Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Leveling Up - Experimenting with Color Theory

I have been painting at a high silver level for a long time, I haven't received anything lower than a silver medal at Reaper for three years now. The issue is I'm not hitting the gold level either. So for next year's ReaperCon (as well as Genghis Con) I'm really going to try to push the envelope and getting over that gold finish line. My objectives are quite ambitious, but I'm at the "Go big or go home" stage. I currently have plans for three dioramas, four conversions, four singles and one vehicle. All selected to really push myself. I'm aiming for a gold in each of the four categories and I want my Reaper entries to be at least considered for a Sophie, whether I get one isn't relevant (I have two silver Sophies but that was before we went to the medal format, still more than most people!), I just want to make the cut for Sophies.

With that in mind I have been playing around with basing, the results of my last two posts, and really paying more attention to colors. I asked Anne a lot of questions after the convention and she recommended a book "Color and Light" by James Gurney (creator of Dinotopia). I acquired the book and I have been sifting through it for a couple of weeks now. I also figured out (thank you Anne) why the color wheels you can buy are pretty inadequate for our needs. While I understood basic color theory the concept of a six color wheel really turned on some lights for me.

I asked Anne, again, about which Reaper colors were close to the artist tube colors in the example I saw. What she suggested were close, but weren't going to be exact, its kind of the nature of the pigments and the various chemical processes used to make our paints. Oh and by the way, all hobby paints are made with liquid pigments, so why Privateer Press thinks that's a selling point is beyond me. What's really important is the base, its the base plus the pigments that give us paint.

I started the color wheel today. The results were not quite what I expected. Part of that is I'm using hobby paints which are going to behave a bit different from the artist colors. I think the other thing that gave me some odd results is that I just don't know what ratios they really use to get the tones and the shadows. They talk about adding white, a little more white and then a little more white, which is far from exact. Also I'm not sure if the shadow colors should be mixed from equal proportions or by adding just a dab, the same with the grays. Anyway just more for me to think about.

Here is the color wheel that I managed to create today. I didn't quite finish it since I'm not sure I was creating the shadows and grays correctly. 

The location where I keep pictures created this graphic. Kind of cool.

Adding in the reds and yellows. All from Reaper; Ultramarine Shadow, Sapphire blue, Clear Yellow, Sun Yellow and Crimson Red. I'm missing the Republique Red which is out of their Heavy Gear Paint range, I'll have to order that. So this wheel is actually a variation of the one I intended to make since it just uses one red instead of two.

Creating the violets. There isn't a lot of separation between the colors, I may have to add more ultramarine blue on one side and more crimson red on the other.

Filling out the "secondary" colors. Didn't really get the orange I was expected. The green looks okay.

Creating the tones for the secondary colors by adding white. I'm just not sure I added enough white (same for the primary colors"

The tertiary colors going in and getting their tones

The wheel's inner ring is complete

The shadow is in the fifth ring, the main color plus its opposite. I mixed 50/50 here and that might be to dark. The "gray" is the shadow plus white. I'm pretty sure that I have this mixed wrong.

My idea here is to be able to create a unique color wheel for each of the entries based on the main primary colors I'm using. From this I can also create a gamut map which would let me select a limited palette and be confident that everything will work together and that I can create every color within the map.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Painting Competition Displays - Another Prototype Mockup

The vast majority of the painting competitions take your entry and put it into a display case. It doesn't come back into your hands till the show is over and of course you can't make sure that its really properly displayed. But for the most part that doesn't matter, a judge (or two or three) is going to pickup your entry to make their decision so we really don't need any fancy displays. However, at least in the US, the historical painting competitions are all about the display, showing off your figures to their best advantage and creating a cohesive display. While the individual figures are still going to be judged there is an award for the best display plus it can really focus the attention on your own pieces in a room filled with hundreds of miniatures.

I was working on a concept for a competition entry and I needed a way put the mini in some kind of context for the viewer. So I was doodling around with a paint scheme and trying to figure out a way to show off the mini in context for viewer. The mini needed to be easily removable for judging and transportable to boot. Then this little concept hit me:

So I finished my chores off today and decided to see if this concept is going to work or not. So here we go:

 A repeat picture, my classic mockup materials

Laying out the pattern

First cuts, looks good so far.

Starting to assemble the pieces

Two more of the set of four

The initial assembly is complete. Everything looks to be coming together

Here is one of the cubes I use for my display bases. Here we see the display base in the cut out in the bigger display.

Adding in the background pieces. With these in place I can paint in some backdrop scenery or make some 3D additions.

This is the complete setup

How the four pieces look like from above. I could but this in a little spinner and let folks rotate it. But primarily I'm thinking that this will be how I transport it. Maybe rare earth magnets in the sides to help hold things together for transport.
What I'm really thinking of for display purposes. The background displays will really put the mini in context for the viewer.

And the remains of the construction.

I pretty happy with how this came out. Now I just need to figure out how to make it out of something a lot sturdier. I may be spending a lot of time with my hobby chop saw and some hard wood.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Science Fiction Diorama - Base Mockup

Its been a while since I have posted anything that I have actually worked on. I have taken to carrying around a little notebook that I can jot down my thoughts in so I don't forget them. This has been working out fairly well and today I decided to see if one of my ideas was going to work or not. I had this vision of a little sci/fi diorama featuring British troops from the Colonial Period (Zulu War kind of feeling) trying to ambush a "patrol" of aliens. All the minis are going to come right out of the Reaper Miniatures Chronoscope line and I had them already in the pile of unpainted lead.

I grabbed my favorite material for creating a mock up and off I went.

Matt Board, Ruler, Mechanical Pencil, some Titebond Glue sitting where I won't spill it.

The Sketchbook I have been carrying around

Deep into construction at this point

Coming together

"The Interior", I think I'm going to work in two windows instead of one.

The interior with a floor now!

On the outside the stairs in the alley

Street side which mostly features the sidewalk and a bit of the street

I think this will be the main viewing angle

So how the miniatures in the alley might fit. Some conversion work is going to be required

Two in the alley and one inside

The aliens make their appearance. You can see the alien shadows on the wall. When I paint this I'm going to try out a lower light coming from directly down the street so that the aliens will be casing shadows in front of them. That's what the British officer will be watching, timing his moment to strike.

Another view with all the minis in the scene
At the moment I'm pretty happy with how things worked out with this mockup. I can see some places I will need to make adjustments and where some conversion work will be required. I think its going to work out pretty good. The story seems pretty solid at this point.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hanger 18 Bawidamann Pinup Kickstarter Home Stretch

Well this one wraps up tomorrow 5/22. They have hit all their stretch goals and are rapidly closing in on their surprise goal. I expect them to hit that pretty quickly, they were within $500 last time I checked.

They also received the painted copy of the Zombie Hunter, I have a swiped a copy to post here, but you can see this one and more pics out on their kickstarter site. 

Hanger 18 Kickstarter

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Genghis Con XXXV Favorite Entries

I finally got a disk with the entries from the Genghis Con XXXV painting competition. I thought I would post up a few of my favorites. This were all taken by Doug Sundseth. Unfortunately I don't remember most of the entrants names and I don't have the paperwork on the entries. If you see one of yours just let me know.

Photographs Copyright 2014 Douglas Sundseth. Used by arrangement.

Best in Show - Ian Markon

Ian Markon

Alice - Phil Esterle

Michael Proctor

Phil Esterle

Phil Esterle

Wolfen - Sindjinn

Trick or Treaters - Heidi Jugovic

Adventuring Party - Heidi Jugovic