.
I used a directional light based on the colour value and not the tone, as is the usual method. You can see how I’ve gone about the drawing of hobbit clothing, cutting shapes and sometimes intentionally ignoring the volumes of the sculpture and give more importance to the gesture and the drawing (one more way to seduce the viewer). In the final pictures you can see the effects of moisture applied as final details.
When painting the interior of the Palantir the first thing I did was to decide on a particular colour scheme and begin painting the interior setting, this is vital because the miniature will be affected by this setting through contrast, light and reflected shadows. This is necessary to be clear from the very first steps to ensure the whole scene works and is balanced in composition and palette.
The concept is simple, a nighttime atmosphere with warm tones and a starry sky. I had a hard time discerning the feeling the tone conveyed within the Palantir and varied the first steps of the initial scheme several times until I was happy and comfortable with the overall atmosphere and effect. Nobody is perfect! Yet finally I think the effort was worthwhile and I am very satisfied with the end result! Leaves and other vegetation were carried out with photo-etched materials and other accessories to complete the woodland theme.
Many people have written asking me about the hand painting recipe that I have used in the painting process! I have helped telling them the colours I have used and yet they have been surprised not to get the same result! Why? The secret is in saturation. The value is also important, but the case of meat (skin) how to improve our level of painting lies in observing where to set the saturation.
I have studied colour theory at the university for years and I wonder how people in our figure painting world, reduces the whole theory to the tone (the colour wheel) cold and warm, and forget the rest. Study how it works and the saturation value is radically important if we take a leap forward in our painting!
The Palantir painting process began with a black primer. It is basically a job at 90% airbrush and 10% brush. For airbrushing I used templates to trace the drawings with very diluted white paint, this made the work much easier. I am maintaining the same colours and consistency of the paints both through airbrush and brush application, the colours are all heavily diluted. For the final, highest lights it was necessary to use the brush, taking time and care to push the contrast with the deepest shadows.
The most difficult and tiresome element of this entire project was having to make corrections to previous work that had been completed when moving onto new elements, the interior was constantly being retouched throughout and I was having to regularly bring the two halves together to see how the progress looked as a whole.
I hope you enjoyed this article! I for one am very satisfied with the end result! I learned a lot in its implementation and I have been comfortable in tackling the scratch-built elements, I really believe that was my best option for what I wanted to achieve with this project.
I want to thank the organisation of MSS and of course the awards and especially Roman and Raffa for considering my winning project “Massive Voodoo Most Creative Award – MSS 2015”. Thanks also to you Jason to follow so closely and with such enthusiasm all my work!
We will continue to surprise!
Below you can see a rather extensive gallery of a lot of the various steps I went through to produce this project, thankyou for reading!
Luis Méndez Juanola.