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I started painting again in late May after a 2-year hiatus. I understand the basics of shading and highlighting, I thin my paints, and I've practiced layered blending on about three miniatures so far. I have a long way to go to reach the first "wow" level of painting, but I was wondering if you'd take a look at one of my pieces and point out what concepts/techniques are in need of the most improvement. I have a few ideas already, but I won't mention them because I'd rather hear your impressions rather than my own self-critique. And, of course, if you have any tips or links on how to get your suggested improvements moving, they'd also be very much appreciated! :)
This was painted on Tuesday. It's a mercenary (SGM-07A) from the 25mm Stargrunt-II line of Ground Zero Games. I used Apple Barrel craft paints (you can smack me now).
NOTE: One thing I am very well aware of is the lack of appropriate basing. I honestly didn't expect to start wargaming again when I resumed painting these things; I just wanted to get back into painting. From now on I plan on basing before priming.
Looking forward to your advice and assistance! Thank you :)
I have a couple of thoughts here... First off it isn't a bad miniature at all. You have shading and highlights and they look pretty nice.
What I think overall is that there isn't enough contrast in the piece. It all looks pretty dark and muted. I think you are leaving too much dark shading as you build up your highlights. Even between the green and the brown and the black (the majority of the figure) the shade is almost the same across it all.
I like the face it has character to it. I would maybe lighten the high spots a touch more and then add a darker line around the eyes so they don't blend into the skin as much.
You already touched on the basing so no comment necessary there.
I don't know what the blue area is or why you have it that color. It stands out but I can't tell what it is supposed to be.
Again a nice looking figure overall and I am sure it looks even better if the picture was scaled down more appropriately.
oh .... AHHHHH craft paints nooooooooooooooooooo :w00t:
I personally wouldn't change anything about it. Because it looks really nice for what it is and for the type of mini it is you have done it justice.
"It is not necessary that whilst I live I live happily; but it is necessary that so long as I live I should live honourably." - Immanuel Kant
Thanks, slorak! That is exactly the kind of information I'd hoped for :) I hope you don't mind a couple of follow-up questions.
I always have a lot of trouble determining contrast level; I get worried that too much will make it look silly, and so I overcompensate. I'd say you're definitely correct about my leaving too much dark when I'm highlighting, so I will try to fix that with the next mini. I'll also try out the "large black spot + two small white spots" method for eyes in order to try to get the outline you've suggested. Up 'til now I've been doing "large white spot + small black spot" but I can see how the outline would really make it stand out.
The mysterious blue is another victim of the low-contrast! The merc is actually wearing a sort of bandanna, but the blue blends in with the surrounding green so smoothly that it's almost impossible to tell.
And thanks, Commissar! You're too kind :)
In regards to the eyes I have done them both ways - all black two white dots, all white 1 black dot... either method is fine - really whatever works best for you.
What I was referring to is a darker line (I usually use a brown ink, sometimes flesh ink) and outline the eye just to keep the lighter flesh color from running into the white of the eye. You don't want it too dark otherwise it ends up looking like eye liner (though on occasion in a stylistic sense it can look pretty nice).
Since it's outlining I'm assuming you're doing it last; how do you apply the ink? Just a regular fine brush? I have no inks yet, only craft paints, but I'd love to know for future reference and to experiment with the stuff I have on hand.
It is one of the last steps I do. If the line gets to thick you can always go over most of it with flesh color to make it much thinner...
If you are seeking inks - I have recently acquired Vallejo Game Color inks and I like them quite a bit.
Double post... OOPS!