Thursday, 29 October 2009

Seraphine : Take 2

Just a quick post to show the fully finished version of the Seraphine Ali has been painting for the tutorials - I think you'll agree it came out great...

What I find really interesting is how you can change the character of a miniature by highlighting and shading the face differently. Compare this one, to the Ali's original version and they look like different people.

She's also over on Coolminiornot, and just in case you want to take a really close look at the actual miniature, she's up for auction too!



ps - tutorials on Vitharr coming soon...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Race for life!

Ali just finished painting this great little miniature - it was sculpted by the very talented Andrew Rae as a prize for a fund raiser for Cancer Research UK. A couple of the chaps over at Frothers Unite are running a raffle and Ali's version of the miniature is one of the prizes. It's a great cause and tickets are only £10 each - but hurry, the draw in on November 1st!


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Vitharr Bearclaw!

I have just added the latest Studio McVey miniature to the Studio Store - Vitharr Bearclaw is a six-piece resin miniature, and as with the previous releases it is limited to 750 castings. As I mentioned over on the main site - like previous releases, we are continuing the free prize draw for one of the Studio painted versions - either mine of Ali's. My version is the one shown here, and we'll be showing Ali's version on the blog soon - I have to say it's well up to her usual standard and is looking stunning...

The concept for this one was by Karl Kopinski and the sculpt was by Thomas David - who has done so much amazing work for the Helldorado range. The detail on the sculpt is mind-blowing - and I have to say it was a pleasure to paint. As with all well sculpted miniatures, so much of the work is done for you by the crispness of the detail.

We've included a little scenic base insert with this one - just to give him some extra atmosphere. It fits neatly into the top of the 40mm display base. He also comes with two variant heads - with and without helm.

We'll be doing some stage by stage articles here in the next couple of weeks - maybe not for the entire miniature, but certainly looking at painting some of the features of this miniature.

Hope you like Vitharr - we think he hits the same mark for quality and character as the previous Studio McVey miniatures.



PS - Just in case you aren't signed up to the mailing list - I'm afraid I have to tell you, that you missed an exclusive offer on the release of this miniature...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Seraphine snake tutorial

Sorry it's been a while since the last Seraphine painting tutorial - but here's the next part, painting the snake!

It may look quite complex - but when you break it down into individual stages, it's quite a straightforward process. The photos are fairly self-explanatory, but here are some additional notes.

The first step was to paint the entire snake an off-white colour. In this case it was a linen colour from the Foundry range called Moss - it has a nice natural feel, so suits a 'live' subject very well. The snake was then highlighted by adding white to the base colour. Even though a lot of this (nearly all in fact) is going to be covered, it's a good idea to highlight at this stage as it gives some 'shape' that will help you with the rest of the painting. The highlights help to define the upper and lower halves of the snake - thankfully it's very realistically sculpted and that makes the painting a lot easier.

It's really important to find some good reference for things like this - the added realism that copying from a real subject brings can make all the difference. Once Ali had found some reference she was happy with she broke the pattern down into logical steps.

The first picture shows the white highlighted and the pattern painted in black - try and be as neat as you can here, if you aren't happy with the markings at this stage, you can change the shape and neaten them up with the base colour. Once you are satisfied with the layout of the patches, paint inside each one with a camo-green colour. This is applied quite thinned down in two coats, for a slightly blotchy effect which makes it look softer and more natural.

Once you are happy with the patches, paint between the markings with a mix of greeny-brown and white - this is applied very thin as a controlled glaze to tint over the base colour. Leave a little of the base colour showing in a line round some of the markings.

The final stage is to add some pure white highlights to give the skin a natural sheen. These were applied as dots of pure white that were quickly blended in with a damp brush.

Ali has finished painting this version of Seraphine now - and I will be publishing it here in the next few days. In the mean time keep a look out for the next Studio McVey miniature - Vitharr Bearclaw!



Friday, 9 October 2009

Brother Goriel

I picked up a copy of the new Limited Edition Space Hulk box set a little while ago - not for the game though, I have never played Space Hulk (or many other games for that matter...) - but for the fantastic miniatures. I think the plastics in this box are amongst the best GW has ever produced. There is some amazingly fine detail on the Terminators, and they have been really smart with the way they have designed them - creating strong animation with minimal drafting (which is what causes some of the detail to be smeared on plastic miniatures).

Alison and I plan to paint some of them over the next few months - just between other projects really. I thought I'd start with Brother Goriel - I like the pose and detail a lot on this miniature. The Genestealer head also offered a good opportunity to add extra interest.

I've added him to the Studio Store on the main Studio McVey site


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Seraphine face tutorial

Here's the second part of the tutorial about how to paint the skin on Seraphine Le Roux - this time concentrating on the face.

It's generally best to paint the face separately from the rest of the skin on a miniature - especially if there is a lot of skin showing. This allows you to really concentrate your efforts on the face - it's the focal point, so will draw the most attention when you're looking at the miniature. Of course you need to make sure the face matches the rest of the miniature for colour and lightness - so it might be worth taking notes while you're painting the main area of skin. Actually that's another whole discussion - do you paint the face first or last...? Either way - it's a good idea to make sure the colours match!

Ali used exactly the same colour palette as the rest of the skin - a rich chocolate brown highlighted with a warm skin tone. See the previous Seraphine tutorial for details. The photographs are largely self explanatory, but here are some brief notes.

1 - First highlights. There are quite a few different areas to concentrate on when you're applying highlights to the lower part of the face - the cheek bones, up the sides of nose, down the bridge of the nose, top lip, chin - picture 1.1 shows where they are applied.
2- Highlighting the forehead with the same colour.
3 - Mainly going over the same ground but with a slightly lighter shade. It's important to take these first highlights up the sides of the nose - there's nothing worse than hard lines down the sides of the nose.
4 - Gradually bringing the highlights up further - covering less area than the previous layer.
5 - Lighter again, and then dots on the forehead, nose and chin to give a reflective shine.
6 - The rest is make-up really - the eye sockets are darkened after the make-up is applied there. Note how the eye make-up is taken higher than the natural level of the brows.
7 - A light flesh tone is painted into the eyes. Don't use white here - it's far too bright and stark looking. The eyebrows are added following the line created with the make up - this gives her a very 'arch' look. You obviously don't have to do it this way, but it does give her a little more attitude...
8 and 8.1 - The lips are painted dark pink - the underside of the top lip is darker because the light doesn't hit there. The bottom lip is highlighted in a couple of stages, and two spots of a light colour are added to give the lip fullness. Ali also added a final highlight to the top eyelids at this stage.

The last stage is to paint the eyes - not a great deal of advice we can give here.... Use a really good brush, get the paint to a consistency where it will flow smoothly from the tip, and keep your hands as steady as possible. Ali painted the iris deep brown, then black for the pupil and a final white dot to give the eyes shine... I know - makes you sick doesn't it! She says it's lots of trial and error...

General face painting notes - Use a fine brush and quickly blend the highlights as you apply them - work on small areas at a time. Female faces have less sharp definition than male faces, so try and get the blends as smooth as you can. Concentrate on lighting - if you get the lighting right, the whole effect will look much better - things like that final highlight Ali added to the top eyelid make a huge difference.

Ali will be finishing up this version of Seraphine soon, and we'll show it here. I don't know if she plans to take stage by stage photos of the snake, but hopefully I can persuade her...



Monday, 5 October 2009

Seraphine survives rabid dog attack!

Well maybe not actually rabid, but definitely vicious - well probably not that either, but it was definitely a close call! The above picture was sent to us by Andrew McLellen - who's dog, Ellie got to the post before he did the day the latest Studio McVey miniature was delivered. Seraphine managed to escape completely unscathed, but her certificate met the full force of the 'attack'.

We're sending him a replacement certificate - and we'll be happy to do the same for any other animal related damage...