Freehand Help needed
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Thread: Freehand Help needed

  1. #1

    Default Freehand Help needed

    Hi Guys

    I have an Ork Stompa (old model I know) which is nearly finished, but have one area that is really getting to me (putting it politely).

    I'd like to paint a swirl on one of the missile heads, (as GW box art) but after three attempts I've almost had enough. Is there any technique that can help, I can't get the distance constant and can never get it to a point.


  2. #2


    Don't think I'm explaining it very well. Here is a link, it's the missile with the Gretchin sitting on the top

  3. #3


    Dont have much advice I'm afraid but I assume the point you were talking about is at the tip of the missile? Maybe starting there and working down may help, you could try lightly penciling the design on first or rather than trying to do whole line at once maybe try to paint the outline first so you can neaten up as required before filling it in

    Hopefully someone with more freehand experience cn help you better

  4. #4


    Well, for the distance thing, here's what I'd do. On the small scrap of paper, I'd mark out distances with a rule (every so many centimeters... you'll have to decide what based on the size of the missile head). Then, hold the paper up to the missile head and place little dots from the tip, down to the left, right, top and bottom (forming a + sign). Now, as you paint in your black line, just start at the first dot then, moving around the missile head, connect to the second dot in the next row, then the third, and so on.

    You can paint over the remaining dots with white (or just put in every other dot when you do the initial transfer... if you do that, just remember it's even numbered dots on the left and right, then odd numbered dots on the top and bottom).

    As for getting it to a point, just do your best with the black. Then, when it's dry, go over the edges with the white color to sharpen it up. I'll go back and forth between the colors until I'm happy with the result

  5. #5


    By the way, when deciding distances, the closer you space the dots, the more twisty the swirl will be. I'd place at least 3 dots per side, 4 might be ideal.

  6. #6


    Because you're doing a spiral on a oval object, it might actually be easier to secure your brush in a clamp or something. You could then hold/spin the missile against the brush and move it as desired. Using the marks as Bailey suggested would give you a good guide on how much distance you need to make as it spins.

  7. #7


    Thanks for the advice guys. Great minds think alike Splurch, I'd thought about that, but too late as the missile is already attached to the arm. Bailey, thanks for the detailed advice, I'll give it a go. Sounds rather strange just reading the description but I'm sure all will become clear once I actually try it.

  8. #8

    Default Wow...

    Love your 'Bilbo' miniature, fantastic lighting effect. I was actually looking for the light source, it's that realistic. You don't see that level of work very often, I'm having a hard time thinking of a adequate superlative... Mmmm INCREDIBLE... yes I think that's it, I didn't believe that sort of work was possible. By the way, well taken photographs on your gallery, I'll look at your other figures soon.

  9. #9


    Thanks, Grosvenor! Very kind of you to say!

    To elaborate on the dots approach a little more, here's a design I did recently. I used marks on a sheet of paper held up to the mini as a guide so the spacing would be consistent. By the way, an easy way to make the dots is to dip the tip of a toothpick in paint and then touch it to the figure. Then, in the third image and beyond, I'm just using the dots as a guide, something to aim for as I paint in the lines that make of the design.

  10. #10


    Hi Bailey. Thanks a lot for the extra info, that's very useful. Looking at that robe/cloak, I have to say your choice of highlighting colours and blending are extremely realistic. I don't think that's just adding a lighter colour with the base coat. I've watched and read a lot about technique over the years and I've always tried to be as realistic as my abilities allow, Your painting have really made me think again about how I paint and I'm glad you replied to my post.

    Forgot to mention, is all your work with the brush?

    Best painting I've done was this skin technique (actually haven't bettered it) but will keep trying. url is long as I've gone straight to a picture.
    Last edited by Grosvenor; 12-16-2015 at 04:05 PM.

  11. #11


    Looks good, there are some really nice colors going on in that skin. I like it, makes for an interesting figure.

    Thanks. You're right, picking colors for highlighting and blending isn't about just going lighter or darker. I stay away from whites and blacks for shading and highlighting. For shadows dark browns, blues, greens, and purples can make for an interesting look. Sometimes I pick a color that compliments another, so shading red or blue with a purple. You can choose your shadow and highlight colors based on warm/cold, so shading with a slightly color version of the color and highlighting with a slightly warmer one or vice versa. Or you can pick shadow and highlight colors that work with a variety of colors on the figure, which can help create consistency to the look. This can be especially helpful with highlights as it can create the impression that the figure is lit by the same light (rather than a bluish light here, a yellowish light there, etc). There's rarely a single right choice, it just comes down to the look or feel you're trying to convey. Have fun experimenting and see what you like.

    Yes, almost all of what I do is with a traditional brush. I've done some experimenting with an airbrush (used it for some of the Hobbit's base). I'd like to use it more often, but I haven't put in enough time to actually get very good with it.

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