|Posted on March 23, 2012 at 7:05 AM||comments (0)|
I've had the worst luck with wet-palettes. I could never get them to work like everyone said they were supposed to. I purchased a Masterson's Wet Palette at DickBlick.com but no go. Instead of using the expensive paper that comes with it, I tried using parchment paper that you can pick up from the baking section at the grocery store, still no luck. So I had pretty much given up on it.
Then a friend suggested I try a homemade one that had worked well for him. Well, this one wasn't perfect but it did show potential so I kept tweaking and finally came up with something that works for me.
Now everyone is different and supplies are different so your mileage may vary but if you haven't been happy with your wet-palette, try this.
What you will need:
I picked up my plastic container at the grocery store 3 for 3 bucks. It has two wells in it. The larger one, I use for the wet palette, the other holds water for cleaning my brush, I find it very handy and one less thing on my work table.
I initially bought some cheapo sponges but these had large holes in them. Holes trap air and dry out your parchment paper so if you go with these, find some with the smallest holes possible.
Then I tried a folded up paper towel but I wasn't thrilled with it. Evaporation continued to happen too quickly for me. On a lark, I tried the Sham Wow. I have a couple of these that I used at horse shows a long time ago. They are great for drying off your horse after you've rinsed him off on a hot day. But the Sham Wow's had seen their better days and were getting to the point where I was going to toss them. But then I realized they might just be the ticket for my wet-palette.
I used my container and drew out the shape on the Sham Wow then cut it out. A little trimming and it fit perfectly. I then cut out the same thing of parchment paper. I use Reynolds Parchment Paper. I tried a generic brand a long time ago but wasn't happy with it. Although, I may try it again when this roll runs out.
I've found the best results when I "primed" my parchment paper. You can boil it for about five minutes or just let it set in water for about 10 minutes. But what really worked for me was to put hot water from the tap in the bathroom sink, sit something on top of the paper so it stays completely submerged and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
After I pull out the parchment paper, I put the Sham Wow in its container well and turn on the tap (if you plan on painting, then letting them sit for a day or two - and it can keep the paint wet for that long, sometimes even longer - I recommend using distilled water so you don't come back to strange things growing in your paint). I rinse mine out every couple of hours so I don't worry about growing things. ;))
Only put in enough water to completely saturate the Sham Wow, sponge, or papertowel. You don't want the water to overflow onto the parchement paper. Place the paper on top of the Sham Wow and smooth out any air bubbles.
Here's where the sponge is at a disadvantage because you will never get out all of the air bubbles. For me, the paper towel, didn't retain enough water and I didn't want to use a bunch of them only to throw them away when they got saturated with paint.
The Sham Wow retains a lot of water considering its size. I thought I would have to cut out two or three pieces and stack them in the well. Instead, one did the job just fine and they're washable too! So you have something that's reusable even if it gets gobbed up with paint.
Now you're ready for paint! I put my paint onto the paper and if it's thick, I add a drop or two of water. Use the end of your paint brush to stir, anything sharp like a toothpick will rip the paper. Load your brush with paint and draw it along the paper to remove any excess - and you're read to rock!
Oh, and those sponges I bought that didn't work? I cut one up into a rectangular piece about half an inch wide and three inches long. It now sits in the well that I use for cleaning my brush. I rinse my brush off and then drag it across the sponge a couple of times. This helps remove any paint left deep in the bristles, especially if its wicked up to the ferrule (which will ruin your brush if it dries like that). I'm gentle with it. I drag it over the sponge once or twice then I wipe it off with a paper towel. If the paper towel comes away clean, I'm good to go. If there is any coloration from paint, I do it again until the paper towel stays clean.
I've used this wet-palette for a couple of days now and it has worked like a charm! Because it is small, I get it filled up with paint pretty quickly so I'm constantly rinsing it out. It's good to do that every couple of hours or so anyway. Because I rinse it out, this is the original paper and original Sham Wow so it's very economical too.
I hope you try making your own wet-palette. Post in the comments and let me know what you used and how it worked out for you!
|Posted on March 23, 2012 at 3:35 AM||comments (0)|
This has been slow going but I finally got warhorseminis.com up and running. Sorta. lol!
As you can see, there's not much here yet and the dust is flying from all the construction but hopefully I'll have a variety of things for you. The blog will continue, even if it's somewhat spotty at times and of course photos of current and finished works. There will be links to the auctions when I put painted minis up for sale and information on commissions. I also plan to have a webshop where you can purchase unpainted miniatures and hobby supplies. I'm slowly developing an inventory so until then, things will be on a by order basis. In other words, if you want something, let me know and I'll order it from the company. Granted, it will take a bit longer but my prices will be great and you'll have customer service that is second to none!
As things develop, I plan on a good quality inventory so the shipping times will get shorter and shorter.
In the meantime, please keep an eye out for new posts - even videos! In addition to attending Games Day in Chicago, I also plan on attending ReaperCon in May and ArtistCon in October. So I'll be making blog posts as I work on those pieces as well.
Last but certainly not least, don't forget my facebook page - War Horse Miniatures & Studio stop by and say hi!
|Posted on March 23, 2012 at 3:05 AM||comments (1)|
Originally published on Blogspot Aug 07, 2011
Author's note: I now have Photoshop CS5 yay! So I plan to revisit this using that software.
Many of you know what NMM stands for in the miniature painting world. But for those of you who don't, it means Non-Metallic Metal. It's a way of painting the appearance and shine of metallic paint but the artist only uses regular paint. The technique is all about using highlights and shadows.
The basic theory behind it is not difficult at all. Use color and tints to replicate a reflective surface. But the actual creation of this can be quite difficult. Especially when one is first learning the technique. You must train yourself to visualize what the piece should look like in order to appropriately apply the various shades. You not only have to train your eye to see what you're painting, you have to train your mind's eye in order to visualize the paint process.
With me, right before I stopped painting minis, I had just achieved a good solid grasp of painting silver NMM but I was still struggling with gold. Unfortunately, that's when I put down the paint brush due to the hand tremors. Now I'm back at it. I thought a post about some of the techniques I've been experiementing with might be helpful. As to how to actually paint NMM there are tons of articles and blogs out there and they have fantastic information. With this post, I want to focus on how to train your eye to visualize the NMM so the technique comes into focus a bit easier.
Ultimately practice and time are what will win the day for you. Nothing can truly replace that. But I found a couple of things that might help shave off a minute or two.
In returning to painting NMM I of course tried silver first, since I had a solid grasp of that when I stopped painting. Boy did that bomb! I have definitely LOST what visualization I had. Frustrated, and trying to go backward. I tried gold, although I knew it would be an exercise in futility because I didn't have a grasp of that at all.
Here was the result.
Sloppy yes, but the result surprised the heck out of me. How in the world had I managed when gold was the one that gave me the most problems in the past?
Well, one thing I did is use a photo editing program to help me visualize the metallic reflection. I use Corel but there are plenty of great programs out there. Perhaps you have Photoshop in which this would probably be insanely simple to do, But there are also plenty of free editing programs out there that are wonderful as well. Hit up CNET.com and see what you can find.
The success with the gold and using the photo editing software made me want to try it with the silver to see if it would help.
First, I took a photo of the item I wanted to paint NMM.
In this case it's the lion head symbol on the chariot.
Then I pulled it into Corel and used the lighting effects tools to help me define my light source.
Note: In NMM this is probably the most important step, especially for those of us who are working to get a solid grasp of it. NMM will NOT work unless you DEFINE YOUR LIGHT SOURCE. Once you do that, with or without the software, everything else falls into place. What is also difficult for us newbs to NMM is maintaining that light source in the mind's eye as we paint. It's easy to get a bit muddled and allow other influences to distract you. As you become more experienced, the visualization is easier to maintain but that's why I think this photo editing method helps. It provides that constant for the visualization for someone new to NMM.
After defining my light source I turn the picture into a negative.
Why a negative? Why not just accent the highlights and shadows of the regular photo?
When I was in grade school an art teacher taught me a valuable technique. When I struggled to draw something, or to see the detail, turn it upside down. It helped with what I was working on at the time but it also taught me a lesson. When I couldn't see the forest for the trees, take a step back and look at it differently, upside down, inside out, an image negative rather than the regular image.
One thing folks should realize, we see metallic reflections every day. In fact, in order to become better at NMM we need to study the reflections and see them literally in a different light. So when you're in the parking lot at the mall or the grocery store, study how the sun shines off the various metals on the cars around you.
But for the newb to NMM, because we see this every day, we've also learned to ignore the nuances. Everything becomes blended in our minds eye and it's difficult to separate. Flipping the photo to a negative shakes up our visualization, we don't see this every day but the exact same information is there. It's just in a format that "shocks" our eyes into seeing the detail. We're not automatically blending it together.
Try it - it helps tremendously. If a negative doesn't work for you, try other options in your editing software. Play around with it and see if you can find a setup that helps trick your eye into seeing the detail.
Corel has a setting where I can edit the image's palette. First I have to change the image to 256 colors then set it's background transparency. Since I don't really care about the background, I pick any old thing then I can open the Palette for editing. For this, I pick Luminescence on the pull down menu. You can see in the screen shot above, it orders the colors light to dark for me. I click Okay.
Now I can clearly see the highlights and shadows. In fact the image has definitely taken on a metallic quality in its own right. From here I can start painting. It's a good idea to save the image at this point because if you're still struggling, use the Color Changer to again help your visualization.
In Corel, I can select a particular color and replace it with another. So I can take those darker purplish colors and make them dark gray then move up the line gradually working toward white. I click on each color and change it to the color I think it should be painted and see if it works. If it doesn't, I hit Undo and try it again.
Here are the results of my experiment:
Now my technique is sloppy but the foundation is there. That will come with practice and smoothing out my paint a little more.
But you can see the definite metallic qualities to it. Now, it just becomes a matter of practice and getting better at visualization.
While this trick can get you started and moving down the road to painting NMM, it's important to realize it's a training aide. Don't depend on it for all of your NMM. Once you learn to visualize the reflection, you won't need this any more. So keep analyzing those cars in the parking lot or that soda can sitting on your desk. Always look for the detail, no matter what you are painting. Besides, it makes the world a much more interesting place!
|Posted on March 23, 2012 at 2:55 AM||comments (1)|
Originally published on Blogspot Aug 04, 2011
But not the painter!
Well, I got home from work and tackled the beastie that refused to cooperate.
I started off with a heavy body acrylic called Milky White and thinned it appropriately. That color alone helped add a lot of depth. Then I went over him again with a light gray, which also helped. But it still wasn't quite enough so I took some of the pre-mixed Vallejo Black Glaze and thinned it until it was only a weak smoky color. I applied that and it helped tremendously.
Then, doing my best not to make the same mistake twice, I began to apply the white highlight.
I only highlighted the left side (his left), the right is untouched and there's a definite difference.
Here's a close up for you.
I'm going to do the other side and start on the second lion.
I also promised that this blog would focus on my journey to GD 2012. Well, the first mini is on it's way to me. It should be here in a couple of days and I'll post what it is. So the journey will officially begin upon it's arrival (and I'm hoping to enter more than just one category so there will be others too).
|Posted on March 23, 2012 at 2:25 AM||comments (0)|
Originally published on Blogspot Aug 04, 2011
I'm irritated tonight. I was working on my White Lion Chariot. Because it's such an old project and because I obviously had no clue about prepping when I started it (the seams and gaps are horrid) I decided this was going to be a fun, relaxing project with no expectations, no demands, and no stress.
Anyways, many of the reference photos I found of white lions showed them with a normal tawny undercoat and white over the top. I did find photos of pure white lions but I thought it would be easier to show depth with the undercoat. That would be true if it wasn't for this major bad habit of mine.
I highlight EVERYTHING, all one even highlight shade, from point A to point B and all parts in between. It goes on nice and even - which is exactly what I don't want.
I had the same problem on my Roaming Knight base.
It's a rock.
All the rocks look very nice, they are the same color as real rocks. The exact same color....each...and...every...one....exactly....the....same.
I didn't like it but I couldn't figure out what to do. I tried adding greenery and deadfall.
Better but it still doesn't cut it. At this point, I wasn't exactly sure what the problem was. I hadn't yet defined my even highlighting habit.
After talking to a few online friends and kicking ideas around, one suggested to add multiple washes in different colors, blues and greens. I had already one a slightly red one and it didn't really help but I never thought about the blues and greens. I liked the idea and went after it. I used a weathering technique of mixing dry pigments with rubbing alcohol and this is what I came up with.
Looks like it should be in an aquarium huh?
I added some black and dark brown washes. The different blues and greens still showed through so I started highlighting again. And that's when it dawned on me - my highlights were absolutely even in color and density. I was only flattening the work more!
Once I realized that I made every effort to highlight only certain groups of rocks and only with certain colors. Some I stopped at a light gray, others I took all the way up to white. It was tough not to fall back into the same pattern but I really focused on doing this right.
Thank goodness it worked! A much better, more realistic base than before.
Working on my white lions tonight - guess what I did.
Only the exact same thing. This pic was taken right after I reversed the process by adding brown ink and going back to my tawny colors. He looks pretty funky now. Once again, I didn't realize what I was doing and didn't think to snap a pic, until it was too late.
I'm going to go back and do my best to selectively highlight.
|Posted on March 23, 2012 at 2:00 AM||comments (0)|
Originally published on Blogspot Aug 02, 2011
I'm Kathryn Loch, also known as Karrie. I'm an equine artist as well as a miniature and historical figure painter. I sculpt, paint and prep - you name it!
I decided to try a blog to not only demonstrate some techniques I know, and help people learn how to paint horses, but also document my quest to my first Games Workshop Games Day and enter the Golden Demon painting contest. This is the contest that has everyone from beginner to professional, so the competition is going to be tough to say the least.
Just this past weekend, July 30th 2011, GW held their Games Day in Chicago. Many of my online friends went but I was not able to go. Being left behind did not sit well with me (honestly, I was absolutely miserable!) so I decided then and there, I have a year to plan. In 2012, I will be in Chicago at Games Day. So please subscribe, bookmark, or whatever you like and join me in this journey. It promises to be enjoyable but also tough. I'm sure there will be a lot of laughs and tears and growls along the way.
To start, I opened this with a link to a WIP thread I have going at Coolminiornot.com (warning long). I started you at the beginning so those who are interested can get some context but in my most recent post, I asked my friends what they thought about me starting this blog. If you look through that thread, it will give you a general idea of what to expect from this blog. Hints, tips, tricks, Step-By-Step, rants and raves, so have a seat and enjoy the ride!
So let's jump right in and give you an idea what this blog is going to be like. I'm a painter but a lot of the work I do is with dry powder pigments. Yes, I apply them dry and literally paint with them. How? Well Painting with Pigments will be a of another blog post at a later date. For right now, suffice it to say, I've got a ton of dry pigments here.
I pulled out an old project I never finished, a GW White Lion Chariot and started painting it again. I should have just stripped the thing because back then, I didn't know how to prep and the seams are awful! But it still makes a decent demo piece.
High Elf armor is brilliant silver. Unfortunately, I don't have the exact silver paint required. I only have two Vallejo Gunmetal, which is dark sort of antique silver, and Vallejo Silver. Yup, just plain old silver.
How do you lighten silver? Darkening is easy, just add a couple of drops of black paint. Unfortunately, adding white paint to lighten hasn't worked for me, I get this milky dull silver - although it's great for aluminum.
My base was the chainmail and then I hit the armor with multiple washes of blue ink and purple ink.
Then I went to place highlights with my regular silver. (Oh, this blog is going to be filled with work table pics so let me apologize now for the mess! lol!)
Unfortunately, the results weren't quite what I had hoped for. The arrows point to where I added the regular silver and it's not making a whole lot of difference. With only Gunmetal and Silver, I'm going to need more.
Here's what the Silver looks like normally.
I have a number of Jacquard Pearl-Ex metallic pigments and I love these things. For this scenario, I grabbed the Micro-Pearl color and added it right in.
Don't worry! I know it looks a little too dark right now, but let me stir this and we'll be just fine!
See? I told you! A very nice light silver with a stronger pigment value.
And now you can see where I added this color.
In case it's not coming through in the photos, here's the other side that remains just the way it was when we started.
So there ya go! Lighter silver when I didn't have any and I didn't have to spend a fortune getting it.
I hope you found this post helpful. Until next time! Cheers!