Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Seraphine skin tutorial

As promised - here is the first part of the Seraphine Le Roux skin tutorial from Ali. She didn't take pictures of the original Seraphine - so this is a whole new version we'll be showing stage by stages photos from over the next few days.

The photos are largely self explanatory - the shots of the palette go with the picture above, and show the progression of the skin tones lightening as the highlights are applied. Here are some quick notes to accompany the pictures, the numbers correspond to the photograph -

1 - Base coat with a rich chocolate brown, being careful to not apply it too thickly and obscure the detail on the face. As usual - it's best to apply several thin coats rather than one thick one.

2 - To highlight black skin, add a warm skin tone (the one Ali actually uses is Butter Fudge from the Foundry range). Adding white would totally skew the colour and make it far too chalky. Follow the lines of the limbs when applying the highlights - apply small amount at a time and carefully blend the edges with a damp brush. It can be useful to hold the miniature under a desk lamp - and see where the light naturally hits the surface.

The highlights are applied thinly and build up slowly in layers - the successive coats will become more opaque and intense as they are applied. Just keep going until you are happy with the effect. You'll find that you cover a lot of the base coat with this first layer of highlights.

3 - The next layer is quite a bit lighter - add more of the fudge colour and some light flesh tone for this. With this application you will cover smaller areas of the surface - usually in the centre of the last area of highlight. See picture 4.

5 - Ali wanted her skin to appear sweaty and glistening, so there was a big jump in the final level of highlighting - and it was applied in very specific places. - A thin line down the front of the leg and dot on the knee, down the length of both forearms, a dot on the bottom edge of the belly button, a dot which is blended horizontally across each breast, the bridge of the foot, curve of the thigh, base of the back, and shoulder blades and buttock.

6 - The final stage was to add some deep shading to better define the shape of the body. This was a mix of the base colour and blue ink.

That's it for the body - Ali took pictures while she was painting the face (which is usually a different process), and I'll post them here shortly.



Thursday, 24 September 2009

Broga finished

Sorry for the delay with posting the rest of this article - things got a little busy with the release of Seraphine...

Here's my version of Broga finished. There wasn't really a massive amount left to do after the last stage - add the freehand design to the cloth, paint the back of the cloak, detail the face, and paint the shield.

I did originally plan to take stage by stage photos of the freehand design - but once I started painting it, I don't think I moved (of breathed) until it was finished. I do plan to do an article about freehand at some stage though.

I decided on a different take on the shield - it's supposed to be made from dragon bone and scales for extra protection from fire attacks. I wanted to make it look like bone - but with a slightly strange colour cast to it. I painted it quite a warm colour initially - and then shaded it down with quite a lot of blue.

I really enjoyed painting this miniature - it suits my painting strengths I think. Next up is Seraphine - and after Ali's version I am a little unsure about how to approach the colour scheme. It's a hard act to follow!


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Voodoo magic

Just thought I'd share the original concept with you for Seraphine Le Roux. This one is by Ali - yet another string to her bow... It certainly won't be her last either, in fact we are talking about ideas for future minis Ali's going to concept at the moment - one of which we're really excited about...

We've been blown away by the response to Seraphine - in fact it's been pretty much all positive. It's always a nerve-wracking couple of days around the release of a new miniature - we're always confident in the quality of the work, but taste in miniatures is very subjective. What one person might like - another will absolutely hate.

Ali has already started working on the skin tutorial for this one - and I hope to have it up here some time next week. In the mean time I will be getting back to the Broga tutorial (I know, I'm sorry...) in the next couple of days, just as soon as I can really - but we're going to be quite busy with packing and shipping ...


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Seraphine Le Roux

The third Studio McVey Limited Edition resin miniature is now available! I have just updated the main website, and Seraphine is now on sale in the Studio Store. Of course this is old news to anyone on the mailing list! We pre-released her to members of the mailing list at the weekend - so don't forget to sign up if you want to receive pre-release offers and exclusive news.

Seraphine is our first female miniature - and what an woman to start with! Ali drew up the concept for this one, and she was sculpted by Jacques-Alexandre Gillois (who also made The Raven Priest) - it really is a beautiful piece...

As with our previous Limited Edition miniatures, we will be giving away the Studio painted version in a free prize draw. Once the full run has sold out we will randomly draw a number between 1 and 750, and the holder of that certificate will win the studio miniature of their choice. I haven't painted this one yet - but I will be surprised if I come anywhere near the quality of Ali's version... So it should be an easy choice!

Ali is going to be doing a step by step article on the blog soon, to show how she paints darker flesh tones. In the mean time Ali has posted her over on Coolminiornot - please show her some love!

We're really proud of this miniature - so we hope you like her!


ps - I haven't forgotten about the step by step Broga article, I know I promised to get it all wrapped up before the next release, but the best laid plans...

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Assembling and painting Broga Hourigsen pt.4

Here's the next part of painting Broga. As you can see, things have moved on a little from the last stage! I do have pictures of that stuff - but to be honest, it's not particularly interesting, so I thought I would skip on to the skin and talk briefly about the bits I missed out.

Since the last stage I painted the inside and outside of the cloak. The inside was painted in the same way as the armour - I took the highlights quite pale and then glazed and deepened with red ink. The colours were different to the armour though - I kept the whole thing darker and deeper.

I also painted the scales - these were base coated with Chainmail, washed down with green and black ink (with a little matte medium added) and re-highlighted with Chainmail. I picked out the shape of them by adding a fine highlight to the centre ridge and the points with silver. I glazed a few of them with thinned down turquoise.

The skin was a fairly straightforward process - mid tone first, then shadows, followed by highlights and warmth. The base colour was a mix of mid flesh with a little brown added. Our favourite flesh colours are Wargames Foundry - Flesh 5, then I add a little Dusky Flesh 6 to give it some depth and warmth. As with most areas - apply a few thin coats of paint to get a good, even coverage - rather than one thick one.

A good basic thing to remember after this is to keep the shadows fairly cool and the highlights warm - so at its most basic level this means, add a little blue for the shadows, and yellow for the highlights. In reality it means that I add some flat brown (and by that I mean a cool tone) and just a spot of deep blue (nothing too strongly pigmented) for the shadows and highlight with a warm bone colour. I do add some quite strong blue round the eyes and to the side of the nose - but applied very thinned down and in a controlled manner. I think this gives a little extra depth round the eyes and makes them stand out. You can see from the second picture in sequence where the shadows were applied. It's common sense really - the more recessed the area, the deeper the colour. So the sides of the temples are a little deeper than the base colour, but beneath the chest and main shoulder muscles the colour is really quite dark.

After the shadows are in, it's simply a case of building up the highlights. I start with the base colour and re-apply to the areas next to where the shade tones have been applied. Then I add a little light flesh tone, bone and warm off-white as the highlights get lighter. I like to 'light' the miniature quite strongly from above as it gives more of an out-door look, and apply the highlights accordingly. When the highlights are finished I add a little colour to the sides of the cheeks, lower lip and nose - you have to be quite subtle here of you can get more of a clown look than you might have wanted... I add a tiny spot of red to a deep flesh tone and apply as very thin glazes. I then add a small highlight over the top to blend the colour in a little.

The stubble effect is a mix of the base tone with a little mid-grey added. Again - I apply this in thin, controlled glazes, and add a highlight over the top. The last picture in sequence shows the skin basically finished (I do tend to go back in a smooth things out if/when I see something I don't like), with some lining round the areas that border the skin, and the eyes and mouth blocked out in deep brown.

That's it for this stage, I'll try and get another part out tomorrow - as I said, I want to get it all wrapped up before we release Seraphine! Ali has just finished painting her, and if you're on the mailing list, you'll be getting a preview ahead of the release.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Assembling and painting Broga Hourigsen pt.3

Here's the next stage on my version of Broga - actually there are two stages here. The first thing I did was to glaze the red armour. Unfortunately that process didn't photograph very well - the changes in colour are so slight between each glaze, I would have to show lots of photos that look basically exactly the same... So the first photograph in the series above is when the glazing process is finished.

I applied around 12-15 glazes of ink - and as I have said before, it's very important to use transparent ink for this process - it gives an intensity of colour that glazing with paint simply couldn't achieve. The glazes are applied very watered down and very evenly - if you allow it to pool on the surface, the finish will be patchy and messy. Dip your brush in the glaze colour and then dab it on a piece of paper towel to remove most of the liquid from the brush before applying to the miniature. You are aiming to apply a thin, even layer consistently over the surface. You may think 12-15 glazes will take a long time to apply - but if you give the miniature a quick blast with a hair drier between each layer, they actually don't take very long at all.

I used a series of deepening colours for the glazes - starting light and getting deeper as they go on. I also change the area that I hit with the glaze each time according to the highlight areas - so the first glazes is a mix of yellow and red (I aim for a rich golden yellow), and this is applied to the whole area. Subsequent glazes are deepened with more red, and painted onto the miniature avoiding a little more of the highlight areas each time. So the final glazes are deep red and are only applied to the areas with no highlighting - this effectively shades them down to a deeper, richer red. For the really deep tones (in the most recessed areas) I add some blue to the glaze mix. It's important you don't glaze over the highlights with the deeper colours, or you'll tone them down too much.

The trick with glazing like this is to be patient. When you apply the first glaze, there will be hardly any difference - but as you go on the colour will get deeper and richer.

The photos sequence above shows the loin cloth being painted. I knew I wanted to add a freehand design to this area, so I planned to keep the whole thing quite light and simply shaded. The base coat was a mix of bone and off-white, with just a little black added to take the clean edge off the colour. The next step was to roughly apply the shading - this is the base colour with a little more black added. I didn't bother blending this stage very carefully as I knew I was going to cover it again. When that was dry I used the base colour to clean up the transition between the colours. The next two steps show the highlights being added - and these are a mix of the base colour plus more off-white. There is actually about four stages of highlighting on those two pictures - just adding a little more white each time, and blending the colour in with a second brush.

The final photo show the loin cloth finished, and cloak with the base coat applied - it's just to show how much neater everything starts to look when you fill in the unpainted areas.

That's it for this time, I'll get the next part up soon. It should take to long to get through the rest of the miniature as I only took stage by stage pictures of some of the parts. With any luck I'll get through the whole article before we release the next Studio McVey miniature! Ali is currently painting her, and I know I am biased, but both the sculpt and paint job are absolutely stunning...

talk to you soon


Thursday, 10 September 2009

Assembling and painting Broga Hourigsen pt.2

Here's the first set of stage by stage photos for Broga. I decided to drive straight in and tackle the largest area of the miniature first - the armour. I decided right away (as soon as I saw the sculpt actually) that I wanted to paint the armour red and base the whole colour scheme around that. I went for a really strong saturated red - as if the armour was enamelled.

A lot of my painting, especially for strong colours like red, relies on a combination of over-highlighting, and then glazing with ink. I take the highlights quite a lot lighter (and paler) than I want the finished effect to be - then I put the depth and saturation back in with ink glazes. You really need to use strong, transparent inks to do this successfully - glazing with paints just won't work the same.

The first step is to get a good solid base colour to work over. I wanted a strong red that was somewhere on the deeper side of the final mid tone - if that makes sense... Basically it a little further towards the shade tones than the highlight tones. It was a mix of GW colours - Blood Red with a little Scab Red added. I also thinned the consistency down by adding red ink rather than water. It took me three coats to get a good flat base with no patchy colour.

The highlight tones were created by adding yellow for the first few layers of highlights, then off-white for the top levels. As you can see from the pictures, each successive layer of highlighting covers a smaller area until the final highlights are just picking out the sharp edges.

I took a picture of my palette to show the progression of colours. I like to complete areas like this in one go if possible - that way you can ensure continuity. Of course it's possible to stop half way through and re-mix the colour, but it can be difficult to get it to match exactly... I make sure to mix a lot of the first level highlight, as that's the 'pool' that you work from - adding a little more of the highlight colour to it at each stage. I also try and pick a time when it's not going to be too warm so the paint doesn't dry quickly.

You can see the armour looks far too pale and pastel at this stage - but that's what you need with this technique. The ink glazes will put the saturation back in the colour and make it almost glow. I also add shading at the next stage and smooth out any mistakes in the highlights.


Mailing list

Just a quick post to say that we now have a mailing list! Please sign up and you will receive exclusive updates, previews, news and offers.

Thanks to Poots for setting that up for us! - Check out his great new miniatures line, Kingdom Death.

I'll be posting the next part of the stage by stage Broga article today, so check back later.


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Freebooter Mermaid

Ali just recently finished this piece - it's a Limited Edition Mermaid from Freebooter miniatures. Werner Klocke's sculpts are quite distinctive and paint up really nicely. I love the base Ali added to this one - she drilled out the top of a wooden display base, just quite roughly, and then lined the hole with greenstuff to make it a more natural shape. The little rocks were also made from greenstuff - as was the starfish that's nestling in the pool. Once the separate elements (including the miniature) were dry, they were glued to the top of the base.

Ali painted the inside of the pool in mid sea-green colour - getting lighter towards the edges. The rocks were picked out in various different shades or pale grey, sand and brown. There is plenty of great reference for beach rocks on the internet - a distinctive look is to paint faint veins of lighter or darker colour running through them.

The water was added with Gedeo crystal resin - it's very easy to use, but make sure you mix it really thoroughly or it won't set properly... Ali actually added a couple of drops of ink to the resin to give it a turquoise colour - it's very easy to colour, but you have to mix the ink in very thoroughly to it's consistent.

If you're interested, she's up on eBay. Ali also posted her over on CMON, so please show your support!


Monday, 7 September 2009

Assembling and painting Broga Hourigsen pt.1

I managed to take some pictures of Broga as I was painting him, so I will be publishing them here in stage by stage format - much as we did with the Raven Priest. As the whole miniature is finished, I will be able to get the entire series published here in the next couple of weeks (hopefully!).

Just a brief article to start with. There's not a great deal of cleaning to do on this miniature - most parts are good to go without doing anything to them, but three of the parts have sprues to remove. These are added to the miniature to give the resin a place to feed into the mould cavity. I have indicated these of the photograph - though it's petty obvious that they are not part of the actual miniature. The best thing to do with them is simply remove them with a pair of clippers, then trim any unevenness away with a sharp blade.

There are very few mould line of any sort on this miniature - but due to the complexity of the body, there may be a mould line down the side of the cloak (where indicated on the picture). Most of the castings I looked at had no line there at all - but this one did. It's a nice smooth area with no surface detail - so it's very easy to trim down and smooth flat. I use a sharp blade to get rid of the line - then smooth it down completely with a needle file. Part of the beauty of resin is that it's so easy to work with - and mould lines can be removed very quickly with no trace remaining.

Once all the parts are cleaned, they are ready for assembly. I just glued the pieces together with super-glue. The only parts that I pinned for extra strength were the lance and right arm. It's a good positive fit - but the join area is quite small and the lance very long, so there is a great deal of leverage on the join. It's a simple matter to drill two small holes and add a short length of wire between the pieces. I did add pins to the two different heads - but only because I was painting both of them for this article, and wanted something to hold them by.

I tacked the shield onto the body for undercoating, but removed it after that to make the body easier to paint.

That's it for this part, I'll have the next part up in the next few days, and will be looking at painting the armour.


Thursday, 3 September 2009

Completed Raven Priest

So here is the finished Raven Priest. The last few steps were quite quick and easy - the hands were matched to the rest of the skin tones, the teeth and eyes were added in, all the bangles were painted gold and the straps and necklace were picked out.

Once all the little bits and pieces were completed, I very carefully removed it from the base it was mounted on for painting, and added it to it's scenic base. This was carved from a slab of dry plaster (well hydrostone actually) and painted with sponging and washing.

This step by step was a fun project to do - I hope that it was at least a little interesting to read about!

The finished piece is up for sale in the Studio Store over at the main Studio McVey website.

I have just finished off my version of Broga - which was great fun to paint. I will be showing step by step photos of that one too - starting soon, maybe even tomorrow.

Talk to you then!


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Assembling and painting The Raven Priest pt. 8

Here's the next part of assembling and painting the Raven Priest - after Ali completed two parts of the miniature last time, I thought it only fair to push on and finish it off. The last two areas to paint (apart from some small details) were the sword and the spell-effect birds - both of which are small, so quick to paint.

Sword - The first version I painted of this miniature had a bone sword, but with this one I decided on a straightforward steel effect. I gave it a base coat of GW Chainmail - being careful to avoid filling in the fine rune detail on the blade. I wanted to keep the shading nice and subtle, so I mixed black with just a spot of dark brown and watered it down to a glaze consistency before carefully applying it to the blade. I shaded down the bevelled edge of the blade, and close to the hilt - building up the colour in thin layers to get deeper shading. I kept the effect subtle as a lot of the shape would be picked out with the highlighting.

The first level of highlights was picked out with Chainmail - I concentrated this to the edges, with a wider patch of light added to the curved end of the blade and another half way down. The metallic paint was applied quite thin and the edges carefully blended out. The second and final highlight was GW Mithril Silver.

The final picture in the sequence shows a little faint blue added onto the shaded areas - this gives a colder, harder feel to the blade and suggests that there is some reflected light hitting it. This was applied as controlled glazes of very thin light blue paint.

Birds - These were painted with three colours - turquoise, light bone and black. The base colour was a mix of turquoise and bone - when this was dry I faded the colour (not very subtly) by adding more bone towards the base - and more black towards the end of the birds. The next two stages show how the effect is made to look more subtle - basically by filling in between the colours with intermediate shades. None of it was blended - I just worked quickly and kept going back and forth between the colours where the 'blend' needed some work. I like to mix plenty of paint on the palette when I am doing things like this - and work quickly before it dries out. That way I have every shade I need right there in front of me. It handy to have a hair drier to speed the drying time on the miniature.

I have just finished off all the small details (mouth, eyes, straps, etc), and am waiting for the base to dry before attaching the finished miniature. I'll post pictures of the completed piece tomorrow.