Monday, April 16, 2012

Dark Sword Miniature By A Novice Painter

This is only the third figure I have ever painted and this time I can say I am proud of the results. She is a Female Archer from Dark Sword Miniatures and she was the first and only free swag I've gotten.


The biggest improvement I made was in the highlighting. I was able to be more subtle because I used multiple layers of graduated color until I hit the points that I wanted highlighted.  I did the boots so that they would look dusty and worn and got what I think are effective highlights done.  The cloak, my biggest bugaboo is also much better, more subtle due to finding mid-range colors between the base coat and the highest points. This is also a pretty good shot of the face.



No, the highlights aren't perfect on the back of the cloak, but when compared to the last figure I did, this shows improvement. I was also able to do some dry brushing on the hair to give it highlights and a sense of movement.


The shading on the tunic is better than the last one and while not perfect is pretty good considering that this is only the third figure I've ever painted. You can also see that there are graduated colors and shading on the face. I also gave her blush and lipstick (shut-up, I'm a girl).


On the last miniature you all requested a close-up of the face. The highlighting I did is visible in this shot as are the eyes. I didn't use any washes, but hand painted in the detail on the eyes, using a dark blue.

So all in all, for my third figure, I'm quite proud of her. Now it's up to you to tell me what I can do better next time.

Most of the people that follow this blog do not follow gaming or painting blogs, and are missing out on some fantastic art and some very interesting people.  I've been following The Laughing Ferret for a long time and it's not just because he's a top-notch painter. This guy has a razor sharp wit and is freakishly intelligent. If there's a topic he's not well-versed in, I haven't found it yet.  He's participating in the A-Z challenge and this would be a good time to get to know who this guy is.

You can find all the gamers and painters that I follow in my blogroll. They are all gifted and knowledgeable about the historical era that they work in.  Take a minute and visit a few of them so you can appreciate the level of skill involved in painting figures.

And we all know a blogger's cache is largely dependent on numbers. If you think your blog is getting good numbers cruise around and see the business these guys are doing. They can do more pageviews in a day than most of us do in a week.  This is a vibrant and robust segment of the blogosphere and they are supportive of each others work.

I need help with something. I've got a fully armored knight to paint and I'm looking for a good tutorial on how to paint armor. If any of you know of one, please let me know as I'd appreciate it.

I'll be in and out for the rest of the day because it's nice outside and after painting this figure, I'm going to need to beat my drums into submission.

77 comments:

  1. Ohh, I love that you put lipstick and blush on her! Just b/c she's archer don't mean she don't want to be touched up :)

    You did a great job! You're so talented. It's amazing all the details you do, including the great highlighting in the hair.

    P.S. I'm loving her boots!! She rocks them well!

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    1. She's a girl so I made her look like a girl. I like her blush and lipstick, pretty pink. And I'd kill for those boots!!

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  2. Awesome job Anne, you are seriously getting more and more better at this, great work.

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  3. Very impressive work, especially on such a nice figure. The face is very well done.

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  4. Hello Anne. Yes of sure you can be proud of your third figure. You've made great steps foreward in painting. What you can add is a bowstring to the bow. For this you can use a hair of a brush or someting like that. Oh and the face of the figure looks great. On the pictures the figure looks a bit glossy. Did you paint at last a matt varnish over the figure? Keep on your good work!
    Regards
    Bruno

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    1. It's way too shiny. I ordered a gloss when I should have ordered a satin or a matte. That's a great idea for the bowstring. I didn't even think about the absence of one until you mentioned it. I did the face according to Kris's tutorials and I finally got some of his advice right. Thank You!

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  5. A very nice figure Anne, Is this a self portrait figure??
    This is how I paint armour, undercoat the figure black, then dry brush gun metal grey, quite heavily, then dry brush again a Natural steel silver, then highlight the raised areas with silver. Some people give the armour a wash a blue ink, just to raise the colour again. Try that!

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    1. It looks like I'm going to have to go shopping again as I don't have any black priner. I have both silvers already and I wondered about using blue as I've seen other people do it. Thank you Ray!!

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  6. You are coming a long quite nicely Anne! The face in particular really stands out on this one and the hair is looking quite nice. Agree the cloak is looking much better. Cloaks are kind of a love hate relationship amongst painters. What I would like to see is some better separation between the skin and the cloth. Really go deep with the skin shadow there and then leave it as a line as you bring your skin highlights up. More work on the belts, pouches and quiver to. Don't be afraid to really go with a lot of contrast between your high points and low points on small items like that. There isn't a lot of room to get layers in there so high contrast will really help them pop.

    I agree with Ray's method of painting armor, although I wouldn't drybrush the metal on for a display type mini. Thin controlled build up of the metal will leave a smoother surface. Drybrushing tends to leave a bit of texture on the surface which is great on some things but not so good on plate style armor. Works great on chainmail though.

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    1. I was afraid to start to dark with the face. I should have started with the sunbunt skin instead of the suntanned skin. I know what you mean about the darker color between the skin and the surroundings. I do that with a painting and I should apply the same idea here. It's just harder!

      I was a bit afraid to do too much with the belt, pouch and quiver because my hand isn't quite steady enough to get clean lines yet and I thought I'd ruin her. I'll do that next time.

      The two armored figures I've got have both chin mail and plate armor. I'm very intimidated by these two figures and am almost afraid to even begin them, lest I get discouraged. I imagine they will end up on pine sol at least once along the way>

      Thank you Kris, you've been a great help to me all along the way.

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    2. Don't worry to much about the armor, in the end its easier to paint than just about anything else! When I look at pictures from some of the big historical shows like MMSI in Chicago, I'm totally blown away with what those guys achieve on the large figures (54mm and up, way up like 1/6th scale). Apparently the reverse is also true, they can't believe the amount of detail we pack into a 28mm miniature. Its just a matter of perspective, if you can do it on your paintings you will be able to do it on a miniature. Just take a piece of paper and practice painting lines on it, getting narrower and narrower as you go. You can also use a very controlled wash in those separation zones. You are coming along really well.

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    3. Oh and one more thing this morning. The best bow strings are made from very fine copper wire that is used to make electromagnets. A spool of this stuff will last a lifetime. Its much easier to deal with than just about anything else.

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    4. Where do I buy that and how do I attach it?

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  7. If feathers on the crown could weigh enough to knock down the person,it can only happen in hour case. Oh Annie, you are more versatile than Barbie- the only other blonde I know who can handle all the professions available in the world. Today I reiterate, I had totally insulted you by calling you just "great" :)
    That figurine just looks perfect. I love the color combination and how who made boobies pop out and cape and boots pretty cute. You had done a pretty good job for third job. You are the only person who deserves to strut like a peacock , without any place of false vanity but with all true pride and raw talent.
    And to all who blame you,
    "Irish air is an oracle, ask right questions and get right answers and follow the path to enlightenment."

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    1. Thank you! That was nice what the cat did today. I like this figure and she was a lot of fun to do. It's the last female I have. Next I either have to try one of the men or one of the critters I have. Those pieces are going to be much harder.

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  8. The only thing I would really say is that the figure is too glossy for my tastes. I'm not sure if it's the paint or your sealer spray; although, I suspect it's the sealer. Some people prefer high gloss minis, but I'm not one of them.

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    1. I agree with you, the shine is way too high and I didn't really think many of you would like that part. I'm pretty broke right now after having gone home and can't afford to buy anything right now. Until I get some money ahead, I'm stuck with the high gloss. Thank you for your input!

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  9. Wow improvement. I noticed the blush right away. Yes you are a girl. It must be nice to notice yourself getting better!

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    1. I got a real high off of doing this one and I almost didn't want to stop painting her because it was so much fun. I'm completely hooked now.

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  10. Oooh, isn't she a perky one :) Yep, the lipstick is a nice touch, the blush not so much :) since it's a bit too dramatic, but I love the work you did on the cape, dahling! Good job! Now go out, your flowers need you in the garden and the drums are weeping after you :)

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    1. I just came in from the yard. I work until the sunsets and sometimes by torchlight after it gets dark. It rained and I have new flowers coming into full bloom. When the prettiest ones open up, I'll email you some pictures.

      I know the blush is a bit too much. I was afraid to tone it down because I had the face otherwise pretty much where I wanted it. Anytime I brink the brush near the figure I risk getting paint somewhere I don't want it.

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  11. Anne , really well done , a great effort. I can see real improvement - - lippy & blusher... LOL.

    For armour I take it you want to do a range of shiny metals not coloured armour? Ray's advise is a decent start... think about the direction of the light hitting the figure and where the polished highlight will be. fora top highlight mix a little white in with the silver colour to give brightness. I have sme guys with chainmail coming up shortly..

    How you use varnish can also really help - sometimes i varnish a figure and then add highlights after -

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    1. Yes, I want to do traditional shiny metals, not colored armor. These pieces wouldn't look right with colored metal. These two pieces are intimidating. Much harder I think than doing clothes, I'll take the figure outside and note where the sun hits the figure, diagram it and then go from there. If I don't diagram it, I'll forget it when I go to paint.

      I look forward to seeing your chainmail figures. Thank you so much!

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  12. Great work for your third mini, although I have not done mini's yet..but still a painter regardless...think you did good work here.

    1 thing I could suggest in your next venture is to build up you paint coat in thin layer's, so as to have a little more evenness/smoother out come.

    7 out of 10 by me.

    kriz
    :)

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    1. The thinness or thickness of the paint is giving me problems. I still haven't found a happy medium. Last time I did too many thin layers and not enough of a range. I'm hoping to balance out the two mistakes on the next one and hit the right balance. And getting the highlights bright and not too bright still present a challenge to me. Thank you!!

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  13. very very nice!!!
    I like the face: impressive !
    You improve too fast! I'm jealous!

    Like some other said: don't like the glossy finish... but it's your choice so I respect it!

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    1. Thank you for the compliment. I'll buy both a semi gloss and a matte when I can afford it and try each one. You guys are all correct, the gloss is way too high.
      One day I hope to be as good as the people who inspire me and I've got a ways to go to catch up with you guys.

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  14. Really good effort Anne. I'm impressed that you have painted the eyes! Even on a 28mm figure I struggle with the eyes and tend to ignore them.

    Ray's advice re painting armour is a good start, although if you are painting any areas of chainmail as opposed to plate armour then the chainmail will benefit from the dry brush more than plate armour which would normally be a flatter area to paint and without as much detail to pick out with the dry brush. That's where using a wash on the plate armour will be better, usually blue but nothing to stop you using other colours as a wash

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    1. I used a 7 brush and had it close to dry, but not quite to do the eyes and I used blue because Kris said the black would be too harsh. I think he was right, the blue looks more natural.

      I've noticed a blue in most of the armored figures I've looked at and wasn't sure at what step to introduce it. It's going to be tough to do the armor and I'm going to have to go bloghopping and sift through peoples posts and find pictures to study before I begin.

      Thank you!!

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  15. Well I can't help you with painting armour but I'm sure one of the chaps can, or has. The figure is looking really good but again I don't think I'm any judge. I didn't pick up on the imperfections of the last ones.

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    1. The imperfections are there and on the last two the things my eye went to first. Not so much with this one. They're there, just not as horribly noticeable.

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  16. I think you did an excellent job on this mini, Anne. I am really struck by how well the boots came out, especially. If you can get hold of some Testor's Dullcote spray, you'll see a big reduction of the glossiness. You are really coming along well on your painting. Now we just have to get you gaming. You should try Song of Blades and Heroes from Ganesha Games, you can get the pf off Lulu for $5 still. http://www.lulu.com/shop/andrea-sfiligoi/song-of-blades-and-heroes/ebook/product-18602026.html
    Maybe play a game with your daughter and husband. Really quick and easy to play and great fun.

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    1. I would love to play a game and it's getting to the point where it's almost hard for me to read the batreps because I know I'll never be able to find a group of people to play with. The Hubby won't play games, I've already asked him and my daughter isn't really interested. So I'm on my own. The best I can hope for is to one day build some scenery, put my figures in it and then play make-believe on my own with them.

      Thank you Joe, I appreciate the encouragement!

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  17. I adore her! Three things stand out for me. Her boobies are awesome, Anne! I'm actually being serious here..not sure if you did some kind of shadowing on them or it's the angle of the picture? But, they look great. Secondly, I love the detail in the cape, especially the yellow at the bottom (reminded me of Catti Brie for some reason; yes I went there) and lastly, your courage for sharing your pieces with us again. Kudos for you on another job well done. You Rock Anne!!!! xoxoxo

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    1. I did three shades of skin tone to get the boobies to pop!! These figures are built mostly by men for men and the boobies tend to be rathe...shall we say large. Catti Brie, you can go there. I need to find a Drizt to do. There are dark elf figures out there. Then I need Bruenor. Oh God the money!!

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    2. Dibs! I call dibs! Can I even do that on something you paint? Sure, why not. I call dibs on both of them, but really, I just want my all time favorite dwarf, Bruenor! I don't care what Salvatore did, since I refused to finish reading the book, my dwarf is alive and well, thank you very much! LOL

      Plus, I have a Drizzt mini (pre painted) of course. Like I have the patience or talent you possess =)

      Wow, three shades on her boobies...poor chick, it was like a surgical procedure for her. And, of course the men make the boobies big! That's what we all have, right? LOL

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  18. I think she looks great the more you do the better you will get but she is rocking anyway I liked that she has lippy on like a true warrior...........

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    1. I had to do the lips, it would have felt wrong not to. Like she wasn't dressed without it. She's a woman and I wanted her to look like one.

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  19. BTW...Ann would you mind showcasing this and your other's at my new gallery website when you get a chance...would be an honor to me..

    :)

    Kriz.

    http://paintedhobbies.com/dolph/index.php

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    1. Thank you Kriz. I'd love to! Let me do some better edits and give me a day or two and I'll do it!!

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  20. I'm a fan of all things boob. And you made those tits look good! I'd say this one turned out pretty good. And only your third one! You're getting better in a fast way!

    However, I do need to criticize on one thing. That is the glossy finish. I think the shiny finish masks some of the detail. Other than that, you did a fantastic job!

    Keep up the good work!

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    1. The high gloss is way too much and I knew that as soon as I used it on the first one, but I spent money on new figures instead of buying new gloss and now the Hubby has closed the purse strings. So I'm stuck using what I have on hand right now.

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  21. Hey she almost looks like you lol

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    1. Actually the last one looked very much like me. She's the one I'll pretend is me when I play make-believe with my figures.

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  22. Awesome job, of course I liked them all. But the cat has no taste I guess or too much, maybe it's all the butt cleaning..lol....now if robin hood looked like her the rich would just give up all their dough, would have been so much easier..haha

    And yeah I see the numbers a few of the gamers pull in, it's insane, only one that beats them is the friggin penguin man that I have seen. Well besides the spammers and such.

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    1. LOL even the gamers don't have a game on the Penguin Man :)) You should just surrender, Cat, really, there's no point of you avoiding becoming a minion to Alliance.. we rule the numbers, we rule the space, and the air will be ours sooner or later...

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    2. Well if it's polluted air, I'll gladly let you have that. And the cat will never ever surrender, he still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve or umm fur.

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  23. That's pretty bad ass, Anne! Must take a really steady hand to get all of the details right.

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  24. She's looking good Anne. Looks like you've got the basics down, just a matter now of lots of practice and experimenting to add steps of improvement as you go.

    Going with darker levels of the color of an area to go between the area & different ones will add a lot, such as on the belt: If you paint the belt a much darker brown than you want first, then use a lighter brown to paint the belt again, but only about 95% of it, in the middle, leaving the darker brown as an edge, it will create a natural shading. Face is looking good! not easy to get details like make up at this scale. If in movies cave women have shaved legs & make up, I don't see any reason a fantasy-medieval era ranger woman can't!

    I can't think of any metallic armor tutorials off my head, but here is a link to some full-plate knights I did:
    http://s206.photobucket.com/albums/bb16/LaughingFerretStudio/Warmachine/?action=view&current=032.jpg
    that's one picture of 3 that are in that folder, I have to update the photobucket for the stuff I've done in the last couple months, but that is my storage for most of what i have painted.

    Anyway, most people will tell you that iron metal needs a black undercoat: it doesn't! it can be done from black or white, both work great. My preference tends to be white actually, but black works too. A lot of paint sets come in a 'triad' system: dark, mid & light tone. What I think works well for large areas of iron or steel like plate mail armor, is to use the middle tone metallic to cover all the area that is metal. If starting from a black undercoat, do this a second or third time (thin layers) since it needs better coverage. If from black you can also paint the plates more carefully, leaving black lines between plates for shadows, if from white, you won't want to do this.

    After you have a good base of the mid tone metal, give a thin wash of the darker metal color. let that dry completely. then do a 'tonal' wash: if you want gritty, earthy, well-used armor, I'd suggest a brown. if you want something elven or magical, maybe a very very thin blue... want something ancient but not beaten, try making a wash from metallic bronze or a sepia wash... creepy undead, evil might try a bit of green. once you've chosen the color, water the wash down a bit first, then apply it over all the metal. then time to darken it: a bit of black wash, or 'armor wash' from Privateer Press's 'P3' line works nicely. thin it, and 'drop' the wash where you want... instead of slathering it over the whole thing, just apply it in the areas where there are creases and shadows in the metal. then time to brighten it up. use the medium metallic again to paint the edges and highpoints, and the lightest metallic color on the upper edges of that.

    For chainmail you can get a nice effect without drybrushing if you like: just use the black wash heavy over the chainmail areas, then when it's dry, just gently brush the high points with the medium metallic color.

    Sounds like you're a bit apprehensive about the armor, but I think you'll find it is actually a lot easier than what you've been doing so far. metals are very forgiving.

    And thanks for the mention of my blog! Very kind of you :) I have some work cut out for me to live up to that intro ;)

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    1. Thank you for all the advice here. I'll definitely go look at your pictures. Yes the armored figures do intimidate me. I have one in partial armor so I'm going to do him first. I want the metal to be clean and shiny, not rough on these two as I have an idea of how the finished pieces should look. I'd like to put that hint of blue in the armor as I've seen that done and like the effect. Steel naturally has a bit of blue to it and I like that.

      Thank you!

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  25. anne, your figure rocks...and you are def improving...the last one is the one you pretend is you, hmm i need to go back and look at that one again cause i was going to say this def looked like you...

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    1. The other one has more of my actual features to it. My face is much simpler looking than this one. Thank you!!

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  26. It looks really good - as compared to my nonexistent figures anyway.

    What happened to the uber-awesome old theme though? That was frickin' mean!

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    1. It's Spring now. All light and beauty, so I changed it. Thank you!

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  27. Not bad at all, Anne!
    Go go go for the Knight!
    (Again, I can't help you this topic. I'm all tanks, stell-helmets and guns ;) )

    Cheers, Mojo

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    1. It's either the knights or the critters and both are going to be hard.

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  28. That's good work Anne, great improvement every time and Laughing Ferret has steered you in the right direction!

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    1. I'm going to have to get my courage up and face painting the knights or the critters. I feel like I'm in a bit over my head with both of them. But if I don't start, I'll never finish.

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  29. This looks really good, much better than I could do. I'll stick with MSPaint over real paint. Can't wait to see the next one! And hey, no apologies for applying makeup, she just likes to make herself look good while kicking ass. Nothing wrong with that.

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    1. It's actually nice to have the brush in hand and "feel" the paint. I like doing both. I like the make-up too.

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  30. Looks fantastic! Looks like your improving amazingly! (also your camera skills at taking pictures of your minis is fantastic as always! other bloggers should send you there minis to take pictures of!)

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  31. Very very nice painting Anne. Cool blog too.

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  32. No great warrior should be expected to head into battle without her makeup.

    She look fabulous!!

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  33. Something else is not.... but I guess that's to express her womanhood. I'm glad you, unlike someone else we know, didn't photoshop anything..... (or did you?) ;)

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  34. Very good paintjob, for a third mini you can be proud! :D

    If I can, try "Blacklining" the various area. Add a tiny line of black (or other dark colour) where area meet, you should see an improvement :D

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  35. Anne, you're getting better and better. That she is to glossy is already mentioned, but that face is just very well done. The eyes are beautifull done, and by coloring the lips and cheeks you gave her a real female look! Keep on the good work.

    About the armor, I can tell you this. I paint the armor pieces silver and go over it with a black wash. It will become matt, so if you want some parts to be highlighted, just drybrush it with silver again. You can find some examples under the label medieval europe on my blog.

    Greetings
    Peter
    http://peterscave.blogspot.com/

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