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Friday, March 16, 2012

My First Mini

Normally no matter what is going on in my life, I'm positive and happy and try to make other people feel happy. I'm not up to that today.  Today I'm posting pictures of my first miniature and I'm not at all satisfied with how she turned out. Actually, I'm feeling rather ill right now, and may upchuck at any moment.

I promised that no matter how this turned out, I would be brave and post it. So here she is.



When I look at this all I see are mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes I see is that there is too much difference between the light and the shaded areas. This should be more subtle and gradual and I failed here.

And from the rear, the same mistakes are present, but more obvious. With the hair, I made the opposite mistake. There isn't enough definition present and the details don't show up.  And I didn't put her on a base because I'm not happy with the figure and don't see the need to spend the money on it.


Here she is from the side. The only thing I really like is how her boots turned out.


And for those of you who don't paint miniatures or follow pages that do, this will give you some idea of how small she is.

Putting all that negativity aside, I had fun doing this and am going to keep painting until I get good at it. I've got some fun figures from Dark Sword and am excited about painting them. My favorites are the frogs and I just ordered a mouse warrior who is wearing a really gnarly eye-patch.

I follow a lot of gaming pages and have learned a lot from all of them, and today I'd like to thank Kris from Wargames and Railroads for all the help he's given me.  If you gamer's haven't been over to visit Kris yet you should do so.  He teaches painting professionally and he won the Gold Medal in Genghis Con XXXI.  A picture of his winning miniature is posted on the right sidebar of his page.

I would like constructive criticism from the gamer's out there. And don't mollycoddle me, because if you don't correct me, I'll never learn and I intend to get better at this.  I will reply to all comments today, just give me time as I have some things to do and will be on and off blogger all day.

I've already picked out the next figure I'm going to paint.


She's from Dark Sword miniature and I haven't done anything with her yet. She still doesn't have her right hand on yet!!  If anyone has any tips on how to put that little piece on without screwing it up let me know.

Everyone have a great weekend. The weather is to be good here and I'm going to get out and enjoy it.




68 comments:

  1. Not bad! I can tell you it's better than the first miniature I painted.

    I am thinking the contrast in the clothing is not too great of a spread like you're fearing, just that the dark in the recesses on the skirt remain dark too high up in the folds, where they'd start to lighten. Actually you could probably even bring the highlight even lighter on the very tips of the cloth.

    To get it smoother, you can try glazing it after. pick a shade about half or 2/3 down the light to dark ratio that you used and add a lot of water, and a bit of extender- I like Reaper Master Series 'Flow Improver' but a liquid matte or satin varnish can work too. make a mix of about 1/10 paint to water and add some of the extender, it's just to break tension so you don't get pools & rings when it dries, and brush the glaze on over the area of that color. it will tone the highlight down some and help smooth the transition of the highlights & shade. It helps if you're painting from dark to light. Looks like you used a Black Primer (?) so you probably started with dark colors and layered on progressively lighter? That works fine, just tends to need more washes & glazes to smooth it out. you can also try painting 'down' by starting with a white primer, paint a light color and with thinned paint paint in the darker shadowed colors, picking up & blending the paint with a wet brush to keep the highlight in tack. Try both and see what you prefer. There are other ways too, but those are the two approaches that are easiest to start with and can give good results.

    For the hair, that's an easy highlight, just mix a bit of ivory color (not pure white) with your lightest color you used, and add a few jagged areas. When sun hits hair, it doesn't pick out single strands (near impossible at this scale anyway) but makes some rough jagged patches of light areas. Best source for studying how light works on various textures is black & white photos. Easier to focus on the light when not distracted by color.

    I expect you're not alone in seeing only the flaws- almost every mini I paint I feel this way. Even when i like it and am happy, half of me just sees what i want to be better about it. So don't expect to have that feeling go away anytime soon ;) It probably won't, but it keeps you interested in improving, so it's not bad.

    Keep it up! Looking forward to the frogs! I painted some of those a few years ago and really enjoyed them.

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    1. My reply is a few bits down. It took me so long to write that some comments slipped in between!!

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  2. I have to say Anne, I've seen gamers field armies at tournaments painted much worse than that. I think as a first outing it's a great effort – aside from the base being upside down.

    I can't advise you on how to paint specifically as I think everyone develops their own style over time that works for them – e.g I always paint from a black undercoat, and almost always highlight up to pure white.

    I did a blog post on how I paint red a while ago and I follow a similar process for other colours:
    http://the-dark-templar.blogspot.com/2010/01/blood-angel-red.html

    I would say always paint under a spot lamp, with a daylight bulb if you can – makes a big difference for seeing detail as you paint. I would also say paint more, thinner layers. Let the brush absorb paint into the bristles rather than load it up with paint, that way you don't have too much or too little.

    And at the risk of stating the obvious, the only other thing I would say is keep going, practice is the only way it gets better. Enjoy it. By all means persevere, but if it ever starts to become a chore, walk away and come back later, or move on to a different model.

    I look forward to seeing more!

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    1. I'm going to go check out your post in a minute. Loading the brush was something I wasn't sure of. I was overloading it and kept having to wipe off excess. I'll try your suggestion on the next one.

      I am painting under a lamp with a daylight bulb (I use it to start my seeds with indoors) and that's helping. I have horrible eyesight!!

      Thank you for your help and I'm going to start the next one tonight.

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  3. nice...go enjoy yourself...

    and keep in mind that this is your first...you will def pick up the tips along the way and figure out what works for you as well...you got enough good suggestions in the first two...

    glad you had fun and stay at it...

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    1. I enjoyed doing it. I always do this to myself when learning something new. I'll get past it and get better at it.

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  4. Don't be so bloody hard on yourself, for a first attempt she's lovely and far better than I've seen painters with years of experience achieve, Laughing Ferret and The Dark Templar have given you some very good suggestions!

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    1. I'll try not to be, but it's in my nature to be this way and I can't help it. I was like this when I first starting playing drums as an 11 year old and not much has changed since then!!

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  5. I used a white primer and painted from dark to light. I realized too late in the game how off I was on the skirt and thought about fixing it last night, but realized I was obsessing about it and decided to put it away and just learn from the mistake. I'm going to pick up some of that flow extender as my paint is drying too quickly. The temperature here has shot up and it's humid as hell.

    I ordered a glaze and a smaller paint-brush on Monday, but it hasn't arrived yet. Thanks for the tip on doing the hair, I hadn't thought of that and I shoot black and white film, so I can think about light in that way. I'll do that on the next one. She's bigger, so it might be easier to do her.

    Thank you so much for your advice!!

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  6. Well I can't really comment on it not being a wargamer, but I have seen other miniatures that people have painted and I think she looks good. I hope you get well soon as well.

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    1. I'll feel better eventually, just stage fright and it passes.

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  7. You should be extremely happy with how the figure turned out...it looks great and remember its your first figures!!!! Everyone can offer you advice, but you need to learn the technique, that you find most appealing and the only way to do that is practice!! You probably won't be happy with your first 20 figures, but the 21st you'll think....aha got it!!! Keep plugging away and don't get to downhearted.

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    1. Part of my problem is that I don't have anyone to show me in person how it's done and the other problem is that I've been looking at mini's done by pro's for months now. I'm going to forge ahead and post them as I go and the next one will be better. I can't wait to do my critters, but I'm saving them till I get more experience.

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  8. I wish I had some constructive criticism but from my perspective, it looks pretty great, especially working in the size limitations. This is your first. Nobody should be judged by their first anything.

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    1. They are very, very small and when you consider detail on something that small, it's almost microscopic.

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  9. That's a very good first effort and shows great potential. There are a lot of really good painting resources out there and your followers have already posted some good ones. I'll add one more. Doctor Faust's Painting Clinic. http://www.paintingclinic.com/MainClinic.dwt.htm
    He even has some youtube videos. You may find those helpful. Another thing that may help you is to use some kind of magnifier to help you see better when you paint. I use an Optivisor. http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=optivisor&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4385753505&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2005703762797168364&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_10whwtpspo_b

    Another option is to just buy some reading glasses, they can have some pretty good magnification and are much more readily available and inexpensive. Pick up a cheap pair of 2.5 power lenses and see if you like them.

    Another thing you might try is using a wet pallette. A wet pallette keeps your paints moist and prevent them drying out while trying to use them. They're available commercially but they're easy to make yourself. Here's a how-to link.
    http://www.tobi-design.com/miniatures/tips/tips_wet_palette.htm

    Hang in there, Anne.

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    1. I saw the Optivisor and want it, but the price is a bit high for me at the moment. Also my vision is very, very bad. After my accident I lost almost all of the vision in my left eye and it's not correctable by lens or glasses. I only wear one contact lens and that in the right eye. (the scrip on the right eye is -12.0. I close my left eye when I paint and use only the right eye. Makes it hard to tell how far away from the mini my brush is. I'll adapt to it in time though.

      I forgot about the wet palette!! Thanks for both of those links, I'll certainly use them.

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  10. Looks like you did a good job to me .
    Your mini looks cool.

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    1. Thanks Max. I loved that short you had up today. I'm going to watch it with my daughter tonight, she'll adore it. That baby dragon is soooo cute.

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  11. I can't really see many issues in the miniature Anne although I have to admit I'm far from an expert in miniature painting, I wouldn't worry too much though. Hope you feel better soon too, there's been something going round here recently too, lots of people I know have felt like puking recently too!

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    1. It's that time of year and all the crud is going around. The days are getting longer though!!!

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  12. I am not a gamer and don't paint models but from my vast painting experiences..ahem ahem, see it as a learning experience, you will get good at it. You do know the mistakes you made so next time it wont happen...treasure her as one of your stepping stones!! Onwards and upwards!!!

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    1. I love your artwork, your fishies were cooool. Also you said some things on your blog that I've wanted to say but couldn't. Thank you for helping me get my inner rant out today!!!

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  13. It looks good to me. Now, I want you to paint one for meeeeee!! ;)

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    1. I've got a couple of male warriors to paint and I could name one for you if you'd like.

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  14. I have to say that I laughed at your label! lol

    I think it came out great! Then again, I have zero clue when it comes to art. But, if it makes you feel better, you surpassed anything that I could do!

    I can't wait to see the others that you painted :) That's awesome that the gaming blogs got you into something new! Enjoy the amazing weather (bring some here please!) and have a great weekend!

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    1. I love those gaming pages. It's really art what those guys do and they are all very talented.

      The weather is fabulous and should stay that way all weekend. I see a grill in my future.

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  15. I love the colour of her hair, and the blue of her skirt, dahling. It's perdy.

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    1. Thank you darling. I'm off to the doctor with Hubby, I'll stop by and see you and the Cat later today.

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    2. fingers crossed all goes well at the doctor.

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    3. This was just a normal routine weekly visit, so everything is okay.

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    4. nice to hear that, darling! Hope you two will be naughty to celebrate St,Patrick's Day ;)))

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  16. For anyone who comes after this: Hubby has a Dr. appointment and I'll be gone for a few hours. I'll be back later. See you then!!

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  17. Bloody good 1st miniature! If you wanted to be extremely picky you could use what you have already painted as a ‘mid layer’ and highlight it up from that by mixing a bit of white or ivory/bone in with the original colour (might come out a bit chalky though if you do use white!) also with a base on it, it will make the miniature a lot more striking, but I always do a rush job so its probably not best to take my advice.

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    1. I know basing is an art of itself and I'll put effort into that on the next one. I don't like the slot base already. This was a pretty low-quality mini as well.

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  18. C'mon! It's not too bad Anne!
    Now just keep going since experience is the key-factor.
    Maybe you'll be satisfied soon ;) On the other hand, you might never be satisfied and end in the maelstrom of figures like all the rest of us :D

    Sweet pea sounds funny btw...

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    1. I suspect I'll be like the rest of you and buy and buy and buy mini's. I'm already doing it!!

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  19. This is the first chance I have had to look at her this morning. I'm right there with everyone else, you did a great job with the first mini. I have already seen a lot of advice given in the first batch of posts and all of it is good. Some really good references to other sites as well. I'm with Fran I have seen much worse from painters with far more experience than you at this.

    The highlights in the hair need to come up a little higher and those shadows a little deeper. Its appearing a little flat. I would like to see some deeper shadows in the skin too. Miniature painting is all about contrast that's how we achieve depth. There is nothing wrong with high contrast between the shadow and the highlight even when they may be right next to each other on the miniature. I would actual say that you have the skirt just about right in that respect. The highlights there could definitely come up higher although with a green skirt I would use a yellow rather than a white (or even a linen white) to bring the highlights up. Now, did you paint the sword? It almost looks like its still bare pewter, its kind of hard to tell. Flipping back and forth from here to the pictures I really think you did and awesome first job and I would spend the time to do a little basing, it doesn't have to be fancy, but it will give her a more finished look. She deserves a base! You should definitely be proud of this one, she's not perfect and there are definitely things that could have been done better. But you fought through and, I think, more importantly that you realize that she could be better but you are willing to stop now and apply the lessons to the next one.

    On the next one, it will just take a tiny drop of super glue (or krazy glue) to attach that hand.

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    1. The next mini is bigger and I'll do more layering with the face. I'd done so much on this face that the paint was getting chalky and cracked. But you've got a great tutorial up and I'll try some of that next time.

      I did paint the sword. I used armor silver. I think I should have used a dark color underneath to make it look a bit more realistic and I probably should have highlighted that ridge with a white.

      Thanks for all your help Kris!!!

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    2. Layering is definitely an art. Its kind of like painting eyes you don't get really good at it till you have done it a lot. I remember finally getting good at eyes when I painted a "regiment" of 27 miniatures, by the time I had painted 27 pairs of eyes in an afternoon I was pretty good at them. Just practice, which reminds me I still need to dig up those shields for you. Its been a busy weekend.

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    3. I'm working on the next one now and am layering very, very thinly and it's looking pretty good. Get to the shields when you have time. You've got mini's to paint, work and classes to tend to.

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  20. I too like being told when something I do is crap because that is the only way I'll ever get better. But this surely isn't, she looks great to me. But then Pat and the cat's ability to make art ends at stick people and even those are so so..haha. Still I think she looks great and as you progress things will get better each time until you like it. We are always our own worst critic, and send that weather here and get rid of this cold and snow, please.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Pat, you're right without correction, one never learns. I know it stays cold up in Canada Land. Winter hangs on a bit up there doesn't it?

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    2. Yeah it was all nice and spring like for the first half of the week and then poof more friggin snow and it got cold again. Need to move south..haha

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  21. Sorry you're feeling sick. :( I hope it passes soon! I too am sickish--something nasty is definitely going round these parts.

    I think your mini looks pretty amazing. Even more so considering she's your first attempt!! I guess I can see what you mean about the shadows and the lack of detail in her hair, but I actually really REALLY like the way the shadows look on her skirt. There's a sort of gritty-comic-book-ish look to her and I love it. :)

    xoxo

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    1. You're an artist and you're tough on yourself too!! The boots have a good gritty look on them too and I love them.

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  22. I think it's great. It's fun and it's very you. Looking forward to the next post. Keep on paintin'.

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    1. It is very me isn't it. The next one is going to be much different. More traditional military in color. It is fun though!!

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  23. If you weren't so hard on yourself.. it'd take a lot of staring to realize those mistakes. I mean yeah, they're there, but I think you took it a little far. I'm not a wargamer but, I seem to agree with what I can understand of their comments so far.

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    1. I'm my own worst critic. It drives the Hubby crazy!

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  24. Very nice. Cant' wait to see the next one.

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  25. Well, first off, I love that you used to word mollycoddle, and it must be a real word because my computer didn't try to autocorrect it. Therefore, I'm going to try and squeeze that word in this weekend along with feck, in honor of St. Patty's Day =)

    Secondly, I can't see any mistakes...to me she is flawless, Anne. She was made by you and you busted your ass on her AND she's your first which makes her that much more special! But, that's just me....

    Happy St. Patty's Day!

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    1. Use the word feck with abandon tomorrow and sprinkle in a few gobsites and you'll be good to go. And I know you've seen mini's in your Florida room too!!

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    2. Oh Gawd, you know I've seen to many damn mini's in that Florida room!! LOL

      Umm, gobsites?? Goggle time...

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  26. If I say : "Very Good!!" I'm not serious and don't give you help for improving your painting... but it's good for a first mini!
    It's difficult to see exactly how is the painting in your pics: not closer enough and too dark, but it's seems to be very clean and precise on the details...
    better than my first one!
    And I'm sure that better painters give you a lot of useful advices... I'm just too lazy for reading all the comments! I'm waiting the next one...

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    1. Thank you for being honest, the truth is the best way to go with something like this. The next one should be better and eventually I will paint one I'm happy with.

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  27. It looks pretty decent actually, just keep practicing and I'm sure you'll improve in no time.

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  28. Honestly I don't know if it's 'gamer' good or not, but it looks okay to me! I will say that I think you and I are in the same boat--you with your figurine painting and me with my novel writing. We know what we want to do, but we're still in the trial and error phase. It's frustrating at first, but if you keep at it you'll get those figures painted just the way you want 'em. Practice makes perfect and all that.

    Enjoy your St. Patty's day weekend. Maybe the fresh air will make you feel better. Cheers!

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  29. I does look okay to me. But then again, I have no experience whatsoever with minis. You must be a perfectionist! Haha. Well, I guess practice makes perfect. Btw, I mentioned your blog in my last post. Check it out!

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  30. Your first painted figure looks much more better than my first one. IMHO hor a first figure you've done a good job. Following all the advices you've got here continue with learning by doing will increase your skills. Keep on painting!
    Regards
    Lonewolf

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  31. I can see highlighting, shading, a good palette of colours ... and seems all to be inside the lines - super piece, starter or not !!! Did you use any washes?

    Check my 'pinning' label, if you want the second to be sturdy, super glue is OK for a display piece.

    Great work - now onto the next one :)

    CS

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  32. Considering how small she is, I think you did a marvellous job! She looks good and the colours you chose are great! I know what you mean about only seeing the mistakes, I'm super critical of my work, too. I've only painted bisque ware ceramic figures. I like to paint them black first and then dry brush the colours on. If I make a mistake, I paint it black and start again. I once painted a wizard 7 times, because I wasn't happy with it! I gave it away 4 days later! Silly me!

    Hope you get to feeling much better soon. Much love. :)

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  33. I think it looks awesome! The different colours make her look vibrant and cool! Like a hero out of a fantasy novel! I think you did a great job!

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  34. I think you did a very good job for your first effort. I still have my first painted figures and they are bloody freakin' awful - I mean REALLY BAD. So bad that they're kind of charming in a horrific kind of way.

    I have not read all the previous comments so ignore me if its been covered: One technique you may want to try is to prime your figure black and then drybrush it with a liberal coating of light grey (enough so just the recesses and crannies retain the black undercoat). This way you will have the transition shadows built-in and the light grey will help with any brighter colours you decide to use. This system also works very well with semi-opaque colour glazes. It takes a bit of practice but it works the charm. If you check my blog in a few days I'll have some Napoleonic Portuguese infantry posted where I've used this technique.

    Keep it up and enjoy the process - it will all start to fall into place.

    Best,

    Curt

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  35. Anne, this figure doesn't look bad at all. Much better as the first figure I've painted. Only with practice and good advice of other figure painters my painting of figures became better. That's the only advice I can give you. And after some time you will create your own technique of painting figures. A technique that will give you satisfaction of the result.
    Looking forward to the next one ;-)

    Greetings
    Peter
    http://peterscave.blogspot.com

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  36. Wow! I can't believe I missed this one, or at least didn't comment, back when you posted it a year ago.

    You clearly had a talent for painting miniatures even then and your work now is even better.

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