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WIP Critique Young Miniatures LRDG

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by WarhammerAdjacent, Nov 21, 2023.

  1. WarhammerAdjacent Active Member

    Hi all, I picked up this bust a little while ago and decided to start him over the weekend. I wanted to take a different approach to painting the face this time - normally I airbrush on the basic tones and then add the eyes, shadows and highlights over the top. I've beenreading and watching stuff about 'mapping' highlights first and then blending as a way to get more dramatic light effects and I thought I might try it here. It didn't go entirely to plan and I ended up alternating between light and shadow to meet in the middle. As it is I'm reasonably happy with this as a 'base', I'm now going to tweak the highlights and deep shadows to try to make them more directional. I'm not convinced this will be my best work but what I'm really interested in is trying to be a bit more adventurous with lighting effects. At the very least this should have more contrast than I usually get.

  2. Briggsy A Fixture

    Looking good so far, some gentle blending in the mid tones and he'll be there

    Cheers Simon
  3. Rob A Fixture

    Interesting technique, very strong shadows to try and moderate.
    Must be something about this bust that inspires painters to a very high contrast technique. Calvin Tan has a version of this one done that way on his website.
  4. WarhammerAdjacent Active Member

    Part of it in this case is trying to emulate the affect Calvin achieved on his bust, in my own limited way. I really like his rendition, one thing I find interesting is that you can see the brush strokes in places but it works. It's a style I really admire. The other thing is the collar is massive and would put much of his face and neck into shadow. I'm struggling with getting that right without constantly attaching and removing the head, I wish I'd mounted the stick at the top of the head rather than the bottom rather than putting on the hat.
    Nap likes this.
  5. Nap Moderator

    Hi Stefan

    I can think of no better artist to emulate than Calvin Tan

    A good start here and no doubt will improve even more quickly

    Always good to follow your WIP’s

    Looking forward to seeing more

    Happy benchtime

  6. NigelR A Fixture

    For a sketch-based approach, I would say that's a pretty good effort (the photo isn't doing you any favours....;)). Keep going, see how far you can get to what you think works.
    Nap likes this.
  7. Ferris A Fixture

    I can see you used Calvin Tan’s version as a guide. And I think you got the colours right, but I’d suggest thinning your paints a bit more, and letting each application dry before adding a new layer (use a hairdrier to speed up drying). It looks like the paint is slightly too thick now.
    Start with relatively low dilution for a sketch of highlights and shadows, making almost opaque layers (but not too thick ;-). Smooth the result by going over transitions with a higher degree of dilution.
    Keep going!

  8. WarhammerAdjacent Active Member

    Thanks chaps, good advice too. I sort of moved away from the ‘sketch’ approach, it really didn’t feel comfortable and honestly I think I need to sit with someone who knows what they are doing to work through it. I managed some more work today, the pics are slightly better. I think I’ve got most of the work done on the face, now it’s time to play with glazes and so on. I’m not convinced by the beard, more stippling needed there I think.

    IMG_6837.jpeg IMG_6836.jpeg
    Dr Bison, Rob, Babelfish and 3 others like this.
  9. Briggsy A Fixture

    It's definitely coming together now, gentle glazes should pull it all together I reckon.

    Cheers Simon
  10. MalcC A Fixture

    Good progress, as Simon has mentioned, glazes will make a difference.

  11. Babelfish A Fixture

    I think you're on the right track. Taking shape nicely.

    I don't get all this "sketching" and "mapping" stuff, and I gave up trying to emulate the top guys' styles ages ago: (1) Because the top guys whose styles I admire are all far better painters than I'll ever be, so I was always making unfavourable comparisons. And (2) because every time, it was taking me ages trying to follow step this / step that / 3rd highlight / 2nd deep shadow / dilute Mix X a bit more / dilute Mix Z a bit less etcetera etcetera.

    It was all doing my head in and I was finding myself unable to see the woods for the trees, so at some point I decided to just to try and develop my own style while using photos, books, articles etc as a visual guide only, without getting too bogged down in all the theory.

    Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but I find that I learn something new with pretty much every figure, and my painting has improved a lot. Plus there's a bias these days very much in favour of acrylics, and I mainly use oils.

    That's not to say though that I wouldn't jump at the chance to have a 1-on-1 sit-down with someone like Cartacci, Kanaev or Popovichenko. Or even just one of the guys in my own club who've medalled handsomely at various major comps. As you allude to, I think much could be learned from such a scenario. But the odds of it happening are remote.

    - Steve
    Mike - The Kiwi, Rob and Redcap like this.
  12. WarhammerAdjacent Active Member

    I know what you mean. I think there are some techniques you read about etc that work for you, others that don't. It's worth trying new things to see if they work but I'm always a big frustrated if I end up going back to something I'm happier with. That said, this is the first time I've painted a bust without starting with my airbrush so that's new, I also built up the highlights earlier on which I think has made a difference. The nature of the figure means I'll have to make the shadows more stark, although that'll have to wait until it is fitted properly and I think I've managed to give the impression of the light coming from off to one side. We'll have to see how it goes beyond that.
    Rob and Babelfish like this.
  13. Rob A Fixture

    He is starting to come together nicely, as you say you will have to see it fitted to the bust to work out how to finalise the shadows and highlights. Without seeing how the huge collar on that figure affects things it is hard to determine where the direct shadows will fall.

    Your light source seems to be from his upper right frontal which means going lighter/brighter on the side of the head where the collar covers much of the cheek.
    Certainly is a difficult thing to start a completely new technique on a relatively difficult bust like this one.
    Did you consider fully assembling it before starting painting?
  14. WarhammerAdjacent Active Member

    Hi Rob. I did think about fully assembling it but didn't fancy trying to sneak a brush in between the collar and neck, it's pretty tight. In retrospect I should have left the cap off and fixed the holding stick (does it have a technical name?) to the top of the head so that I could fit and remove the head from the body as I painted. That said, I think I've got it to the point where I can paint the coat and then glue the head in place and adjust the highlights and shadows accordingly without having to worry about getting into the tight corners.

    These Young busts are pretty incredible, whilst I don't claim any significant level of skill I find these fairly easy to paint because of the clarity of the detail. I've done a few figures recently where you were pretty much on your own when it came to painting the eyes, locating the cheek bones and so on, none of that here.
    Rob likes this.
  15. Rob A Fixture

    Indeed the Young busts are always eye catching pieces when done. They have natural "imperfection" in the faces which makes for some wonderful characterisation and personality. They seem well suited to the strong contrast painting styles. especially lighting effects, because the detail you mention is so clearly defined.
    The complexity in this one is that collar and how it impacts the light on the face. He could just as easily be an MTB crewman or other naval rating as his colour scheme would be very easy to change.
  16. WarhammerAdjacent Active Member

    With a few tweaks he'd make a cracking commando figure too.
  17. WarhammerAdjacent Active Member

    Made a little more progress. I forgot how hard it is to paint pale sand coloured fabric. I misjudged my paint mixes and initially added shadows that were too brown. I’ve switched to a khaki colour which works better I think. My plan now is to leave it alone for a bit and come back with fresh eyes to ‘tidy up’ with glazes etc

    IMG_6861.jpeg IMG_6860.jpeg IMG_6859.jpeg
    NigelR likes this.
  18. Briggsy A Fixture

    That's coming along rather nicely, some glazing on the coat and he'll be great.

    Cheers Simon
  19. NigelR A Fixture

    Good progress here, keep going.

    Agree, working with lighter colours is harder. Like Simon said, maybe use some glazes to help even out the transitions.....

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