When you look at the work of artists you like, it’s easy to see only the parts you admire – the technical skill you feel you could never match, or the expressive use of colour and brushstroke that seems beyond your understanding. But even professionals and experts goof up and goof around. I certainly do, at any rate! So today I thought I would share an example of a goof and a gaffe with a figure I recently finished. If you have any goofs and/or gaffes related to figures you’ve painted, please add them to the comments!
This limited edition figure is currently available for purchase online.
First up is the goofing around story. Sometimes colour schemes for miniatures I’m asked to paint are based on a piece of 2D artwork I need to match as well as I can. Sometimes they come about as an attempt to marry elements of colour theory with character archetypes, or in hopes of evoking certain moods or themes. And sometimes colour schemes are chosen on a dare from your boss.
Yes, I checked with Ron before posting this!
Although the colours purple and teal may initially sound like cheery pastels that wouldn’t fit a grizzled witch hunter type of mousling, it really only took a little tweaking to make them work. For the purple, I chose a colour a little on the darker side, and with more blue in it. I also painted a lot of texture and scratches on the purple leather coat and hat to help keep the figure feeling gritty. I used the teal almost as more of a highlight to black leather components than straight teal. I kept both the purple and the teal a little muted to help the more vivid red-orange of the fur stand out, in an effort to keep the focus on the character rather than his gear. While it started as a bit of a joke, I’m pretty happy with the colour scheme in the end.
But alas this same figure had a huge gaffe that is very embarrassing. This is the figure as I originally painted it:
Can you see the problem? It’s so loud you can almost hear it…
After I finished him and took pictures, I packed him up to bring to ReaperCon and hand over to Ron. I wasn’t able to paint a lot this year, so I included him in my display with my other two entries into the MSP Open show. (Which I appear to have forgotten to take pictures of. Oops!)
I am also one of the judges of the MSP Open. On Friday night, my team was working through our section of the wonderful (and this year, quite voluminous) entries, when I came upon the display of another painter who had entered this figure. (If you’d like to take a look at photos of all of the more than 1000 entries, they’re available online at the ReaperCon site.)
This fun take on the figure was painted by Jacob Bolton, who also got much fancier with the basing than I did. Photo by MSP Open photo team.
And as I was looking it over, I realized what I had gotten very wrong when I painted the miniature – the ears! For some reason I interpreted the shapes on the top of the hat as feathers. (I guess I see stuff on a hat brim, I think feathers.) Looking at the other entry, I realized how badly wrong I was – the shapes are the mousling‘s ears poking up through the hat brim!
My only consolation is that plenty of other people seem not to have noticed, since no one asked me about it. I sent my boss a WIP picture as well as the final pics, and he didn’t spot it. No one mentioned it at ReaperCon. It’s been posted as the store image for the figure for a few weeks, and I haven’t had any queries about it. Either I have a lot of very polite friends, or a lot of other people have missed spotting this booboo. Probably a bit of both. :->
Once I saw it I couldn’t unsee it, so I took this guy back home to fix up the ears and take new pictures.
I’d love to hear if you have any goof-ups you’d like to share, or if you’ve ever painted anything on a dare or for a joke. Please share your stories in the comments!