Sunday, 27 July 2014

Back to drawing again after a short hiatus

As the song goes ... I can't stop this feeling, deep inside of me ... I just had to pick up my pencils and draw again. Used previously on the Quentin Tarantino movie Reservoir Dogs, an old TV hit Ally McBeal and soon on an upcoming Marvel movie, Hooked on a Feeling is love song but it nonetheless aptly describes my interest in drawing since young. That I wasn't very good at it wasn't the point, what mattered was that drawing made me happy. Sadly, young children nowadays are more likely to have an iPad or tablet in between their hands rather than the old fashioned pencil and paper.          

Back to drawing again and it feels alright ...

As I am still in my portrait drawing phase, I sought out a photo reference that would ease me back to drawing as my skills were fairly rusty. The printout of Emma Stone you see above had well defined hair and reasonably straightforward facial features, so it became the subject matter of my tenth portrait practice piece. Surprisingly, despite nearly three months without drawing, I had somehow gotten much better at drawing proportions of facial features i.e. eyes, nose, mouth, cheek, etc. I guess the break from all pencil-related activity did me some good after all and broke me out of a rut.

Getting the proportions right - faint guide lines for Portrait Practice #10: Emma Stone

Main work on this particular piece started with the patient addition of tonal values, one strand at a time to the hair. At this point in time my drawing of Emma Stone's hair is much lighter than the one in the photo reference. I plan to leave it this way for now until I've had the chance to shade her face.

Working on realistic hair from left to ...
... right using a combination of Derwent and Staedtler graphite pencils

While it would be tempting to say that I have finished with the hair, that couldn't be further from the truth. Further tweaking awaits once I finish shading Emma's face because I would then have to make value adjustments to her hair (most likely darker) to make the whole drawing 'look right'. 

Portrait Practice #10 - Work-in-progress on Emma Stone's hair

So as it stands now,  the hair is about 80% complete with the rest to follow once the face is done. To my Malaysian readers who are celebrating the festive period, I would like to wish you Selamat Hari Raya. Otherwise, just enjoy the weekend off from the drudgeries of corporate backstabbing.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Knight Models Spider-Man [WIP - NYC Chequered Taxi]

With most of my free time spent helping out my son with revision work for his mid-terms, I have barely had any time to myself to indulge in painting miniatures. During the snippets of hobby time that I managed to partake in, I did nonetheless manage to complete the base for the 1/28th scale Knight Models Spider-Man miniature, which is a 1960's New York City chequered yellow taxi.

Knight Models Spider-Man base - New York City taxi with a 1960's design
A miniature version of the yellow taxi that I had based my colour scheme on

That I managed any progress at all for the taxi was helped by the fact I had a sudden inspiration on what colours to use for the windshield and side-door windows. Painting them in shades of grey would have been a yawn-fest and I was at first stumped on what colours to use. Then I had a vivid childhood flashback of a case of empty soda bottles that had this bluish-green hue to them. With that little bit of random memory dredged up from the depths of my mind, I could finally finish painting the base and can now proceed with the latest subject matter of my Marvel Universe project i.e. Spider-Man.  

An 'off duty' signage sits atop the taxi
Taxi windshield and windows were painted in shades of bluish-green
Orange lamp on the signage atop the taxi was painted using techniques I normally apply to a gem

More work was done on the yellows since the last update with shadows and highlights added to the mid-tone. Other than that, the metal portions of the taxi were painted with a few simple metallic grey colours and finished off with a black wash for added depth. The signage on top of the taxi's roof had the words 'OFF DUTY' painted in white while the orange lamp attached to it was painted using a technique usually reserved for jewels and gems. Orange fitted nicely into the overall colour scheme.

Angled top-front view of the New York City yellow taxi
Side-view mirror was painted in lighter shades
I was going for a comic book feel of the taxi and I think I achieved that at least. Even tougher tasks lie ahead with the actual figure of Spider-Man to paint but I am happy with the start I have gotten.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

SDE Royal Paladin [WIP - Armour, Shield, Cloak & Hilt]

As fun as the Super Dungeon Explore miniature project has been so far, the very thought of painting the Royal Paladin board game piece had actually filled me with a fair bit of apprehension. This was because it forced me to face some of my biggest fears in the hobby: painting smooth whites and realistic non-metallic metal (NMM). Both techniques are weaknesses I am working on to improve.

Super Dungeon Explore Royal Paladin (work-in-progress)
Royal Paladin playing card with original colour scheme

For the Royal Paladin's cloak, I used an old recipe (found in White Dwarf #370) meant for a High Elf's cloak. For some reason or other, I have rarely had the chance to work on blending and layering darker blue colours. So although the results you see below show pretty rough colour transitions, it's still experience under the belt. I might still be tempted to revisit the cloak and smoothen out colour transitions as well as add some freehand designs to the fringes. But for now I am just too darn lazy!

Cloak could use some freehand designs on the fringes but still look good without
Putting gloss varnish on the gem embedded on the sword hilt was a mistake
Sword blade will need to be painted using non-metallic metal (NMM) technique

Although I have always tried to stay true to the original colour schemes shown in the board game playing cards, this time around I am taking the sword hilt and blade in an entirely different direction i.e. reddish brown for the hilt (as opposed to gold) and bluish-turquoise for the blade (as opposed to just plain grey metal). Also in hindsight, putting a gloss varnish on the gems found on the hilt was not the smartest thing I could have done as it negated the specific highlights I had painted on them.  

Two fold difficulty in painting armour - getting contrast for white and achieving realistic NMM
Front of the Royal Paladin's cloak turned out better than the back portion

With the Royal Paladin's sword blade still to paint, I have one more shot at getting the NMM to look realistic, or at least better than the armour and shield. I am also still trying to figure out how to blend yellows to look like bleached blonde hair. That and trying to get the correct shade of green for his eyes and skin tone for his face. While the Paladin is the most challenging Super Dungeon Explore piece I have worked on to date, the project remains a gratifying attempt at painting anime figures.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

A walk down memory lane via an online gallery

Whilst creating an online gallery to showcase my 'art' work, I was also taken down memory lane to the very first miniatures I attempted to paint way back in 2011. Little did I know way back then that my involvement in this hobby would turn out to be a long-lasting love affair. I also included some drawings I made and hopefully in the future I will be able to add sculptures to the mix. 

You can check out the gallery by clicking on the 'Gallery' tab (see photo below), or just simply click on the following link =>

Click the tab labelled 'Gallery' (duh) on the top of the blog to get to my virtual art showcase

Looking at all the 'art' work I have attempted in the past made me realise that I haven't drawn in quite a while now. Hopefully I can rectify that soon or my drawing skills will start to get rusty.

Searching for inspiration to draw again

Thanks for checking out this short blog update. Carpe diem, enjoy your weekend and all that jazz!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Choosing the colours of House Arryn, Game of Thrones

A simple online search reveals a confusing range of colours being used to represent House Arryn, one of the lesser noble houses in George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, more popularly known by the title of his first book Game of Thrones (GoT) in the HBO series. From dark blue to greyish blue to sky blue, I was spoilt for choice and that resulted in my miniature paint conversion project - of the noble houses in Westeros, the world of GoT- stalling for quite a while, until now.

Work-in-progress paint conversion of a Bretonnian warhorse into a House Arryn warhorse
Warhorse now awaits freehand painting of House Arryn heraldy designs

Based on what I could make out from some scenes in the HBO series, I have seen dark blue as well as greyish blue (with a hint of sky blue) being used. The former didn't appeal to me because it was too close to the blue used by House Tully (yet another noble house I plan to paint) while the latter seemed dull. So I settled for a blue that was more light-sky-blue with less greyish-blue undertones. 

Two promising colour schemes for House Arryn

I haven't completely abandoned the idea of using greyish blue in the overall colour scheme- for example on parts of the knight that sits atop the warhorse - but the final decision to go ahead rests on how the metallic greys of the knight's amour will look against the greyish blue hues.

House Arryn warhorse work-in-progress (front and back view)

To obtain the 'light-sky-blue-with-some-greyish-blues' colour scheme I had to use Reaper Master Series paints such as Blue Liner, Ashen Blue, Sky Blue and Ghost White mixed in various ratios.

Blue colour schme used for the House Arryn warhorse

Meanwhile, I added purer forms of sky blue into parts of the House Arryn warhorse (see below) in order to brighten up the whole miniature. The neutral browns of the warhorse's leather reins provide some contrast to the lighter blues. With so much brown already showing up via the leather reins, I then opted to paint the horse grey which in turn complemented the light blue colours as things came full circle. To add a bit of 'pop' to the overall colours, I glued on some bright green grass on the base. 

Purer sky blue colours were added to brighten up the overall look

Two main things remain undone; firstly painting the knight and House Arryn heraldry. Secondly, I foresee a tough challenge in getting the falcon on the knight's arm to look realistic and life-like.

Progress so far on the whole miniature, knight and warhorse of House Arryn

It feels great to finally get my Game of Thrones project underway again. To date, I have only finished knights for House Lannister, House Clegane and House Baratheon. Finishing the knight for House Arryn will make it four with another four nobles houses to choose from the eight-miniatures GW Warhammer Bretonnian Knights set that this project is based on.  Good times lie ahead for sure!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Ax Faction Victorian Darling [Completed]

Having taken forever to paint the Victorian Darling aka Kraken Hunter, I made one final push to complete work on the Ax Faction 32-mm miniature. So with her hat, bustle, pistol and lamp painted and her white vest repainted in teal/turquoise colours - the Victorian Darling is presented below in all her glory, warts and all. She was a challenging piece but one well worth the effort.

Ax Faction Victorian Darling aka Kraken Hunter
Vest was repainted in teal/turquoise to complement her boots
Ax Faction Victorian Darling aka Kraken Hunter, side view (left)

Originally based on an anime character called Squid Girl, the Victorian Darling's colour scheme underwent metamorphosis from a simple white-sky blue combination into something almost unrecognisable that you see before you.  It was based on a wedding theme I saw online (see photo below) that incorporated a orange-teal/turquoise-white-blue-brown colour scheme.

Although changing the Victorian Darling's vest from white to teal/turquoise reduces the contrast between her hair and clothes, I went ahead and did it anyway because the alternative was a badly painted white vest. I couldn't get a decent result for the white vest so its colour had to be changed.

Her long and flowy bustle was well sculpted
Victorian Darling's pistol is kept in a light-orange holster
Red tentacles on the base as well as yellow hat provide some warmth to contrast the clothes' cool colours 

For comparison, I shot a photo of the Victorian Darling without her bustle on. A 360 degree view of her with and without her bustle can be seen in the YouTube video towards the end of this blog post.

Victorian Darling's bustle which was painted greyish-blue
Victorian Darling feeling drafty without her bustle

360 view of Ax Faction's Victorian Darling aka Kraken Hunter
For a 360 degree view of the Ax Faction Victorian Darling 32-mm scale miniature, please check out the YouTube video below. For other videos, please visit my YouTube channel FourEyedMonster Miniatures. Also be sure to choose the high definition (HD) option when viewing the videos.

So yet another fun piece is done and dusted which means one less work-in-progress (WIP) miniature on my paint table. But knowing me and my bad habits, it will likely be replaced by even more new miniatures to paint thus adding to my already overflowing project pipeline. Like the Borg collective, miniatures on my to-do list continue to grow exponentially and resistance is sadly futile. All Star Trek geekery aside, I wish you a pleasant week ahead, or what's left of it anyway.
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