Friday, January 8, 2010

Tribute to the Fallen Step by Step

In this article I am going to talk about how I performed the conversion and painting of “Tribute to the Fallen”. I haven’t got many photos because all the painting process was done out of my house, I couldn’t take any pictures. However, I’ve got photos about the converting process and also about the painting of the banner which are very interesting. Let’s begin.

The idea for the figure comes from a very similar one I saw in coolminiornot. This conversion was done with a lion from the High Elf Chariot kit from GW and various pieces of high elves for the elf rider. The pose of the lion is more or less the same as the one I would do later on my version; this is because I really fell in love with the idea for the pose. And I had to do justice to the idea, the pose of the lion was beautiful but the rider wasn’t as good. So I began my work, and the first thing I had to do was copying the lion’s pose. This was quite an easy task because the transformation was only based on cutting the forepaws. This way I could get the lion to look with this attitude both noble and defiant.

Once the lion was finished, it was my turn to innovate, because up to this point everything was a copy. With some pieces of High Elf Commander from GW I began the conversion for the rider. I tried different options, especially of weapons and poses of torso and arms. Finally I chose he would be wielding the axe with one hand, pointing down, and on the other hand would be grabbing a banner. This is something quite recurrent in my works, but just because it is really a very visual element
which never disappoints and it gives a lot of options for the painting.

With the pose of the rider more or less decided, I began modelling the details of the conversion with putty, mainly a mix between green stuff and Milliput which always serves me well. In the beginning I considered the possibility of using a helmetless head, which is always better when it comes to painting. However, the helmet of the elves is an element which I have always liked very much, and I thought it would be very appropriate. I built some wings for the helmet out of brass sheets, to paint it afterwards and simulate the effect of metallic feathers. Commercial winged helmets from GW are a bit rude for me, too thick, and I wanted to emphasize the fineness of this clothing, elegant and warlike. This task turned out to be a bit complicated. I had to cut the sheet with a very determined shape, glue it to the helmet with very little space, and then manipulate the wings very carefully to give them the adequate curvature. Afterwards I would have to be very careful when painting not to bend this shape.

The banner, as opposed to what I did in previous works, was made out of a brass sheet. I have discovered that this is a very interesting option because you can shape waves again and again until you are happy with the result. However, you have to be very careful not to undo the waves, and also that softening all those little metallic folds generated while working can be very laborious.

For the base, I thought that the best option was to situate the scene on some sea rocks. The lion pose was very suitable for some kind of scene over a cliff and the breaking waves are elements which give a lot of strength to the scene. Also, this meant the beginning of the idea which would give me the background story for the figure.

In these first photos we can see how the elements combine at this point of the process.

In the next photos we can see how I have already finished the conversion. In the first place, all the torn pieces of cloth have been done already, simply done with scissors and a lot of care not to break more than what it’s supposed to be torn. Also, I’ve finished all the locks of hair, in the lion and in the elf’s clothes, and also the one on top of the helmet. The base is also finished, simply with some putty filling on the rock hollows and giving it a texture similar to the one of a rock. To do this I got some real stones and I used them as a tool to model the putty. The surface of the stone is smashed against the putty so it gets the rocky texture. Also, I made the braid out of some string. This is one of the biggest mistakes of the figure because it was a mess to paint it later. I will never do hair again with nothing else than regular putty.

Finally, there is a very special thing redone which can be quite unnoticeable. It’s the tail. I cut it and repositioned it so that it would be lower in the composition. This has a very simple and graphic explanation with the following picture:

Regarding the banner, this is the process I followed to paint it. First and foremost is having a clear design of what we will be painting. I have always faced the same problem when painting a standard, is the famous problem of starting with a blank page. It’s crucial to have forethought what it is we will be painting. This is why I did some designs in Photoshop, as detailed as possible, for the front and the back side. This is very useful because its fast, we can edit and borrow pieces from other designs, we can change and modify it until we are done and totally confident with it. I put some pictures of the designs I made in Photoshop.

This designs in Photoshop have to be printed in the exact dimensions of the flag. With some airbrush templates (sort of plastic sheets with a slightly adhesive surface on one of its sides) we will be cutting the main shapes of the design and to do so we will be using the printings made before. We put the printing over an airbrush template and with some sharp blade we will cut these main shapes. The question arising now is: what are these main shapes?

To answer this question we have to do a study of the design. To paint as efficiently as possible, we have to do a decomposition of the design. In this case for example, I divided the drawing in the different general parts which compose it, which are a striped background, the winged symbol and the exterior watermarks. These parts can be also divided. The striped background has two parts, the light stripes and the dark ones. The winged symbol has the wings, the star and the main gem. With this clear in mind, we plan the painting process, from what is more general to what is more concrete, to take advantage of the airbrush as much as possible. In this case I will first paint the background in dark stripes. Afterwards, I will paint the background in light stripes. Then I will mark the star drawing and the wings, and finally I will mark just the star shape, leaving a gap where the central gem will be situated.

Now that we have clearly thought about what we will be drawing and how we will be doing it, and after making sure that the surface to paint is clean and free from rough imperfections, I prime it grey with airbrush. I cut out the shape of the wings and the star in the airbrush template and then I put it in the flag.

With airbrush I prime all the banner with a dark blue grey. When dry, I position the stripes template of the background. When situated, I paint with airbrush, now with a lighter colour.

Now I do another template in which I get rid of the central part of the wings and the star, to hide the stripes we have just painted. I paint with white to have the general shape of the wings and the star. Finally, with a star template I paint blue with airbrush. This is the final stage where I can take advantage of the airbrush. From now on I will have to use a normal brush. I start with the star and the gem, and then I realise that the background stripes have a colour too greyish, it must have been more bluish. This is something I will take care with brush, but we can see in the pictures what the result is. There are brushstrokes everywhere and the colour is not uniform. I resign and decide to fix it later with templates and airbrush. I will have to use the airbrush on the back part of the banner anyway, so I will wait to get to that moment and I will finish this part with the wings and the tail with brush. I leave the watermarks for the end.

With the back part of the banner, the process is the same. We plan at first our attack strategy, we separate the drawing mentally and we think about the painting process to use the airbrush as much as possible. The background in this case has no stripes. It’s plain but has some gradient from the inside to the outside. This is the first thing I will be doing with the airbrush. Now it’s time to fix the stripes of the flag’s front part. Very carefully I hide the freehand with some templates and some Maskol to seal any possible gaps. Once I’m sure of this, I paint with airbrush always taking into consideration the position of lights and shadows.
We continue now with the back side. I paint golden yellow to mark the main shapes of the design. With some templates I hide the exterior part of the heart and I give turquoise to mark carefully the interior shapes. And we finish the airbrush work here.

With a brush I start painting the leaves and the central symbol. With both designs already finished I can start to do the watermarks, for the front and the back side of the flag, always considering the effects of light and shadow.

And it’s done! The flag is finished, I put it over the figure to see the global effect (ignore the elf head in the first photo).

With the flag finished, I started the painting of the rest of the figure. However, I have no photos of the rest of the painting process, so here is where this tutorial finishes. I have only photos of the first bases for the lion:

And here we finish the creation process. Some final photos!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tribute to the Fallen

I called this figure “Tribute to the Fallen”. It's a conversion of an elf commander made from pieces of the High Elf Chariot and pieces from High Elf Commander box from GW. This was my entry in the 2009 Germany Golden Demon. It won silver in Monster Fantasy, sharing podium with a marvellous giant from Dieguete and a precious Valen on horseback from Stephan Rath, who would later win the Slayersword with a dark elf diorama.

Represents a High Elf Noble Prince from the Lions of Crace, grieving in the rocks of the shore as he mourns the wreckage of his parents ship, unable to return home safely. He proudly wields the family banner, gathered from the ship's broken remains, as his personal tribute to the fallen.

“Tribute to the Fallen” was started around the same personal dark times as Malus Darkblade, and it was left apart for some time for this reason. However, I decided to resume the work and I finished it quite hastily to get to Germany GD. There are some people who have helped a lot in the process, mainly Elías Alonso (morsa/weishaupt), as always my painting companion, Marc Masclans (mesklins) for his invaluable help the last day, and Pablo López (paloji) who was also fooled by me the day before the contest to help me painting. And also thanks to the painting nights with Malaleche. Thanks everyone!

I hope you like it. Comments welcome as always!

Link to coolminiornot:

Tutorial Behind The Scenes: Step by Step Article

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Chinese are coming!

Quite a strange thing to say on the day of the Epiphany (traditional holiday in Spain) isn't it? By the way, Happy New Year Everyone!!!!! This 2010 which has just begun is going to be a fantastic year for all of us, specially for me, 2009 wasn't so good at all. I began this post referring to China because my friend Piti told me yesterday that in GW website they have announced that the fist edition of GW national painting contest has been celebrated in China. They have called this event Golden Dragon (I love that name). They say it has been a great event and that they will be repeating experience next year. Photos of the winners have been uploaded (they are quite bad because they don't show any more than little details) about the only 2 categories of the contest, Fantasy and 40k.

40k 1st place by Li Chengxu

40k 2nd place by Cheng Jia

40k 3rd place by Ma Ji

Fantasy 1st place by Huang HeS

Fantasy 2nd place by Guo XiSma

Fantasy 3rd place by Huang HeS

You can see that chinese painting is quite promising and we all know that when chinese start doing something, they do it, and they really excel at it. We have to be careful because they can really outstand!

And talking about other topics, I hung pictures about my High Elf on Lion (Tribute to the Fallen) in coolminiornot. In a few days I will upload the pictures here and also an article about the creation process which I am finishing currently. Next post will contain photos of the creature!