|Search "inspirational" in Google Images, and you too can be greeted by Satan's Gaming-Nightmare Cat-Raptor Pet!|
|Gold in Large Model (54mm and up) in the Crystal Brush |
painting competition at Adepticon 2011- Jen Haley
There are many theories and techniques from fine art that seem to have slipped passed most of the miniature painting community, especially in Britain. I’ve been looking quite critically at my painting recently and looking into how I want to develop and improve by looking at some of the top painters in the world and deciding what I like and then researching how they do it. Three painters have really stood out for me. My first aim was to learn how to paint non-metallic metals. As it happened, I was already painting true metallic metals in virtually the same way so the jump only involved abandoning metallic paint and increasing the contrast across surfaces. With that in mind, the first painter who stood out for me was Jen Haley.
|Space Wolf Priest- Games Workshop- Jen Haley|
I love her use of colour, though I nor anyone else could ever hope to mimic it, but her metal is so subtle that a couple of her miniatures look like they’re painted with metallic paint and others are so convincing, you wouldn’t realise it was painted at all. Metallic paint is something I’m happy to leave behind, though I would still revert to it if a commission called for it, because it doesn’t look like metal. Metallic paint looks like metallic paint, which is lots of little bits of metal. It is too granular for a smooth metal surface and is too coarse and therefore out of scale for most machined metal surfaces.
|Cmdr Stryker- Privateer Press- Jen Haley|
It might pass for metal which has been cooled slowly enough to have very large grains but that’s not what you’d make armour or weapons out of. If an oil painter was painting a suit of armour, they wouldn’t go and pick up a pot of Humbrol Gun Metal would they? They’d paint how the light reflected on its surface just the same as they’d paint glass, silk or any other surface. When our eyes look at a metallic object, they are not picking up some special metal rays that tell them they’re looking at metal, they are picking up the same frequencies of light that bounce off of any other object so we can use appropriately coloured paint to paint highlights and contrast which will tell our eye that it’s a metallic surface. As long as you keep your light source in mind, you can create something that’s convincing enough quite easily.
|Celeborn by Games Workshop-|
Silver Golden Daemon Spain-
The first of the concepts which I’ve picked up from Bonamant is zenithal lighting (I blame a certain dominant miniature company’s studio painters for this being ignored for so long) which is obvious when you’re told about it so why don’t we all paint this way? In brief, most everyday miniature painting uses global highlighting; the miniature is painted as if lit from a light source which is equal from every angle meaning that recesses are in shadow and everything else is lit. This situation is unrealistic and quite artificial to look at, it picks out the detail on the miniature but leaves us with something which will only ever look like a painted miniature, no matter how good we get. Outdoors we’re lit by the sun and indoors we’re usually lit by lights in the ceiling. Therefore we have source lighting from above (or our zenith) and so shadows should sit beneath a detail. If the light source is somewhere else or we have multiple light sources, the same theory still applies but we still don’t have global light. The zenithal or source light concept can be kept very subtle like Ali McVey’s painting to produce very natural looking light or accentuated like a lot of Bonamant’s miniatures in order to create mood and atmosphere. The easiest technique for painting zenithal or source lighting is pre-highlighting, which is something else I learned from Bonamant. This can be done using a white spray paint or in different colours using an airbrush and is pretty much what it sounds like; producing a guide to where light hits the topography of the miniature which can then be established with glazes and highlights.
|"Ruby", from Studio McVey|
|The Exodus- inspired by Games Workshop, sculpts by David|
Bax and Jeremie Bonament
|Viking in the Shadows- Latorre Models- |
|Hector Rex- Forgeworld-|
|Misan- Rackham Models-|