Friday, 15 June 2018

Isharann Tidecaster Part 1

When I choose which miniatures to paint I do it by gut instinct. A miniature will grab my attention and inspire me to paint it. My best work has always come from that initial burst of enthusiasm, without which I would quickly lose momentum!



Over the years, I’ve displayed a distinct preference for certain types of models. I’m known for my Nurgle themed minis but I’ve also painted quite a few elves in their various guises. In addition I’ve been drawn to models with a nautical, or undersea, theme on several occasions.


So there are no prizes for guessing what this is leading up to because the recent release of the new Idoneth Deepkin was bound to capture my attention. After much deliberation I decided to paint the Isharann Tidecaster.

I’ve chosen this model first and foremost because I really like the ornate armour, dramatic pose and striking base. But I was specifically looking for a single character model to paint, rather than anything larger, as a comparatively quick project. Put simply it’s what I fancied doing before I return to Horticulus Slimux and Mulch!

The Deepkin are a fascinating new twist on the Aelves and their conflicted dual nature. Once there were clear choices between High, Wood or Dark Elves but now the old definitions are gone and the boundaries seem blurred!

Right from the start I wanted to go with a dark, sinister scheme for my Tidecaster something that would help to convey the idea of the cold inky depths. I also knew that my scheme would feature lots of saturated blue and green tones. This would reinforce the atmosphere while bringing some variation to a dark colour palette.


My overall colour scheme has a cool blue/green cast to it, evoking an under sea feel, but it needs some contrast. In order to give the blues and greens an extra pop, I’m using purple worked into the shadows. This gives my blues an oily/iridescent look. But the strongest colour contrast comes from the armour.

Silver would seem to be the obvious choice but I decided to go with gold! I wanted a little bling for the scheme and gold will certainly provide that. It also provides a strong colour contrast to the blue tones.


A potential problem with all this blue and gold is that it could look very ‘High Elven’ and ‘good’. That’s countered by the overall darkness and also by the gold tone I’ve decided to use. Like the Abyssal Warlord this model features a cold gold tone. I’ve also gone for a dramatic high contrast look with almost pure black shadows. This is something I’ve wanted to try for a while and the Tidecaster gives me the perfect opportunity.

The high contrast cold gold is a little tricky to get right but I like how it’s beginning to look in the context of the overall scheme. The Tidecaster is perhaps the least sinister looking of the new Idoneth Deepkin models but I think I’ve managed to catch something of their inner darkness with my scheme.

Next time I’ll look in more detail at the colours I’ve used in my palette to create my Deepkin colour scheme.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Exploring contrast in miniature painting

I’ve just got back from a thoroughly enjoyable time teaching my second workshop at Element Games in Stockport. It was great fun but after 18 hours on the go, plus the five hour drive each way, I’m taking a couple of days to chill!


Understanding the importance of contrast in miniature painting and taking control of it is vital. Over the course of the weekend we examined different types of contrast, degrees of contrast and comparative contrast with regards to painting miniatures. Contrast is the foundation of every paintjob and it helps to create a focal point, impact, visibility, character and atmosphere.

While my workshop contained plenty of theory and demonstrations, I like to get everyone painting their own miniature as soon as possible! The aim was not to be going home with a finished miniature but to gain some useful theory, techniques and, most importantly in my view, experience. Painters can then build upon this experience and apply it to their own projects.


The focus for Saturday was on the use of tone and colour to create contrast.

We looked at:

• ways of establishing global lighting/contrast on a painted miniature

• colour theory and different types of colour contrast

• how tone and colour can be used to create an effective colour scheme.

On the Saturday evening I delivered a seminar titled ’10 top tips, tricks and techniques’. This was an illustrated presentation where I discussed some of my favorite ‘tricks of the trade’ and demonstrated how I had applied them to my own projects. In a new development from last year, Element Games live streamed the seminar via their Facebook page.


During Sunday we continued to develop the colour schemes we had created and explored other types of contrast using various techniques and materials. This included:

• painting texture and detail

• True metallic versus Non metallic metals

• Surface finishes - matt/gloss/satin

• a highly worked versus loosely worked finish and using this contrast to create a focal point

• adding textures and special effects to a painted miniature.



We rounded the weekend off by looking at ways of bringing together the different types of contrast on the same model to achieve a balanced effect and create overall impact.

I was impressed to see how thoroughly everyone committed to the weekend and applied themselves to the exercises I set. One of the most rewarding aspects for me was to see the total variety of colour schemes and types of contrast that the painters had created! No two Poxwalkers were alike but all of them utilized the aspects of contrast we’d discussed.






Monday, 14 May 2018

Warhammer Fest and Golden Demon Classic 2018

I had a brilliant day on Sunday! In fact I can safely say this has been my favorite Warhammer Fest to date. As usual the day sped by in no time at all. But I managed to catch up with, and chat to a whole ton of great folk, and see some fantastic painted minis! I spent so much time talking I had a sore throat by the end of the day and had to partake of a little gin purely for medicinal, and celebratory, purposes.

Chatting to Slayer Sword Winner Angelo Di Chello about, among other things, Horticulus Slimux.

Of course the main focus of my day was the Golden Demon Classic but I very nearly didn’t enter it this year! I like to have a bit of structure to my painting year. I can, and very often do, change my plans; but, overall, I’ve a good idea of the projects I’ll be undertaking. However, my painting schedule got away from me last summer and I never really got back on top of it. Put simply I took on too many projects that I hadn’t planned for.

I did harbour the notion of painting a single mini for Golden Demon once Salute was done. But when that time came I realized that I needed to focus my energies elsewhere. Instead of painting another competition entry I turned my attention to my, rapidly approaching, contrast workshop at Element Games. I wanted to familiarize myself with the Poxwalker miniatures as this will be the first time that I use them in one of my workshops.

As I said back in early March ‘I’m going with the flow and enjoying my painting for it's own sake!’ and the Poxwalker proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable little project. I was turning him around in a short time but without deadline pressures or competition expectations. I was able to explore a colour combination/contrast that I’ve been thinking about for the best part of a year and the yellow/purple scheme took me out of my Nurgle colour comfort zone to good effect!


My poxwalker in gloriously grusome closeup!

As Warhammer Fest drew closer I began to regret that I didn’t have an entry for the painting comp. I was looking forward to the day but I also felt like I’d be missing out on the experience by not taking part. The soloution may seem very obvious but I couldn’t realy see it myself! I’ve a habit of being very focused in my thinking and I saw the Poxwalker as a demo model for my workshop. Even though he was finished, and I was extremely pleased with how he had turned out, I didn’t think he was a suitable mini for Golden Demon!



It took my mate Lee to point out the folly in my thinking so on the Thursday before Warhammer Fest I decided to enter my Poxwalker into 40K single mini. I instantly felt better about going but within ten minutes the pre show nerves kicked in, so then it really felt like Golden Demon!

I was hopeful rather than confident that my Poxwalker might do well, but I felt I was pushing my luck with such a ‘simple’ model. The temptation with Golden Demon is to go all out with the fancy basing, conversions and paint effects. I didn’t think that was wise, or appropriate, with this model and I was relying on the quality of my painting to get me through. But when all is said and done that’s really what it’s all supposed to be about.


Posing with my trophy for GW's photographer (it's a glamorous life) while Judge Max Faleij looks on.

My hopes were not to be dashed because the Poxwalker won Silver in a tough category, and I’m more than happy about it! Though physically tired I’m feeling inspired, refreshed and re-enthused for the painting year ahead! All in all the day has served me a valuable reminder that ‘success’ in my chosen hobby isn’t only about golden trophies and Slayer Swords.

There is a lot to be said for just doing your best and taking part!

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Exploring contrast in miniature painting

Since Salute I’ve been painting a Poxwalker in preparation for my next workshop so I’m very happy to be able to announce that tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Sproket's Painting Masterlcass at Element Games


Exploring contrast in miniature painting 

 

The importance of contrast in miniature painting cannot be overstated. I will be teaching my approach to this subject and demonstrate how I have applied it to my miniatures. The workshop will consist of a combination of theory, demonstrations and practical experience.


Timetable:

Friday 1st June 12noon – 11pm
The Element Games Shop, Bar and Gaming Centre will be open for casual painting and gaming. Masterclass participants will be able to collect their Pox Walkers and can assemble and prep the model ready for the morning. If you can’t make the Friday don’t worry as time will be available Saturday morning for assembly.

Saturday 3rd June 10.00am – 5.30pm
The focus for day one will be on the use of colour & tone to create contrast.
  • Introduction with a (very) brief background and history.
  • Establishing global lighting/contrast
  • Discussing colour theory & the colour wheel
  • Creating a colour scheme
Saturday Evening 7pm – 10pm
Painting Seminar. 'My 10 favorite painting materials and techniques'
A presentation showing how and where I have used my favorite materials and techniques on my award winning models. Followed by a Q&A session.

Anyone can join the Seminar but if they’re not part of the Masterclass there will be a fee to pay on entry (TBA)

Sunday 4th June 10.00am – 5.30pm
During day two we will continue to develop our colour schemes and explore other types of contrast using different techniques and materials.
  • Painting texture & freehand detail
  • True metallic/Non metallic metals
  • Surface finish - matt/gloss/satin
  • Finish – highly worked/loosely worked and creating a focal point
  • Adding texture & special effects to a painted miniature
We will round the weekend off by looking at ways to bring together different types of contrast on the same model and achieve a balanced effect that creates overall impact.

Spaces are limited, you can reserve your spot through the Element Games Webstore

https://elementgames.co.uk/Sproket-PM2018




Sunday, 15 April 2018

Salute 2018


It’s been a long busy Easter, but it’s also been a very good one! The two week break started on Easter weekend with my partner Mark breaking up from school (he’s a teacher) and our friend Terry arriving to spend a long weekend. Then, on the Thursday, Mark, myself and our friends Sue and David flew off to Athens for a five day break where, by a quirk of contrasting religious calendars, we had Easter weekend all over again! Athens is a city I’ve long wanted to visit and it didn’t disappoint. We hit the ground running hiking up various rocky outcrops and roaming the streets to visit the monuments. Then on the final weekend of the Easter break there was Salute 2018!


I was already a little weary going into the day and this year Salute seemed bigger, noisier and hotter than ever! But I had a great time and really enjoyed the opportunity to meet up with my fellow painters and hobbyists. Of course from my perspective the main event was the painting competition.

In my last post I wrote about how I revisited my Abyssal Warlord to improve the details on his cloak fixings. I did this specifically because I wanted to enter him in the painting comp at Salute. One of my major personal painting goals since returning to the hobby has been to expand my range to include larger scale models. It’s been quite a learning curve!


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I’m very pleased with the paint jobs I’ve produced. But this has been a journey to an aspect of the hobby where I had no prior experience and it’s taken me out of my comfort zone. So much the better for my development and growth but it’s had its frustrations!

I’ve had to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes. I quickly realized that I couldn’t simply apply what I’d do on a 35mm mini to a bust. Over the last four years I’ve tried to introduce a touch of realism into my painting of larger scale models. It’s a subtle shift but I’ve found it can make a huge difference! It’s an approach that’s spilled out into all of my painting and I think the result can be seen in my painting of the Death Guard and Horticulous Slimux.

I was surprised at just how nervous I felt the morning before Salute this year. I’ve had some competition success over the last few years with my larger scale projects winning a couple of bronzes and a silver. Gold, however, has eluded me and Gold is the standard I want to achieve! I had hopes that I might pull it off with the Warlord but the standard was high and there was some stiff competition in the cabinet. So I braced myself for a disappointment.


I finally did it and the Abyssal Warlord won me a Gold in the Large Scale category! I have a huge feeling of achievement and pride to have finally achieved my ambition.

There is, of course, so much more to learn and I’ve still got a long way to go on this particular painting journey. But I feel I’ve reached a significant landmark from which I can continue to develop. I need to step up my game and level up on the neglected, but not forgotten, Akito bust!