Sunday, November 19, 2017

No More Secrets


One more episode for the painting of the Mierce Miniatures beastmen.  The series began with "Primer Painting" using the Badger airbrush and the Stynlrez primers.  You can find that here:



After taking care of the metals and other elements, it was time to use the Secret Weapon weathering paints to actually weather something!  Yes, even I sometimes use things for the purpose they have been intended.

I usually start off with Old Rust, which is also a favorite skin tone wash too. 


As you can see from this trio of images, you can use those washes a bit like oil washes, in that I apply them mostly in crevices, and then wipe away at the edges.  This is done in a bit more of a watercolor style, with slightly less control exerted because oxidation takes its own course.


This is a good example of how the washes work.  I let them gather in some parts of the application, but pull away at those edges either with a dried out brush or one of  the makeup applicators.

While it is still somewhat wet, I add a slightly lighter rust color, and allow that to mix together on its own.  This is really the unique aspect of the Secret Weapon paints.  They are really meant to do this kind of spontaneous mixing, just as I did on the banner from the last episode.


A third and lighter layer of the rust series can be added, which I usually allow to mix with the other two.  That is another intent of the paints, and that is to mix together.  You can still apply them in "normal" layers of opaque color, which I do all the time.  It's just nice to have this option!


You can see what the various rust layers look like together.  As I mentioned in the previous post about the metals, I made them darker and a bit more blueish so that these subsequent layers of oxidation would show up a little more.


Once that weathering was done, it was time to go back into the metals and add some more lights... using a mix of the lighter Secret Weapon grays and a few lighter Reaper colors.  I wanted to get in all the rust before this stage.  It follows my normal process of working "globally", where I try to get as much of the surfaces covered in colors and values as soon as possible.

This creates context, so I know just how dark or light one area should be in relation to another.


I even took those darker blues and mixed them with the yellow rust, which created a bit of a 'patina' color.  I put this on a few of the bronze/copper bits.


I started to finalize some of the shading on other areas, such as the lion cloths, skin areas, the deepest darks in the furs, and a few highlights on the horns.  There are a lot of different shades of brown, so I tried to make variations in those broader areas of color by making some more greenish, more reddish, etc.


It is only at this point that I start to add in any of the brightest highlights.  This plays off all my years of 2D art, where such details were never added until the end.  As always, it is about context, and having all the rest of the color/value range in place, I know exactly how much is needed.


I have a few of those brightest highlights here, on the weapons and armor. You can see how the armor is meant to play off the snow colors!


I hope that this series was helpful.  I know that it can be difficult to translate all the information on these techniques in pictorial/text format!


This is why I am trying to do more of the facebook live sessions, so people can hear and see these things live on their screens.  To make some "space" to allow for more time,  the Patreon page was set up.  Apparently you can do live streams just for the patrons, and I am trying to set that up. 

Apparently you have to have a bunch of specific settings on your you tube channel, and then get 'approval' from Patreon that those are in place.

Here's a link to the page.  Anyone who pledges to the page gets a chance to win the painted Nocturna miniature which will be raffled off in December!!



Friday, November 17, 2017

A Blog about the Blog!


Now that the Patreon page has been up and running, and I keep talking about what it takes to keep this content flowing on a daily basis.  So, I thought for the very first time, I would "pull back the curtain" and give a sense of what is involved!

It all starts with determining what could be useful content.  Obviously how to posts are at the top of that list!  However, these can be tricky, as these projects are almost always my regular work, which has its own set of deadlines, etc.  Most of the time, I just have to snap pictures on the fly as I am working, attempting to get all the key moments captured in an image.

This does not always happen, which means that I have to do more writing and descriptions about the process.  When working in something like acrylic paints, every second I spend messing around with the camera is one less that I have to manipulate rapidly drying paint!!


All of those images must be transferred and then processed into useable images for the blog.  They must be a certain size, and you get about 15 images to any one post max.  Beyond 15 images, it takes a long time for it to load, and people tend to tune out before the end of the post.  So, I often have to post involved projects in multiple episodes.

This sounds great, but it can be very difficult to get people to realize that they are only seeing one of several episodes!  Therefore, I never go beyond 3-4 at a time.

To cut down on the number of images needed, I try to make "inserts", like the image below...


The "cover image" is very important, as this is what shows up on every blog roll and website.  A text based title will not capture anyone's interest, but you have to make sure that this image is small enough to show up on the gadgets which allow those links.

If it is a full sized/resolution image, the gadget will default to text only.

I often spend more time creating the cover image that most of the pictures in the post.  You have to have one image that captures the topic, but also have a title that can still be read as a tiny postage stamp.


Choosing what steps to show can be a challenge, because some folks are not as familiar with the approaches that I use for various techniques.  I try not to bog down those who are with too much review.


Now comes the most time consuming bit, and that is writing the article itself.  While many people tend to just "look at the pics and run", I feel that it is absolutely vital to try and convey as much information as I can this way.  

I will also try to link back to previous posts, or to refer back to them for people who might be looking at it for the first time.  Again, new viewers come to the blog every day, so I have to refer to past posts or techniques every so often, or to sections of the blog.


Even here, I try to keep each text block to a certain size.  If there is too much text, people will either gloss right over it or skim through.  I don't know how many times someone has asked a question that was answered 5 times in just one post.  Each block is usually 2-4 sentences tops.


Once all the text is written, it is time to set the size of the images, and then make tags for the subjects.  I realized a while back that it was very important to include multiple subject tags for each posts, so that it would be easier for me to find pertinent posts for answering all the questions that I get on facebook every day.  At least 5-12 come in on a daily basis, and having this "Library of Wappelville" is very handy!!

Now you have a better sense of why I started up the patreon page, as keeping this particular resource going is a 14-20 hour a week investment.  Here's a link to the page.  I am hoping to add some more special things, like Painting Pyramid video 'packages' with brushes and materials, etc.

Many thanks to all who have contributed!!!



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Desert Sands



This live session was done to show how you can create your own oil washes, and use those alongside the Mig Ammo oil washes.  In addition, I tried to show how you can make regular oil paints the same consistency as the Mig Ammo OilBrushers, and use them together!

Finally, I wanted people to see that using oils on miniatures and vehicles allows you do do all sorts of wonderful mixing techniques right on the figure!  Here's a link:



All too often, I see people using oils on a vehicle, but not take advantage of that ability to do such mixing right on the figure.  This is very different from acrylics, and it only makes sense to fully utilize these differences.

On the right is a StuG that was "Primer Painted" with the usual Badger Stynlrez primers.  In the upper corner is an Italian M13 tank that was painted during a google hangout session, and to the left was the Panzer III which was done during the facebook live painting session.  You can see that the basic framework of lights and darks are similar, but the oils have provided more variations in tone, etc.


Even on a 'tan' vehicle, there are many color differences, especially if I want to show the primary weathering of the desert, and that is sun bleaching of the paint.


I hope to do many more of these live demonstrations, as they are very fun, and people can get a deeper view into what goes into these techniques.  I will be doing a standard pictorial blog post on painting the M13 as well, so stay tuned!

If you can possibly contribute to the patreon page, it will go a long way to making more time available for the 2-3 hour live demonstrations!  Many thanks to those who already have!!



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Keeping Secrets


It's no secret that in the last year, I have been using the Secret Weapon paints more and more and more.  There are a number of reasons for this, but the main progenitor of this evolution in materials has to do with using the Badger airbrush products at a greater and greater level.

In particular, the use of the airbrush and Stynlrez primers  for executing my Shaded Basecoat technique on a massive scale has meant a corresponding rise in the amount of glazing that must be done.

Since the Secret Weapon paints are designed with glazing in mind, they are the ideal material to go along with the Reaper Clear paints and the Reaper Liner paints.


This banner is a classic example, where a watercolor style technique was utilized with a variety of Secret Weapon weathering paints.


While this looks like complete chaos, the paints are actually designed to work this way.  That is, have a moistened surface and 'drop' the paints into it, allowing them to mix on their own to create some very nice random effects.   This is particularly useful on any kind of worn or weathered surface, such as this banner.


Once the paint dries, you can see that it levels off on its own, and makes some wonderful subtle effects.


This article will continue on with some of the glazing process, as I further enhance and deepen the shadows in the metals.


Anyone who has seen my Glazing video knows that I love to mix lighter 'opaque' paints with mediums such as the Vallejo washes.  This will create a semi-opaque color which is fantastic for various shades in the "middle tone" region.

When mixed, the lighter opaque color becomes 'suspended' in that wash medium, and it allows me to do some interesting things.


You can see how the handle of the weapon has been painted with this 'wash', and how I have some interesting color variations right off the bat to emphasize with further weathering.


I did this on all of the beastmen's weapons and loincloth plates.

Then I took that mix a little further by adding some seafoam green to it, as shown in the right hand image.  As that previous layer was still wet, I could go back in and add several new lighter tones... but they were all semi-translucent.

Yes, a light wash or glaze can actually be a lighter color!


Now to darken the metals.  I used one of the deeper slate blue colors from Secret Weapon, along with Blue Liner paint from Reaper.  These blueish tones would be essential for making the secondary applications of rust look that much "warmer".  The color temperature game is very important if you want subtle forms of contrast!


Both of these colors can be thinned down to very extreme levels, which is why I like them so much.  As the initial glaze of the medium Secret Weapon dark was still wet, I could introduce a bit of the Blue Liner into the deepest crevices.  I will be doing a technique like this in reverse when it comes time to add that rust.


After all the metals had been completed, I went back in to some of the fur and skin areas that needed a similar addition of darker glazes.  This was mostly done with the Reaper Brown Liner paint.  I could glaze in very targeted zones where I needed the deepest shadows.


I also love my Vallejo fluorescent colors!  I have many blog posts that cover these, as well as a few of my Painting Pyramid series.  Ask me about the Object Source Lighting video and the You might even say it Glows video, which covers the fluorescent paint in even more depth.


After adding the semi-fluorescent Eye of Balor to the belt pieces (which was done on all the other figures from this particular army), I was ready to move on to some weathering of the metals!  Stay tuned for the next episode which will cover that in depth.

As always, any contribution to the Patreon Fund is appreciated, and allows me to create more of these how to articles.  These take a lot more time to create than most blog posts, as I try to retrace my steps into something that is concise and useful!

Many thanks:



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Forest Mist


The second episode in the painted backdrop series begins with the second section, which was the "moveable" version, or the free standing piece that could work on either side.


I have published a few articles already on how to match your terrain to your mats.  This mat by Table War has some very rich greens, particularly along the edges.  This meant that I had to make some adjustments to my backdrops.

This was a happy accident, because I needed to go lighter and warmer anyway to make the "forward" edge of my backdrop come forward!


This is what 12 feet of painted backdrops looks like!

Again, using the Badger paints and primers was very useful, working with the Patriot 105.  The misty nature of the scenes is necessary to make this flat upright board flow into the background instantly.


When I placed my new backdrops  next to the mat (from Table War), I saw that I needed to make some adjustments.  This was not a surprise, and you will see how those corrections were made later in the post.


It was nice to get the first views of the backdrop behind all the terrain that I had worked so hard to create!


In this image, you can get a real sense of how I tried to mimic the appearance of the "real" terrain on the backdrops.  Gently rolling hills and clumps of trees off in the distance would be an ideal image to have in the backdrops of all my battle report images.


I was very happy with the way the two sections blended together at the joint.  Even at this '"open" end, it was blending in quite nicely.


The advantage of having those corner hills meant that I could hold the corners together very well, and hide a lot of the seam.  The downside of that was that I had to make the horizon line a little higher to compensate... making it more difficult to get that far distance flattening of the landscape on those backdrops.


These ground level views are the entire reason why I wanted the backdrops.  When I take the images of what is happening on these battlefields, this will be the primary 'cinematic' angle.  Constant images from the bird's eye view get very boring in a hurry!


I still can't believe how it has affected the colors of my terrain and the mat.  Before the backdrop, the colors seemed burned out in some places, or grayish.  I really loved this surprise!  I knew that I was using some nice rich greens and browns on my terrain, but it was not until now that I saw this.


Troops moving through these woods will have an extra level of realism to be sure!


This trail that was part of the battle mat was nearly invisible from this angle prior to the addition of the backdrops.


At this point, I did make some adjustments to my terrain pieces, just as I would do on the backdrops.  I used the airbrush to add the same brighter greens to the edges of my hills and forest sections which would echo that on the battle mat.

I even sprayed some color on the tree foliage, which made a dramatic difference on some of the sections which did not get as much coverage of the flock on top of the original moss.


As I looked at how the various areas of the backdrop meshed with the terrain board, it was clear that the scatter terrain I mentioned would be necessary.  I thought that I would experiment with a few items that I had available.

Some of this were pieces of grassy 'carpeting' which will be used for farm fields.  It was easy to cut these leftover strips into irregular shapes to place at these seams.  The clumping flock from Woodland Scenics could be piled on top of this to create some instant terrain.


Here are a few images of how this worked out.  I will definitely make some more special corner sections of trees and bushes for these areas, which will be the next tutorial on this board.

Once again, if these articles are helpful, it would be great if any contribution could be made to the Patreon page: