Monday, October 31, 2011

Colette Du Bois Crew

Here is a Malifaux crew that I painted recently. I used some rather bright colors on this crew, so it was important to line all of the areas to keep the minis looking crisp.

For the stockings on Collete Du Bois and Cassandra, I decided that harlequin diamonds would be pretty appropriate. When I went to shade this freehand, I treated them similar to the way I would treat jewel effects (ie, highlighting up towards the bottom).

Another point of interest is that I actually lined the lips. I do not always do this because I often want makeup to fade into the face, but I found that in this instance it allowed me some added expression on the faces (lining the lips allows you to alter the line of the mouth to extend it in a number of ways that create an expression). That is something I'll definitely be doing more of.








Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cake Topper Craziness

Ok, those of you who follow this blog quite a bit will know that I make cake toppers for people- and most of the ones I make are zombies or zombie fighters. I mean, nothing says we're in it for the long haul like "I'll fight off a horde of zombies with you."

I usually match the bride and groom, and make some zombies for them to battle. I was a little surprised when one of my clients decided to take this to the next level: the zombies are all members of the wedding party!

So, here are a few of the ones that I got to make for this group:





(father of the bride)


The happy couple (it looks like he's taking on his new father in law)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lining your minis to make them 'pop'

When I first started painting (many moons ago) I learned of a technique called black lining. Basically, when you have two light colors right next to one another, the boundary between them tends to get lost, and the mini looses crispness. So, back then, the plan was to put a thin black line between the two colors, which helps them to be distinct.

Now, if you think about it for a minute, you may realize that those same lines dividing your bright colors can be used to divide other colors in the same way. Sure, you may simply want to put your darkest shading at the borders of your color, but if you try it, you'll find that outlining each portion of your mini will work some wonders.

Here is an example of a mini without an outline.

All together, there's nothing wrong with any particular color- all of them have pretty strong contrasts and decent blending. But altogether, this mini doesn't pop- and the reason is because his areas all blend into one another. Now look what happens when we add dividing lines onto the same mini:


Altogether, the lines add a crispness that he was missing without them. Each of the areas is very distinct from the others.

Now, this mini's black lines were added after he was fully painted- and as a result the lines are thicker- giving him a sort of cartoon/comic-book look.

For more realistic looks, try lining as you go. With this technique, it becomes more important that you paint the mini in a proper order.

Think of it as dressing- start with the skin, then go to the next layer of clothing up, and continue from there.

Here is a mini that uses black lines in this way:


The lines on his cloak are probably still thicker than they need to be, but overall, the effect is working quite well.

Among the top painting meta, lining is one of those techniques people just assume you use (really, go check out Marike Reimer's gallery and try to find an area she didn't outline). Note that she doesn't usually use black, but rather uses dark versions of the colors she's lining. Lining with other colors takes a little bit of the edge off of the outlines- it helps the mini look less like a comic and more realistic.

So try lining a mini with dark browns, or using extremely dark versions of the color that you are outlining, or black if you prefer the comic book look. Ultimately, you'll find that all of those little bits on the mini really start to stand out and pop.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Super Dungeon Explore pre-orders are up

Although a lot of people had the opportunity to pre-order their copies of Super Dungeon Explore at Gencon and Pax, there are many more people who either don't go to the cons, or didn't pre-order there.

Finally, Sodapop Miniatures have opened up for general pre-orders. And if you did not attend the cons, this will probably be your only chance to get the limited edition SDE version of Candy and Cola.


For those of you who've missed the hype, Super Dungeon Explore is a miniatures board game dungeon crawler in the tradition of such classics like Space Crusade or Heroquest, with a bit more of a Gauntlet feel.

From their Gencon demo, I could tell that the guys at Soda Pop really know what they're doing- and they've made a dungeon crawler that doesn't take itself too seriously. The game comes with over fifty super cute chibi heroes and monsters, along with a fairly large dragon as a boss fight.