Sunday, 7 October 2018

Sloppity Bilepiper Part 1

After all the upset and upheaval that happened over the summer it feels very good to be painting minis again! I’ve not been able to establish a regular routine for my painting as yet but that’s to be expected. With Mark at home recovering (and not yet fully able to enjoy his retirement) life is still a bit topsy-turvy for us both.

Bearing this in mind I decided to start a ‘fun’ project that would not require too much concentration and time. Horticulus Slimux and Mulch most certainly will and I’ll need to be fully back up-to-speed before I return to them. As it happens I already had a Sloppity Bilepiper assembled and base coated because I’d intended to paint him before the Isharan Tidecaster grabbed my attention. The Sloppity Bilepiper is the perfect mini for my current needs.

As well as being a fun miniature it hads the advantage of providing me with some familiar Nurgley subject matter. That meant that I could just dive right in and get painting. I’ve used the same techniques on the Bilepiper’s flesh tones as I used on all my other Plaguebearers. The only real difference is in the colour palette I’ve used. Instead of featuring green as the dominant colour I’ve experimented with a yellow flesh tone. Yellow can be used as a happy cheerful colour and it somehow seemed appropriate for a creature infected with the comedic fever of the Chortling Murrain!

In practice the colours used vary little from the combination of red/pink, blue and yellow over a Rakarth Flesh base that I’ve used before for my ‘human’ flesh tones (see below). The difference is in the proportions of those colours. I’ve built up a series of glazes going from yellow (Games Workshop Iyanden Darksun) through red (Scale Colour Antares Red) to a dark brown (Scale Colour Black Leather). This gave me my global shadows and colours. I then built up the highlights over the glazes using a combination of Iyanden Darksun and Flayed One Flesh (Games Workshop). In addition to the highlights this stage is where I build up the textures.

With the bulk of the highlights and shading done I then went back to fine tune everything with further glazes and highlighting. At this point I’ve use a little of the red from the Scale Colour Inktense range to increase the saturation in some of the shadows and mid-tones.

Fingers crossed this project will help ease me back into a more regular painting routine and serve as a stepping stone to my bigger projects.

Monday, 27 August 2018

The finished Isharann Tidecaster

Apologies for my absence! If you’ve been following me on Facebook you may have read that my partner Mark has been very unwell and in hospital for the past month. Obviously Mark is my top priority and I was effectively ‘offline’ for the duration.

Thankfully Mark is now much recovered and back home where he belongs. My hobby time is still limited but it’s time to start the ball rolling again. So without further ado here is my long delayed, but finally finished, Isharann Tidecaster!

Monday, 16 July 2018

Isharann Tidecaster - Colour palette.

It became clear to me that I was not going to get my Tidecaster finished in time for the Golden Demon Age of Sigmar event at the end of June. To my own surprise I was OK with this because I'd rather finish her properly in my own time and to the standard I want.

I had a great time at the Open Day. I wasn't sure how I would feel, attending and not competing, but it meant I was far more relaxed than usual! I was able to enjoy meeting up with everyone and having a good old natter. It was nice not to have thoughts of 'how have I done in the comp?' running through the back of my mind all day.

The Tidecaster is now, in spite of the hot weather messing up my painting, very nearly finished. Before all is done I thought I’d share my thoughts about the colour palette I’ve used.

The colours used on my Tidecaster’s costume are primarily blue/green and gold. This could very easily look like a traditional High Elven colour scheme so the challenge is to give it a sinister twist suitable for the Idoneth Deepkin. I’ve tried to do this by keeping the colours dark and cold. That seems like an appropriate approach for a race who dwell in the cold inky depths.

Global highlight and shade

The first step in achieving the desired atmosphere is the selection of my global highlight and shade colours. I would usually feature a warm/cool contrast in these colours but in this instance both colours have a cool hue.

My global shade colour is a dark green/blue. I often pick Vallejo Dark Sea Blue for this but I wanted a matt finish so I have mixed an equivalent colour myself.

Global Shade mix: Scale Colour - Flat Black, Scale Colour – Boreal Tree Green, Scale Colour – Navy Blue and Vallejo Dark Sea Blue 
Global highlight colour: Citadel Layer - Deepkin Flesh

Sea Green

The dominant colour group on the Tidecaster is a range of blues and greens. Within this range I’ve used a variety of colours to suggest the shifting blue and green tones of an undersea environment.

Scale Colour - Boreal Tree Green  
Scale Colour - Boreal Tree Green Navy Blue  
Scale Colour – Caribbean Blue  
Citadel Base – Thousand Sons  
Citadel Edge – Baharroth Blue  
Citadel Layer – Kabalite Green

These colours have been used on the cloak, statuary, costume and the fish.

The blues and greens have been used in varying proportions over the entire model but especially on the cloak, statuary, costume and the fish. The foundation of the blue/green is a mix of Scale Colour Boreal Tree Green and Navy Blue. This creates a dark but extremely saturated hue. To lighten and brighten this mix I’ve used a combination of various blue and turquoise hues in my mid-tones.

It’s worth mentioning that many blue and green paints have very strong pigments that can easily overpower a mix. When using these colours proceed with caution until you can see how they behave.

Cold Gold

This sounds like a contradiction in terms as gold is usually thought of as a warm colour. However, the gold I am using on my Tidecaster has a comparatively cool hue. This is achieved by the combination of black and yellow and it results in an olive green mid-tone. This has a far colder hue than a gold with brown mid-tones.

Cold gold fits well with the cold blue/green cast of my overall colour palette. It also helps to create the darker, more sinister, feel I am after. In addition to a cool hue I wanted my gold to utilise an extreme range of tones going from pure black to pure white. This is by way of an experiment because I’ve never used such a strong tonal contrast in my NMM before. It also helps to create a hard and harsh feel to my gold reinforcing the overall atmosphere.

All of the metalics on the Tidecaster feature tiny blue reflection points in the shadows. These blue accents bring colour contrast to the otherwise monochromatic metals. They also unite the metalics with the colour palette suggesting the cold light of the overall environment.

I’ve used black shadows rather than my global shade colour for the gold armour in order to avoid the mid-tones becoming too saturated a green tone.

Base/Shadows: Scale Colour - Flat Black  
Mid-tones: Scale Colour - Flat Black and Scale Colour – Sahara Yellow  
Highlights: Scale Colour – Sahara Yellow and Citadel Layer – Deepkin Flesh  
Extreme Highlights: Scale Colour Fantasy and Games – Purity White.  
Colour accents: Citadel Base – Thousand Sons Blue and Scale Colour – Adriatic Blue

Flesh tones

The flesh tones are the warmest part of the colour palette but even these have been cooled down to reflect the undersea feel. I’ve used my usual ‘pale human’ flesh tone palette but I’ve left out any yellow tones. The theory being that the cool (blueish) light source will filter out the yellow tones.

Base: Citadel Base – Rackarth Flesh  
Shadow: Citadel Base – Rhinox Hide (a very small amount)  
Mid-Tones: Citadel Base – Rackarth Flesh  
Citadel Base – Bugman’s Glow  
Citadel Edge – Baharroth Blue  
Highlights: Scale Colour (Fantasy Games) – Moonray Flesh


The final colour in my Tidecaster’s palette is purple. This serves as a spot colour to bring a stronger contrast to the yellow and blues. I might have chosen red for this but purple fits better with the overall cool palette.

The purple I’ve use is Liche Purple (I found an old pot in the back of my draw) lightened with Flayed One Flesh and darkened with the global shade colour.

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.