Monday, September 26, 2016

Time to Paint the Walking Scrap! - Gobber Tinker Part 2

My painting buddy :) 
Full disclosure: This Gobber tinker is the first serious effort I have made to paint anything in nearly a year.  As the incredible Jessica Rich said in last weeks post, you use it or you lose it. The Warjack won't be the only thing showing how rusty it is in this article. After the passing of my mother a year ago I painted up a storm immediately after and then just couldnt bring myself to sit down and focus on it for a long time..... but now?

People keep asking if I'm back and I haven't really had an answer...But now, yeah, I'm thinkin' I'm back! ~ John Wick

I really wanted to use lighting to give my model a sense of volume and to draw the eye upwards to the gobber himself so I started with priming in black and white - not as a full zenithal lighting but rather as an angled source that draws attention upwards and forwards. I used my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE primer in the world - Badger Stynylrez through my airbrush.
Ended up looking like this :


(3 pics to show the difference in the lighting - just click to enlarge if you want to see better!)

With that established it was time to begin my rust layer - This tinker didn't steal a new warjack after all - it has been bodged together from scrap and leftovers - while it may be "the big score" to someone like him, it still had to look like someone else's junk!

I started with AMMO by Mig Jimenez Dark Tracks and Medium rust to establish rusty tones in the shadows and mid range, switching to VGC Scurfulous Brown for the brightest areas - this really began to show the model's volumes and lighting even more dramatically than the black and white underpainting! I then used P3 Sanguine Base to warm several of the shadow zones particularily towards the front of the model (most of the deepest areas opposite the light source in the back I left the dull brown of the dark tracks over black) and to artistically deepen some zones because it was pleasing to my eye. (Remember you can click any pic if you want to see it larger!)





Once the rust coat was finished I let it dry for 48 hours and then coated it liberally with AMMO by Mig Jimenez Chipping Fluid..... Then the real fun begins! I decided that since I was using a Cygnarian Warjack as the basis of this model I would go with predominantly Blue - a colour I don't get to paint too often and that would relate well to my orange rust tones. I also decided that since I was using a Mercenary jack leg I would do it in Green (P3 Green with VMC Yellow Green) to tie visually into my Merc army and since the goblin himself would be green this would help to create harmony and a stronger overall composition. Red became the spot colour in both a strong VMC Scarlet red and a desaturated red violet made with the P3 Sanguine base.






So now all the colours are laid in, but what about all that lovingly applied rusty tone? Well, this is where the fun part actually begins! Once the paint was touch dry I grabbed a larger soft clean synthetic brush and a small container of water with just a drop of running alcohol in it. I used that to rehydrate the surface of the model one or two sections at a time. then using an older rougher brush, a dental flossing brush (also super useful for cleaning your airbrush!) and a couple of pointed implements I was able to quite literally scratch and wear through the coloured paint because of the water soluble Chipping Fluid layer I had applied over the rust and below the colour coats! This exposes the "rust" layer beneath. 
(PS if Justin From Secret Weapon Miniatures thinks I need to use his Rust/Weathering paints....lets just say I have heardnothing but good and am more than willing to try them! ;P LOL) 

After a bit of work I have this: 


Scratched, rusted and worn it now looks more like scrapped parts for a proper tinker! (and doesn't he just look smug up there!) Once the model had dried fully again I dullcoated it to protect my work up to this point and to avoid and further accidental destabilization of the chipping fluid layer.

From there it was the slow painstaking process of highlighting and shadowing the edges of each paint chip and using fine glazes to build up luminosity and refine colour gradients across the major forms of the armour. I also began to develop the metals using a combination of my new Vallejo Metal Colour Burnt Iron (thanks Fernando Ruiz for the lowdown on this stuff - it is great!), DarkStar Miniatures Molten Metals, Forgeworld Dark Iron Pigment, and a pencil. 

It is really noteworthy that pencils can be super helpful in weathering - from making fine scratches that are not as exposed as the big rust chips we have done to simply adding a metallic sheen to edges. It is quick, easy and can look amazing - just be brave enough to go for it!





I'm going to leave off here for now because most of the interesting stuff has been done - I did have to go back and paint the goblin, stowage and to work out a few more areas, but the techniques in doing all that are either traditional or have been covered above. I did also break out my AMMO and stardust pigments, AMMO rust washes etc. to accentuate the weathering further - Next week Ill comment on more of the finishing and post this little guy's glamour shots as a completed piece! 

If you have any questions about colours, techniques or anything else do not hesitate to ask! 



Monday, September 19, 2016

Just Paint. AKA: The Mad Rambles Of Jessica Rich

Jessica Rich is someone whom I thoroughly enjoy. Though geographically distant, her love of great contemporary art, her sense of humor,

and the kindness she has shown me whenever our paths have crossed, marks her as a friend.

Her skill with the brush, daring sense of composition and wondrous ability to think outside the box are what make her an inspiration.

Lost In The Warp was always meant to be not only a vehicle for my work but also a space for friends who do not maintain their own sites to share their own thought, ideas and work.
In the past LITW has featured articles by Vince Hudon, Chris Borer, Dragomir Milanovic, and others. We will see more of this in the coming months with incoming articles from the incredible Chris Suhre and more - But lets focus on this one for now ;)

Something very special here today - Jessica Rich - Brushmistress extraordinaire wrote some of her thoughts about painting a while ago and gave me permission to share it on LostInTheWarp.




Jess is currently taking aim at making some major changes and moving further into the fine arts to pursue her passions. To be quite frank, she could use a hand. 
Please consider checking out this link https://www.gofundme.com/amva8wqk and giving some thought as to whether you can get behind this incredible artist in any way :) 

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Just Paint by Jessica Rich

BEGINNING

This is about painting. This is about beginning. This is the mad ramble of a painter who lost their marbles many many years ago. If only I could get back to Neverland.

Last month I was part of a google hangout with fellow painters, and the question of "What advice do we have for beginning painters?" came up. I didn't have a lot to say then, as it's a subject that requires more than just a simple line of dialogue. There is no magical answer that will lead you down the path of success, no great secret that award winning artists keep to themselves.

 I've met hundreds of painters, some great, and some truly awful. I know that sounds harsh to say, but an honest critique of someone's work is what I can give you. My word isn't law, and shouldn't be taken as canon, but in my semi-­educated opinion, there are enthusiastic painters out there who want to win awards that don't have a snowball's chance in hell. Competition is a bitch.

AWARDS

Why do you want to win them? Why do I still take pleasure in winning them? From my perspective, I feel a little warm and fuzzy, a momentary blip of "I did something right". But then it's gone. My award goes on the shelf to be seldom looked at, and rarely dusted. They are things I have to posses, like an ugly sweater your grandmother gives you that you're obligated to wear at least once a year. I'm not unappreciative of these awards, but they are not necessary. I know this. You should know it as well. The boost of confidence you receive from public validation of your skill will slip away like a dream upon waking. Don't judge yourself by them, and don't allow them to become all that you, as a painter, are.


INVESTMENT

The question I'm most often asked (by my admittedly infrequent interviewers) is "How long have you been painting?". An honest answer would be "for as long as I remember", because I count those childhood years, when I was giddy with excitement to paint with tempera on a piece of newspaper rag using only my fingers and imagination. Professionally, I've been painting miniatures for a little over 7 years now. I count "professionally" as hired work from studios or avid collectors. I don't count "I shittily painted this model and sold it on eBay, so I'm a professional". There, said it, ­ that kind of "pro­painter" hubris is laughable. Many top level painters are making fun of you in closed door conversations. Does this viewpoint make me an asshole? It might in your eyes, and I don't care. And here's why...

To be a "great" painter (Great is in dick fingers because I still don't see myself as great)­  you need to put in the hours. I'm not talking about "I spend a couple of hours twice a week working on my minis". I'm saying thousands upon thousands of hours - a rough estimate for me over 75,000 to get me where I am.

That is how dedicated I am to what I'm doing.

That is how dedicated you most likely need to be to land the studio gigs and high end commissions (There are a few painters that I've met over the years that take to painting competition winning minis like a fish to water, but they're exceptionally rare). But I would caution, strongly, against this kind of maniacal drive, unless you're 100% sure it's what you want. Because...
Studio work killed my passion. After endless "Ermagerd I need this NOW!!!" deadlines, picky customers, and countless unpaid hours trying to get things just right because "the client hates it as it is", I started to look at my table in disgust.  It was work. It may wind up being work for you too, and if you're very very lucky, you won't fall out of love with this industry. I'm still painting miniatures, but it's down to 20­-30 hours a week these days, and sometimes it's a Sisyphus level uphill climb even though it's a mini I thought I wanted to paint.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Remember those 75,000 hours of time invested? Over the course of that time, my hands and eyes became trained to do what I wanted them to. I didn’t start out with smooth blends, nor was I a freehand wizard. NMM? Sorcery I couldn’t wrap my brain around. But I kept pushing myself further. You have to attempt something before you can fail at it. And you will. I certainly did, and sometimes still do. But it’s ok that’s why I have acetone.



Upon reflection, I realized that the more time I put in to painting, the need to concentrate on the techniques I was using lessened, and what was required of my body to achieve a desired effect became second nature. I no longer constantly struggled to paint buttons on a coat, or eyes on faces. I didn’t have to think about it, because my hands understood the signals my brain sent out. Muscle memory. You won’t have to focus on what angle you’re holding a brush at, or what overall physical posture best suits a technique, because your brain and body will work in concert with each other.

There are 5 photos below (nope - I erased them somehow by accident - Ill add them back in as soon as I can ~ JC), showing the evolution of my freehand over 14 years, in sequential order. 14 years ago, 8 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago, and and few months ago. To put the pictures in perspective, the city on that skirt is a little over ¼” tall, which could fit inside one of the cogs on the Skaven banner. Via determination and practice, my skills advanced. Yours will too. Persevere, and don’t be afraid. I know it can feel intimidating. So you utterly bomb on a figure. It’s alright. But if you stop there, if you reach a point where you say “meh, that’ll do and I don’t need to try anything else”, you won’t get better.

This is also a use it or lose it venture folks. You can’t go full tilt for years, take a year off, and pick right back up. Most of the fundamentals will be there, but your body will have forgotten the precise control. I used to practice karate there’s no way in hell my body could fluidly perform a kata if I tried today. Because I didn’t keep at it.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Brushes: When I bought my first Windsor Newton Series 7 brush, I thought I had acquired the magic bean that would elevate me to the clouds. But then came DaVinci brushes, Raphael brushes, GW brushes you get the point it's a long list of companies. And some work for some, and others work for others. My preference is Rosemary and Company Series 33, Size 0. But that's because it fits my "style" of painting. I paint many glazed layers to achieve my blends. If you aren't doing that, it won't feel the same to you.

Paints: The same notion that there is no "one size fits all" is true for paint. I prefer Reaper Master Series, and Secret Weapon paints. Again, they fit my style. I'm not a huge airbrush user (because I apparently love doing shit the hard way), so I don't have any need to find the perfect paints to push through one. Both of companies' paints I use are perfectly suitable for airbrushing as long as you dilute them, but I know people that adore Minitaire paints, or Vallejo Air. It works for them. Buy a couple of paints from each of the major companies, and see what consistencies you like using. You'll
probably find that some companies make your favorite reds, and another your favorite blues. There's nothing wrong with that, and it doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong if you're not a brand loyalist. In closing on paints, please, don't fall prey to labels on the bottles. Secret Weapon has a fabulous 6 paint series for rust. I've only used them for rust once.

Palettes: Find what works for you (I really hope you're catching on to the trend here). I see so many eager painters buying the palettes their favorite painter uses, because their favorite painter uses it.That's kind of a no-no. You don't know "how" you paint yet, so don't shoehorn yourself into something you are uncomfortable working with because your idol does. Marike uses a ceramic well palette, I use a wet palette. Neither of us are "right". Give everything a try. Start with a
plastic well palette it's a $1 investment. You might love it. My first Golden Demon awards were won using one of those suckers as my paint holder. My wet palette is a 50 cent plastic trading card box with a soaked paper towel and parchment paper.

TERMINOLOGY
*Beats head against wall*. I stay off of forums because of artistic terminology. I could crush skulls over this subject. The two biggest contenders in this arena of stupid arguments are "Glazing" and "Washing".

Glazing: A thin, transparent layer of paint which allows the color beneath it to show through. ANY paint can be a glaze.JUST THIN IT WITH WATER. I don't use mediums other than water because it messes with my consistency. Doesn't mean you can't. As long as it's transparent, it's a glaze. You can make a glaze with ink. You can make a glaze with oil paints and linseed oil (from which the artist term was originally pulled). You can glaze with metallic paint. Again, A GLAZE IS JUST A THIN LAYER OF TRANSPARENT PAINT.

Washing: This term doesn't even belong in miniature painting. We rarely use solvents. But, at it's core, it's the same f'ing thing as glazing. Traditionally, inks are mixed with solvents, then controlled application is used by applying the ink with a loaded (read sopping wet) brush. But because you can wash with acrylics and oils, it's still f'ing glazing.

Loaded Brush: Don't get me started. It's a long story.

Dipping: DON'T DO IT! "But what about Future Wax?" someone is crying. If you're reading this, I'm assuming you're hoping to take away some useful tips from this mad ramble. If someone suggests Future Wax as an additive, run away.

What I'm trying to get across in this segment is that it's all painting in one form or another (except Future Wax). We are artists. Would you like to art as well? You can art if start with a brush, paint, and a model. Try it. Throw the terms out the window, and see what you like to do.

A FEW THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN ENTERING INTO THIS FIELD

Paint what you like to paint.

If you ask for a critique, be prepared to take what you're told in a positive light (even if it sounds like someone is cutting your soul into tiny bitesized nibblets).

Listen to the people you are asking for advice, but don't change everything you're doing because of said advice.

Incorporate it into your style.

Painting competitions can hurt. Not everyone can win, but it doesn't mean you should stop painting if you didn't take home a thingy, especially if you enjoy painting.

Remember that opinions are like assholes.

IN CLOSING
The very best advice I can give is to simply "start".

My Best Regards,
Jess


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Jess is awesome. Please help if you can.

Next week back to the Gobber Tinker!