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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

W.I.P. Painting Freehand

I'm new to this but have already learned that no matter which figure I paint, thousands of people have painted that figure before me.  The question then becomes how do I make the figure I paint "mine"

In an effort to do that and to push myself to a new level as a painter, I have begun to experiment with free-hand painting onto my figures.


This is a 25mm Strumpet from Hasslefree Miniatures.  I've begun to do some free-hand scroll work on her skirt.


I've run the scroll work in a slope along the sides and down to the hem.


And I've run some down the side slit of the skirt.  There are several problems with what I've done. The lines are not "clean" enough, which shows lack of brush control. Further, the work looks "flat" because I have not put any highlights or low lights into the scrolls to give them depth.


This gent is from Foundry Miniatures. He's 25mm and is from the Victoriana Country Folk collection.  I'm trying to free-hand a plaid pattern onto his waistcoat, but I'm missing something.  I've attempted to give it depth, but it is "off" somehow. I've looked at it so much I've lost perspective. If any of you have any ideas on how to improve this, please feel free to give me some ideas.

My comments may be moderated on and off throughout the day as I've had some problems with a pernicious troll. I will not discuss the troll in the comment section of my post. Let's focus on the mini's and let the troll fester.

96 comments:

  1. I think they both look great to be honest much better than my own free hand stuff very neat. I think with the plaid pattern it needs highlighting round the edge of each square.

    I had a go on my recent Empire of the Dead Gents. I can't find the tutorial for it now mind

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    1. Thank you Brummie. These are only number 2 and number 3 of my free hand excursion and it is something that will improve with time. I know how it should look, I just need to figure out how to make it look that way.

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  2. Freehand painting like that scares me to death and you've definitely got a knack for it, you can see that already. Looks good so far!

    Michael from 28mm Victorian Warfare is the master of tartan, stripes, etc – did you see the stripes he painted on Ryles trousers for our charity project?!

    I've seen his 28mm stuff in person and his freehand painting holds up well – he's the man to ask!

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    1. I did see the stripes he painted on Ryles trousers and don't think I won't hit him up for advice!

      I saw the vid you did and I must say that was wonderful what you did. It's so exciting to see what you've turned this into. Those manufacturers helping out-it's just the best. Such great people in this community.

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    2. Now stop it Mike, you'll make me blush! ;)

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    3. Hi Anne, for what it's worth I think you are already doing a fantastic job. As we've talked about already your freehand work is what will set your miniatures apart from the many other out there. When I think about adding a bit of freehand the first thing I consider is where and how? Less is often more as it means there are less opportunities for me to stuff it up! Mr Ferret's approach of shading first and then adding scrolls on top is definitely a winner. With stripes, simple vertical lines of colour can again be given highlights on the raised creases. Tamsin's WI magazine is a great call check out:

      http://www.wargamesillustrated.net/Default.aspx?tabid=309&art_id=3299

      On a personal not I showed The Saintly Mrs Awdry the proposed miniature; there was an appreciative nod and a 'that works' response! I think you have a new fan!!!

      All the best,

      Michael

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    4. I want to paint some vertical stripes on a pair of pants like you did, but the creases are defeating me. The stripe will "move" with the crease and I may not be ready for that yet. I'll try that on a future mini.

      Thanks for the link to that issue, that will come in very handy.

      I'm so glad she like it because I already bought it!! She should be here this week as part of my Mountain of Lead! Now that I know SMA has blonde hair, I'll know how to paint her. Tell her I said thank you!!

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    5. With Ryle's stripes I decided on what colours I wanted and then found a tone on either side. First a black undercoat then the dark shade of the first colour. I left a bit of the undercoat showing between the stripes, it just seems to make the whole effect 'ping'. The most important middle colour goes on and then a final 'dab' of highlight on the creases. I know you can do it!

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    6. Part of the problem I had with mine was that the slacks really weren't suited to a striping effect. I did the back very tentatively and it looked horrid, so I covered it up. It's not on this figure, but on another one I'm working on. It's going to be one of those things that I need to pick the right figure for and know that it's going to have to be stripped a few times before I get it right.

      And now I know I did it wrong because I was using a different color in a lighter shade. Next time I'll use your approach. It makes so much more sense

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  3. I'm not one hundred percent sure in the difference between freehand painting and other painting but I really love the Strumpet Anne, she looks good and definitely has the air of a figure that's most certainly yours. I remembered recently that my father actually used to love painting models too although his were mostly aeroplanes or cars, something that took a considerable less amount of skill than what you've been painting so expertly.

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  4. Freehand is when you paint a design onto a figure where there is blank space. Like you would paint onto a piece of paper. It takes a good bit of talent to build and paint those planes and cars. You should see some of the things the guys around here do with them.

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  5. Well tis true that you mustn't feed the trolls. Oooh mustn't is an actual word. Anyway, that is a good way to make a figure yours. Don't be too put down by what you perceive as wrong. Well, I know you won't anyway, you'll see it as something to improve for next time.

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    1. We have some things in common don't we Mark.

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  6. Looks good- most people won't attempt freehand so you're already better than most ;)
    For doing patterns and still having depth, I will paint the solid color and do all the shading and highlighting as normal, then go back and do the pattern, that way there is sure to be the highlights and shadows. for deep fabric creases it works well to do them extra dark and don't bother trying to paint the pattern in the crease- it'd be lost from sight anyway, and painting it will 'flatten' what the eye sees.

    For something like the plaid you have,I find giving a darker line border to the stripes helps a lot. just paint the stripe with a darker shade of the color you want, then paint a thinner line inside it with the color you want it to be. don't paint across the intersections- leave that the dark color, and can even give that intersection a brighter color- might not be technically accurate for a lot of plaids but I think it gives the 'impression' of it, with being easy and fast to do. Like these guys:
    http://laughingferret.blogspot.com/2011/10/tossing-around-ol-haggis-scotlings-from.html
    that pattern didn't take very long to do.

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    1. Nothing left to say... That covers it all :)
      The praise, the advice, all in. I could only repeat it :)

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    2. Thank you Ferret. I went to your page and I understand now what you're
      talking about. Those highlanders are some neat figures and I can use what you've painted as a guide. I haven't gone so far that I can't fix it up, so that's good. You are going to paint your dwarfs up before me aren't you.


      @Mojo-thank you.

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    3. Nice work. this is a brave step forward in elevating your figure painting skill. I spent @ 38 yrs. as a commercial/residential painter. My mentors used a phrase in their tutoring me in the ways of proper paint application which was "what is pleasing to the eye." I brought the rules of "painting" to my modeling, and work to please the eye of the beholder. What you "feel" as the artist/creator in you, do it. Intuitive knowledge should lead you to new and exciting painting effects. It's only paint, and can be removed or altered as you strive to reach your perceived end. Practice makes perfect! You are doing just fine in my book.

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    4. You might get to your dwarves before I do. My client with the Genesteeler Cult finally decided he does want to expand it, and determined what specifically he wants (a lot of vehicles), so I have a huge conversion project coming up that is going to demand a lot of time. I hope they won't wait as long as the whole army of (unpainted) dwarves I have ;)

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    5. It will be a while for me as well. I'm going to use mine in the next story after this one. I'm buying up figures for that right now. Orcs, goblins, elfs, humans. I have not idea what it will be about, but I'll come up with something.

      Congrats on the commission work!

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    6. @Jay-I understand what you're saying and it's good advice. And that's what I've been operating on-gut instinct. I don't have anything else to go on because I work in isolation. And in the case of the free hand, my gut is saying "It needs improment!

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  7. Hola Amiga
    Se ven muy bien las minis,en especial para my gusto el rojo y los dibujos del bestido.
    UN Saludo

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  8. My comments will now be moderated. I'll be back in a few hours.

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    1. hope the troll doesn't return, Anne, if he does we shall report him to Blogger because we know his identity and will reveal to all of the blogosphere, especially since it is one of the well known bloggers!

      PS maybe you need to add shading usually with a lighter shade of the same colour, to give it a 3D look. You might Google 3D looking tattoos because that might give you some points and directions. I think tattoo people use the same techniques.

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    2. The idiot came to my page for over 11 hours yesterday. Which gave me plenty of time to download some sophisticated tracking software. He's not very tech savvy as he thinks that if he comes at my page with Google search I can't pinpoint him. He's an amateur. If the man pisses, I'll know about it. He's giving Canada a bad name. And he's here reading my page right now.

      Hello to you at Vancouver Canada troll. If he doesn't quit, I'm going to blogger admin and after that I'll put him in my Troll of Fame. The arsemonkey should have read my effin blog before he trolled on me. A good public shaming is what he needs. I hope he likes his new avi as it's a picture of a priest buggering a goat.

      Troll you might want to take a look at my posts titled Welcome to the Troll of Fame.

      I did think of going to a tattoo page and then I forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me.



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    3. I'm just shocked, since we now know the troll's identity, that a person of that profession (if that's his real profession) would do these horrid things :( Maybe we should also inform the Prada clad Pope in Vatican?

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    4. My Aunt Bridie just got home from meeting the Pope. She had an audience with him. Big deal for my family. We feel like we all just got a "Get out of Hell free" card. My Cousin Margie arranged it, so maybe she has some kind of "in" with the Church. It's a smashing idea though to tell his superiors what he gets up to in his free time!!

      As soon as the troll saw our comments he buggered right off.

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    5. you mean for real or you're just joking that Bridie is palls with the Prada clad Pope? :)
      Pope still awaits the invitation to visit Serbia. we're the only Orthodox country he never was invited to :) That's because Vatican supported the Nazi government in Croatia which slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Serbs during the WW2 in the infamous Jasenovac camp.

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    6. I'm not joking. She met with the Pope and it's a huge deal for my family. I know the horrors the Church has visited upon humanity and about all the art they hoard in their vaults. But darling, I'm Catholic and for me being from my generation it's also a political identity. I was born Catholic and I will die Catholic.

      The Hubby hates the Church and has tried for 25 years to get me to leave it, but I never will. I refuse to.

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    7. ooh, I love your hubs after this even more :) I might break up yours and mine IrishSerbian alliance and form a ChurchHating Squad with your hubs :PPPP

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    8. Does Pat have a hand on this one? We know that Pat could go any length, remember that tinfoil stalker guy? ohh...Ann...ohh...Ann.... :)

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  9. That's great work Anne. For the scrollwork, maybe some point highlights would help give it depth? If you are going to do a lot of freehand work of that type, it might be worth investing in a technical pen and some acrylic inks.

    For textured and patterned material, there's a great article in Wargames Illustrated issue 298 if you can get hold of a copy.

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    1. I had though about using inks but don't have any. I did just order a blue ink and will have to shop around for some other colors. I'll need golds and silvers though.

      I'll have to search online for Wargames Illustrated as I don't live anywhere near a gaming supply store.

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  10. Its a great start on freehand Anne. I think that you could fix the plaid pretty quick by painting a darker dot at the intersection of each of the green lines. I wouldn't add any shade to the dress' freehand but I would go in and add a highlight that should be enough to keep it from looking so flat. In six months you are going to be better than all of us.

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    1. The flat look is what's bothering me and you know how it is after you've looked at your own work for hours and hours. I cease to be able to see obvious things. Getting input from people is like having a copy editor to find your mistakes when writing. I'll do some small highlights on it to bring it up.

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  11. I like the detail on the strumpit, your being to hard on yourself for sure. If I get time I will scan an article I have on tartan etc and e-mail it to you. Probably be later in the week as I have a game to prepare for (i.e. read the rules!)

    Ian

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    1. If I'm not really critical of myself, I'll become complacent and never improve. I know for a beginner it's good, but there's a level that I'm shooting for and I can't accept less than that from myself. I'm a long ways to go yet.

      I'd really appreciate the article on the tartan as I've seen some Highlander figures out there that I'd like to do one day.

      Have fun at your game and don't wear yourself out too much!

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  12. Why does the lady figure have to be called "The Strumpet?" The world of the miniatures is subversively sexist. Your freehand painting is great! I'm glad I read the other comments where you explained that because I wasn't too sure what the freehand part was. The design is really cool. Well done.

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    1. There is a whole collection of strumpets out there. Some manufacturers call them Ladies of the Night. Yeah it is sexist. I really want to get a proper figure of a mounted female military figure. Something serious and noble. I doubt if I can find one. It's all about the boobs.

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    2. Here's a nice one, a Joan of Arc..
      http://www.perry-miniatures.com/product_info.php?products_id=1485

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  13. Nice start on the freehand...been thinking about taking a dip in the waters with free hand panting also...

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    1. You should styx. It's frustrating but I've seen some advanced work that is stellar.

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  14. I love the scroll work. I think it looks really good, Anne. I love the design and how it swirls. I don't think they look flat at all. I think the same holds true for the jacket.

    I hate seeing your page on moderation - just say the word. *wink, wink* Who loves ya baby?

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    1. Thank you my warrior Elf Princess. The page won't stay on moderation for long and if it is needed, I'll marshal the troops! He'll be sleeping with the fishes before he knows what hit him.

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  15. Good work as far as I can see Anne. xo

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    1. Where have you been Bama. I've missed you xoxo.

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  16. Moderating a troll? Did your troll turn on you? You know you have to feed them right and pay them a toll too. If you don't they can get rather upset. hahaha

    You really have a knack for free hand. I can't see anything wrong with the second one, looked and looked, and it looks fine the this feline. The first looks great too. I'd screw up tracing it for frig sakes hahaha

    But then you know if anything was wrong, the cat wouldn't tell you anyway. He take more delight in watching you suffer hahahaha

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    1. No my pet troll Guido is loyal to the death. He's already sniffed this fecker out and we've bagged him and tagged him. Only thing left to do is mount his head on a pike and put him in my Troll of Fame. This fecker will be fed on flies just like the rest of the trolls in my collection. Jesus this gobshite doesn't even know the basics of how Clan O'Leary works. He needs to Google Michael-if that doesn't scare the shite out of him, I don't know what will. Jesus, Mick is suing Aer Lingus. No one ever screws an O'Leary and gets away with it.

      Thanks for the compliment Cat, I'll pretend I didn't see it. Now feck off!!

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    2. Damn that troll really didn't know what he was in for when he messed with you. hahaha

      That was quite the rude send off too, the cat loves it though and will send you a pringle can for it!

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  17. They look fantastic Anne. Free hand work is not easy and I think you are doing an awesome job there.

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  18. Very technical stuff Anne, well done!!!

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    1. Thank you Ray. Hey when are you going to post again. You're slacking off!!

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  19. I have no painting tips for you, sis, since that's not my milieu, but I'm enjoying having the opportunity to see your work. Sent you an email :-).

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    1. Thank you sis. I'll check my email later today. I'm waiting to see if my new kitty Fang is going to make me a grandma before I turn 50!

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  20. I quite like your strumpet's scrollwork!

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  21. They look fantastic! I like the free hand, and if your worried it doesn't look the best, then remember: Practice makes Perfect! I think the last figure does have depth to it, remember sometimes you need to step back from something and come back to it days later after you've forgetten all about it! I can't wait to see more!

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  22. They look fantastic! I like the free hand, and if your worried it doesn't look the best, then remember: Practice makes Perfect! I think the last figure does have depth to it, remember sometimes you need to step back from something and come back to it days later after you've forgetten all about it! I can't wait to see more!

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    1. So you decided not to dot dot dot me today. A wise choice indeed my Evil Nemesis. You're officially out of the dog house!!

      That's my problem, my head is so up into it, I've lost perspective. After today I'm taking a whole day off painting and that should help.

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    2. Oh it will help! And it will make it extra nice when you come back to it!... I was in a dog house?

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  23. The scroll work itself looks pretty good, but, yes, you need to work on the skirt some more.

    As for the plaid... plaid is so hard. Remember those Confederates I told you about? Well, the same guy had me paint a unit of guys in kilts at one point, and he wanted plaid, of course. Now, these were 12mm minis. The real secret to plaid is that you need more than 2 colors, and, at that time (probably still, now), I couldn't do more than 2 colors, especially on a 12mm figure. He got a green/red plaid, but he was happy with it, so, I guess, that's all that matters. Anyway, all of that to say that if you want your plaid to really look plaid, it needs a third color. Beyond that, I can be of no help. I haven't tried to anything like that since I painted that Scottish unit.

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    1. Thank you for your honesty Andrew. After reading your article today, you better not blow smoke up my skirt!!

      15mm is going to be hard enough, I'm not even ready to think about 12mm. I could add a blue to this then. The stripes are small on here, so we'll see what I can do.

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    2. Well, I would never blow smoke.
      I will say again, though, that you are a much better painter than some people I (used to) know that had been painting for years and years. Of course, that's why they used to pay me whenever they had a fig that they wanted to look especially good.
      That's also why I have so few of my own painted figures.

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    3. I doubt anyone will ever pay me. I don't know enough about all the games the figures go with and with military, I'm clueless.

      I'm telling you Andrew, when you get that garage cleaned out you need to set up your painting station. And this time, keep some of your own figures!

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    4. Well, I don't paint for money anymore; I moved away from that crowd, and i haven't gone looking for another one.
      I'll get some pics done of my one elf patrol I did way back when. I'm still quite proud of them even though I painted them 20 years ago.
      Did I point you at my Eldar unit I did a few years ago (before me moved and I lost my painting area)?

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  24. for me it's a very good free-hand painting work!
    just agree with Ferret: paint them after all the work of shading and highlighting!
    I've made the same errors!
    Nevertheless, I'm not sure that I can do as good as you do!
    congrats Anne: it's a new step to the world of the Great Painters!

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    1. Thank you Pascal. Now I've seen plenty of your work and you're being too modest. I love the stuff you are doing with your friend and his diorama's. That's a brilliant collaboration.

      I always listen to the Ferret!!

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  25. Looks really good. I won´t say anything about the tartan..it´s a swine of a thing to do and LF has already covered it anyway, smae with the freehand pattern, except I´ll add backpainting. If you slip over a line, make one bit a bit thicker than the rest then just use a bit of the background colour, in this case the rose pink, and paint the mistake out. That´s how I did the stars on Robert de Vere
    Cheers
    paul

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    1. I see what you're saying. The darker color will bring the scroll work "up" from the dress. I'm going over to your blog next so I'll have a look at Robert.

      Thank you Paul

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    2. Nope...it wont bring the scroll work out, it´s difficult to explainn. I painted the stars on Robert as follows;
      1. Painted the red background
      2. painted the star in black on top. If it looked a bit out of shape, I painted it back into shape with the red, sort of erased the mistake.
      3. Painted the white cross in the middle of the black..the difficult bit, as any mistake meant going back to black or even red and then repeating stages 2 and 3.
      A complete pain, as I found out that the stars were the wrong way up, so I had to do all 7 again!!! I really should pay more attention sometimes :-D
      The black lining does bring out colours..it makes them look stronger than they really are, they sort of "stand alone"
      With darker colours on lighter backgrounds it´s not necessary to use blacklining..in fact it looks a bit daft sometimes.
      With what you´ve chosen, the blue. I would either use a lighter blue on where the dress folds are higher or, mix a bit of gold or silver to the original blue and very lightly paint a bit on here and there on the pattern, especially on the tops of the folds.
      Cheers
      paul
      PS..did the E-mail get to you?

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    3. After I read your post I understood what you were talking about. I made a huge mistake the first time round on mine. I didn't know how to correct it, so I stripped the entire mini and started over again. It came out better the second time around. I'll try mixing in a bit of gold as I like the idea of giving it a little sheen at the high points.

      No, I didn't get an email and I checked my spam folder.

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  26. The plaid does look much more natural than the scroll though. I can see what you mean with the scroll, but the plaid looks pretty decent considering how hard it is to draw out at least, for me.

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    1. I'm glad you like it. I almost considered redoing the whole piece, but have decided that I have to stop at some point. I've been given some good advice today on how to make it better and by the end of the day, it'll be better.

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  27. oo free hand is not easy...and easy to mess up...the plaid needs more colors to give it depth to me...i rather like him though as a character and i think the plaid will work well once you get it...

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    1. A couple people have said that and I'm thinking about adding a blue to it. I've looked at some pics of other peoples work and will work on it.

      These Foundry figures are really neat. I'm buying more from them this week.

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  28. I think that they look fine but I know that when I do plaids I hight and shade the background colour and on the stripes/checks I do a dark shade down first and a lighter one top, work rather well.

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    1. I ran the lighter green underneath and couldn't figure out why that didn't look right. Now I know. Thank you PK.

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  29. That is quite amazing work work on her Anne, you have a steady hand woman and he reminds me of Colm Meaney!

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    1. Thank you Fran. I didn't think of that, but he does look like Colm. I'll make him a ginger then!

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  30. Free hand work, is where the artist in you will shine through, and an area I admit to struggle with!
    I have yet to attempt any kind of plaid though that is likely to change with my next project - my Gentleman's Club for Empire of the Dead...

    I feel what others have suggested is a good idea, paint the figure, and shades and highlights then add the scroll work, adding the subtlest highlights to it as you go...

    I have done stripy pants before (on my germanic Barbarians many years ago) and from what I recall just making it neat and tidy with sufficient contrast between the stripes does the trick enough.

    I used to do some freehand banners for my armies but these were always the bit of miniature painting I dreaded most, as I said before its about being an artist yet at a miniature scale. Painting the figures themselves is really just glorified 'painting by numbers' ...

    I guess it all comes with practice and seeing what works, with experience.
    Best of luck.
    Scott

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    1. I've got a figure that represents me and I'm going to do her in all lavenders and whites and her pants would be perfect for striping. I'm going to give it a shot and if it doesn't work out, I'll just strip it and start over.

      I have an orc standard bearer and I'm going to free hand a heraldic, but I have to come up with a design first. It won't be easy, but the standard is separate from the figure, so I can mess it up as many times as I need to.

      Thank you Scott.

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  31. Very nice free hand work which is no easy task!

    Christopher

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    1. It's not easy but it is absorbing. Thank you Christopher!

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  32. (hey Anne: I'm not a troll !!! I don't find my comment....)
    well, I don't think that it's necessary to say more than the others!
    Just: it's a good work for a beginner, even I don't think that you are a simple beginner!
    You're right about the improvement: never be completely satisfied is necessary, but I just would like to say that it's important to be sometimes proud of his own work: we can't always be unsatisfied, it's too hard!
    If we compare our painting job with experimented painters, we are not in the good way!!
    Sometimes, I see some works that are not completely good in my eyes, and that the painters don't make really improvement, it's sad.
    I wish a long and happy way for the Hobby! You have talent, that's sure!

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  33. I'm a little jealous. We've never had a pernicious troll. Or any troll for that matter.

    But since we aren't feeding the troll, I'll say that your figures look great. And you're right, something is slightly off about the plaid, but my unskilled eye can't quite detect it. But I can't imagine plaid would be easy to paint... you won't see any of my characters sporting plaid shirts on our comics, that's for sure!

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  34. See now, my untrained eye didn't see any of those flaws until you pointed them out...and even then I had to look really hard! I wish I had some suggestions for you, but this is NOT my arena! And as far as I am concerned, if this is your "beginner" work, I can't wait to see what you do when more advanced!! I also love that you think of way to make these your own. That just makes me happy.

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  35. Great idea and wondeful painted!

    Regards
    Bruno

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  36. Free hand work is not easy Anne!
    I like your results though. Very much.
    Have you thought of using washes, to give 'depth' to the figs?

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  37. I don't know about this but it looks daunting to me as it looks so small too ~

    Hope you are having a super day Anne ~

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  38. The comments helping little bit with this freehand explanation. But will check more to understand.
    I love the signature thing you are trying on this figurine, Strumpet is cute and awesome. Love the design on her skirt. She kinda looks like Kim Kardhasian? Not as an insult but to mean the voluptuous sexy body? ;-)

    The country folk guy with the bone looks good too. He resembles the WWW cowboy.

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  39. I think the plaid looks fine, you have been given lots of useful advice which should help. My two cents worth is for depth always basecoat in black and try not to 'paint by numbers' or achieve the 'Britains'look. I find a bit of irregularity helps the depth process.

    Well done on both of them at any rate. Plaid is horrible to paint at the best of time.

    Model on!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Looks real nice! And the freehand painting on the lady's cloth is excellent!

    PS: I don't know why Paul isn't telling you he has a special tartan paint. Just ask him! ;-)

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

    ReplyDelete

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