some advice for an amateur please?
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  1. #1
    Newbie, please be gentle calicoJack9's Avatar
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    Default some advice for an amateur please?

    im new to this site, and i see i am way out of my league with you guys, youre all really great. i was hoping some of you might be able to shed some light on my work. i realize im not that great of a sculpter or painter, and most of my work isnt finished, but id appreciate any advice, or critiquing any of you might afford me. im currently in afghanistan, and i dont have any of my figures with me. these pictures are the most recent i have. thank you ahead of time for anything. also, for the life of me, i really cant figure out how to properly sculpt green stuff. my other question would be, how do you properly blend non-metallic paints in order to get it looking like metal(ie brass/gold, and silver)? Name:  164511_186654041357873_62745_n.jpg
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    a good leader can make great soldiers out of anyone, but a poor leader can demoralize the best of troops. <~~general john "black jack" pershing

  2. #2

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    Scuplting is a whole different beast, and one very few people around here really exel at.
    As for NMM, there are two keys. The king is contrast. Without stark color contrast, it just won't look right. The queen would be smooth blending. It's really hard to get top notch NMM if you have bands of color.
    Proud owner of a Cassar!

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  3. #3

    Default Welcome!

    First off; welcome to the forums.

    Though I have no experience with sculpting, I am sure that someone will post some advice. As for painting, as I said on your daemon prince submission, I'm not entirely sure what's going on with your paints, but you're in the right place to improve! There are some good tutorials in the Articles section of this website, though it can be a little bewildering to navigate at times.

    http://www.coolminiornot.com/article...prove-(basics)

    This one has some decent pointers on the basics and is a good place to start. The following two have some good advice on non-metal metallics:

    http://www.coolminiornot.com/article...-nmm-sanguinor
    http://www.coolminiornot.com/article...bronze-and-you

    Also, from experience I can tell you that a wet-palette helps immensely when it comes to blending paints (and I imagine NMM, though I've not tried since getting mine) and are quite easy to make or can be purchased from art supply stores.

    Hope this little bit helps, I'm not the worlds greatest painter (you can check out my WiP thread http://www.coolminiornot.com/forums/...WiP#post642648 here) so my advice is a little limited, but there are a lot of great and very friendly folks around here who will be more than happy to help I'm sure!

    EDIT: One last thing, I really like some of the ideas you have going on in your miniatures; keep it up!
    Last edited by Quiarcus; 10-01-2012 at 07:44 AM.

  4. #4

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    I'm not an expert by any means, but i'll try to give some advice about the painting, since sculpting is not my dish.

    The first 2 things i would work on are paint dilution and precision.
    Try to dilute more your paint when applying basecoats: judging from the pics, some models seems painted blotchy or uneven. You want to achieve a flat and uniform coat of paint before going for shadows and highlights. Some areas might take 2-3 thin layers to coat properly (or even more), but you have to be patient and do it.

    Also, try to be as precise as possible between different areas. Darklining will surely help here.

    About NMM, IMHO it's one of the most difficult techniques to achieve and Trystan gave you some advice already. Basically you have to study metal reflection on the piece you want to paint and simulate it using non metallics colours.
    My 2 cents.

  5. #5
    Newbie, please be gentle calicoJack9's Avatar
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    Default

    im not familiar with the acronyms you guys use, and i have another question, do you use brushes or an airbrush? ive never attempted airbrushing, and i know some people who do, but it just seems way too complicated for me. as for the demon prince, i was intending to go with the color scheme of the wings on the outside(the brown) as i feel comfortable with blending browns. @Trystan, i think youre right about the sculpting. i may have bit off more than i can chew. for now, i plan on keeping with the army acronym KISS(keep it simple, stupid). im a really artistic person, ive just never had any formal lessons, so i figured it wouldnt hurt to get some crash course teachings from some of you guys. thanks!
    a good leader can make great soldiers out of anyone, but a poor leader can demoralize the best of troops. <~~general john "black jack" pershing

  6. #6
    Newbie, please be gentle calicoJack9's Avatar
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    @crudelus, thanks for the info. what do you suggest for someone who has a shakey hand?
    a good leader can make great soldiers out of anyone, but a poor leader can demoralize the best of troops. <~~general john "black jack" pershing

  7. #7

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    I think the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy what you're working on. From your conversions I can see you're already there, so keep it up! There is some really top notch work on this site (and plenty of it). Great for inspiration, just don't get discouraged. As long as you're having fun painting, sculpting, converting, that's all that matters.

    As for acronyms, probably the most common one you'll see around here is NMM (non-metal metallics... non metallic paint made to look like metal, like you mentioned). There's also TMM (true metal metallics... using metallic paint).

    I think for most of the regular sized figures here people are using brushes. For things like vehicles and the giant models, some use airbrushes and some use regular brushes. Airbrushing can be a lot quicker for those large projects, but it has it's own learning curve.

    For the shaky hand, I like to rest my wrist against something while I paint. Could be the edge of the table or something sitting on top of the table (box, specially made painting arm rest, whatever). I've also seen people use two hands to paint. They hold the brush as normal and then press their index finger against the brush near the tip. They only do this for the real fine detail work, eyes, etc. and of course you have to have something else hold the figure. Just some ideas to work with.

    In regards to basic painting, a wet palette is very useful! You can make one yourself pretty easily. An internet search should turn up a variety of tutorials on how to do it. But all you really need is a shallow container (I use a small piece of tupperware, a sponge to hold the water, and paper. The kind of paper is important. I use paper designed for wet palettes... but you don't have to. I think I've heard of people using butcher paper. Again, an internet search should give you some ideas. To get better results and smoother shading try thinning down your paints. Most tutorials mention getting them down to the consistency of milk. You just want them to be semi transparent. For your base coat this means you'll have to pile on 2 or 3 layers to get complete coverage, but the end result should be a very smooth even color. Then, when you use lighter or darker colors to shade and highlight, the semi transparency will help with your blending.

    Hope that helps!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by calicoJack9 View Post
    @crudelus, thanks for the info. what do you suggest for someone who has a shakey hand?
    I have shakey hands of my own. I can say with years of practice the problem has mitigated, but it remains. When i have to paint small things like eyes or extreme highlights, i try to hold my breath, use two hands like bailey03 said, or even close my arm and elbows to my body and stay still. That helps me a bit.

    I'm sure better painters will give you better advices.

  9. #9
    Brushlicker dogfacedboy uk1's Avatar
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    Default

    There are people here way better to give advice than me, but looking at your figures I would say start learning everything from the bottom as you said KISS!!! First up thinned paints applied to areas neatly with perfect definition. Seperate areas with black lines or use a colour appropriate to the colour next to it in order to seperate it. When you can do that move on up to getting your colours smoothly blended from shadows up to the highlights. To do this follow tutorials on here and youtube, there is no substitute for watching somebody actually do it. Just work your way up through the basics first. Its fun to try advanced stuff, but I wouldnt worry about it just yet!!

    Sculpting is really an advanced skill, so again just KISS to start with. Dont think its too hard and give up, just keep at it but develop slowly. The top tips to start off with would be to make sure just the right volume of putty to do what you sculpting. Alot of beginners works look blobby. This is because they use too much putty and don't work on getting sharp edges enough. Banners and purity seals are a great starting point for you before working up to other stuff. To make working the green stuff a little easier I would leave it for 5-10 minutes after you have mixed it before working on it. It is great for adhering to stuff when initially mixed, so position it where you want it, in its rough form and then leave it. Make sure your tools are well lubricated with either vaseline, oil form your skin, saliva etc. Find what works best for you. Make sure you have a decent selection of tools to use, or make your own custom tools. I was speaking with former Rackham sculptor Aragorn Marks at Games Day the other week and he showed me his tool kit and custom tools. One was made from some innards from a PS3 lol. Get creative! My other top tip would be to buy some Fimo PREMO (not "soft" which is shit) or Super Sculpey firm. This will not set until you have baked it in the oven so you have unlimited work time and can practice on it until the cows come home without it costing you any money. Green stuff can get pricey and you have to race against the clock. Sculpey is excellent. The GW sculptors all had green stuff and super sculpey firm on the go at Games Day.

    Hope that helps. Listen and watch as much as you can online, maybe buy some DVD's or a subscription to Miniature Mentor which really is great value for money given the amount of content that have now.

    dfb


    My Gallery Here

    CMON Rank: Will paint for Jelly Beans...

  10. #10

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    Another Great source of tutorials:
    http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.de/200...-overview.html

    For shakey hands I especially recommend this one from there:
    http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.de/201...new-hands.html


    As for the minis:
    I know that it's good to push oneself, but I think it would be better to start at the basics:
    - paint dilution - thin your paints more, right now they seem a bit rough
    - brush control - get rid of the excess paint from your paintbrush with the help of an old Tshirt or kitchen paper. This helps, so the thinned paint won't drown the mini
    - opaque, clean basecoat without mistakes. - right now there are quite a few to be seen, and the colors are really patchy.
    practice these three first and your minis will look a lot better even if you don't start highlighting them yet.

    Once you have there you could move on to shading/highlighting, with the aim of a good NMM if that's what you are after.

    btw: what paints and brushes do you use? I suspect, that some of your problems come from your equipment.

    Edit: also most of us are also amateurs, only a few are making a living out of painting figures, for the rest of us it's just a hobby.
    Last edited by MAXXxxx; 10-01-2012 at 09:49 AM.

  11. #11

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    Pick one mini that you like the look of (nothing complex) and follow a stage by stage from one the the suggestions above. So - base coat, shadow wash, midtones, highlights. Keep it real simple at first. Go slow and enjoy
    "we reach for the stars, forever looking to the heavens, our minds filled with wonder and the glory of the cosmic all; stretching the boundries of human knowledge and securing the solar system for the Human Species out there beyond the final frontier so one day our decendants will be as gods!
    You hold our hands so we don't blunder into things........and do the photo shop.
    "
    . Andyg


  12. #12

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    Glad to see you on the forums! Didn't think the advice was going to flow that quickly! Hope the firehose isnt too hard to drink from, and welcome again!
    "Reality, she's a mathematical bitch from hell.", MaxedOutMama
    Wanna be bored? Watch me twitter. --<>-- Still have neurons? Watch my YouTube channel on painting!
    Want to know when to fry your neurons? My painting twitter will announce the videos.
    To judge how far to follow my advice, consider this: ---<>--- Slappin' paint on minis since 2006

  13. #13

    Default

    Welcome to the forums! As has been said, this is a great place to come to improve on pretty much any aspect of the hobby.

    Firstly, if I were in your shoes, I'd park the idea of doing NMM (non-metallic-metals) for a little while. Getting NMM looking right, (broadly speaking) requires two elements - being able to blend seamlessly between colours and being able to visualise reflections and metal effects.

    Okey donkey, now for some comments & critiques on the mini's you've posted.

    My first observation is that you've applied washes to some areas and it's gone really patchy - did you try and drybrush the mini before the wash was dry?

    There are quite a few pictures where you've got colour from one area onto another. This is something that happens to us all and a photograph will always highlight this for you even if you didn't spot it yourself!

    Are you undercoating/priming your miniatures before you begin to paint? Gut feeling is you're not. Having a good solid undercoat to paint on not only improves paint adherence but also ensures that your colours go on solidly and you end up with a consistent colour.

    I always sort out my base before I paint - my simplest base is just covered in PVA glue, dunked in some basing material and then 'sealed' with watered down PVA once that's dry.

    To summarise:

    Forget about NMM for a bit and use regular metallics
    Apply basing material before painting
    Undercoat the whole piece before starting
    Concentrate on getting each area covered solidly (using a few thin coats) and neatly

    Hope that helps!

  14. #14
    Newbie, please be gentle calicoJack9's Avatar
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    man, thank you guys! youve all been a really big help. ive noticed that this website is like a deep ocean of talent, and i really needed to hear that to not get discouraged. because frankly, i see other peoples' work and i set my own skill against it, and its like looking at a mountain, but you guys are right. having fun with it is really all that matters, and i shouldnt be trying to compare myself, or compete with anyone. sometimes when you feel like a loner, or an outsider, all it takes is for someone to show kindness. thanks again guys.
    a good leader can make great soldiers out of anyone, but a poor leader can demoralize the best of troops. <~~general john "black jack" pershing

  15. #15
    di_n_o
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    a really big help would be some tutorials, have a look around for some that explain the colors usedand try to match them. i think if you do this first off you will get a sense of what colors you will need, and how they work together

    have a look at some minis that you think you may be able to replicate, once you get an idea how it all works you can try something yourself

    enjoy

  16. #16

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    I'd say do as Runebrush said, true metallics are almost as difficult as NMM to do right, atleast what I've read from various great painters.
    A thing which have helped me is that in the beginning you tend to think ahh, a skull, paint it white. But there is so much you can focus on the particular skull to really make it pop.
    Focus on small things, like grab a metal sword and practice blending two or three colours.

    Hang alot in these forums and look what the good painters tell eachother to work on etc.

    Other then that, it seems you've got the passion for it and painting, like drawing is a skill, not a god given talent..
    I was good at drawing, but my first painted mini looked horrible.

    oh, how's is like in afghanistan?

    /dave

  17. #17

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    Heh. If you'd like to be less intimidated and make that mountain into a mole hill, just browse my gallery pictures. You'll feel better. And you are right, the talent goes deep. But to get to that ocean trench ya gotta wade in from a shallow spot.
    "Reality, she's a mathematical bitch from hell.", MaxedOutMama
    Wanna be bored? Watch me twitter. --<>-- Still have neurons? Watch my YouTube channel on painting!
    Want to know when to fry your neurons? My painting twitter will announce the videos.
    To judge how far to follow my advice, consider this: ---<>--- Slappin' paint on minis since 2006

  18. #18

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    Why do people suggest basing a mini before painting? So you don't mess up the feet after the fact?

  19. #19

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    It gives you something that isn't the mini to hold on to.
    Personally, I don't base until the end, but I pin the minis for painting.
    Proud owner of a Cassar!

    #1378/9460
    You are ranked 1351 out of 9441 artists.



  20. #20

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    When it comes to sculpting it's all about Saturday nights. The putty needs to have a proper warm up before you go down on her and rushing won't get you anything, take your time and don't worry about mistakes, mistakes come when you rush things, set your mind on the goal and make sure you get her where you really want her to be before giving up, after all, you haven't failed until you're not allowed to continue. And for the love of Christ, keep it lubed!

    Oh, and there are no perfect tools to use when you start out, anything from an Xacto knife to a kitchen fork does the trick when you're just starting out, they'll yield the same result in the beginning anyway. The more experience you get the more you'll realise how and what to use where and you'll be creating your own special tools for -that- special detailing in no time. And once you sit down properly with it the realisation about what tools to use will get there quite fast, just remember, anything goes.
    Quote Originally Posted by TrystanGST View Post
    The secret? Practice, and a desire to get better. A little talent goes a long way, but as long as you're open to advice, you can do amazing things.

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