A New Modus Operandi

My current painting project is like no other in my experience. I am painting our first metal miniatures to use in photos and videos on our Kickstarter page. I’ve submitted models in competitions before but this is a unique sort of pressure, this is for all the marbles! I really want to push myself to do the best that I can. With that in mind I need to take an honest look at my strengths and - more importantly - my weaknesses.

Over the last few years of painting I have developed pretty good fine motor skills and I have picked up some good painting techniques. For a long time I have done most of my models in the following steps: prime -> base coat -> wash -> layer up (-> sometimes free hand). I learned most of my early technique from Sorastro’s Painting channel on youtube. The techniques described there are excellent for beginners, highly recommended. This is great stuff for tabletop quality models but it’s time I pushed myself harder.

There are some things lacking from my repertoire that I want to learn like non-metallic metal, color theory, but most of all I need to push my contrast! My biggest problem is that I chicken out on highlights and don’t push them bright enough. I’ve been working on that. But another thing occurred to me as I was looking at the work of Angel Giraldez and some of the other excellent painters I follow around the internet - I don’t push my shadows dark enough! I need to really start targeting shadow areas and make them darker and darker.

A New Modus Operandi

I’ve decided to try out a few techniques for our metal models

  1. No washes - my shadows will be as carefully crafted as the highlights

  2. Black-lining - it really makes the contrast pop

  3. No metallic paint - non-metallic metal only. No time like the present (gulp…)

  4. Get second opinions - “Bernie, is this bright enough?”

Blacklining and Darker Shadows

 Pai’s coat is black-lined with a dark grey (Vallejo German Grey)

Pai’s coat is black-lined with a dark grey (Vallejo German Grey)

 Her pants go from very dark blue shadows to a few pure white highlights, all carefully layered.

Her pants go from very dark blue shadows to a few pure white highlights, all carefully layered.

Brighter Highlights and Second Opinions

 Here is a “done” Lucky, before I asked Bernie what he thought.

Here is a “done” Lucky, before I asked Bernie what he thought.

 Here is the model after. The definition on shirt and backpack are so much better.

Here is the model after. The definition on shirt and backpack are so much better.

These models are still WIP but they are coming along nicely. What do you think? Any suggestions on improving my skills? Techniques you want to see?