In a previous post I discussed the preparation and planning that went into painting Reaper’s promotional dungeon delving adventurer party, and I shared pictures of the group. In this post I want to share my process for painting the dwarf cleric figure, as well as the colours I used to paint her. This is the third of four posts to about each of the characters in the party, and then I will finish up with a look at some of the factors that go into painting source lighting effects. Articles about the human rogue, halfling fighter, and elf wizard are also available.
Dwarf Cleric Process
The cleric and wizard seemed kind of in the middle range of the challenges for this set. After working on the rogue and the fighter, I decided to work on the cleric next because I had some colours in mind for the wizard, so I thought it would be wise to figure out the colours of the cleric. I wrestled a bit trying to decide on her colours. I thought blond hair would work well with the lighting. There is a large area of hair receiving light from the torch, and then using deeper shadows in the unlit areas that would provide good contrast. (I probably should have added darker shadows than I did, in fact.)
For the armour I eventually settled on a dull red. A vivid red would have diverted attention from both of the light sources, but especially the torch. The other three characters all include some cooler colours of blues and greens, so the warmer colour of even a less saturated red would still help keep the character visually distinct when they’re grouped together. I painted her gem green to help create a visual bridge between her warm colours and the other figures.
More light from the torch is falling on the dwarf than the halfling, so I tried to push the contrast on her a little more. I was still constrained by the need to moderate the use of value contrast for the lighting effect. Had this figure been painted as a stand-alone, I would have pushed the level of contrast on highlights and shadows of her armour further, particularly on the front.
The handle of the hammer had broken off in transit when the figure was shipped to me. (NOTE: The copies I painted were 3D prints. The promotional figures going out to consumers are made from the much sturdier Bones Black material, and the Kickstarter fulfillment figures will be in Bones Black or Bones USA.) The nice thing about breakages on prints and resin is that it’s a clean break that fits back together well. I glued it back on during the prep stage and proceeded with painting. One night while I was painting my thumb flicked out a little and hit the hammer in just the wrong way to break it off again. I had painted the handle but not yet the hammer head. I was leery of gluing it again for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I don’t have great luck with gluing when things don’t work the first time!
The primary function of these figures in the immediate moment was for photographs. So I decided not to glue the hammer back on until I completed the painting on the cleric. Then I would glue, take the pictures, and then figure it out from there. Partly this decision was driven by the fact that I was rushing to finish the first three figures in time for a deadline, as I described in the overall paint process post.
It was a finger-cramping pain in the butt to paint the hammer head while holding on to that tiny handle! Since my lighting primer was not really a guide for the NMM areas, I needed to take care to occasionally hold the hammer in the correct orientation and check that I was painting the shadows and highlights where they would make sense and look interesting. When you need to paint different parts of a figure or a scene separately, it is important to hold them in the correct orientation periodically to check whether the lighting that you are painting is correct and matches the other parts.
Dwarf Cleric WIP Photos
I explained how I used primer to create a roadmap for the lighting in the overall process post. I took photos of the primed figures individually and as a group so I could use them as a lighting reference if I painted over an area but then later needed to check my lighting placement. I took pictures from numerous angles, I’m just showing a few of them here. When it comes to reference photos, it’s better to take too many than too few!
This priming technique provides an excellent overall feeling for the location of light and shadow. However, it does not take into account the way different textures and materials appear, and how they react to light – matte cloth versus somewhat shiny leather versus reflective metal. To best evoke the qualities of those materials requires the painter to use the primer (or lighting reference photos) as a guide, but to then extrapolate and tweak value ranges and value placement to match various types of materials. For example, if you compare the areas I painted as metal on the figures to the photos of the primer stage, you’ll see a number of differences in where the lightest and darkest colours are placed because I was trying to simulate the reflective appearance of metal.
I have fewer WIP pictures of the cleric than the first two because deadlines were looming. I’d furiously paint, but forget to stop and take pictures.
Dwarf Cleric Paint Colours
There are a few colours, like the non-metallic metals, that were used over all of the figures. You’ll find information about them in the overall painting process article.
The swatches below show some of the layer mixes used on the dwarf cleric. From the top down, the rows are skin, hair, and red leather armour. The swatches below that are just checking colours and transparency of paint mixes.
Cleric skin colours:
Cleric red leather armour colours:
Cleric weapon handles colours:
Cleric blond hair colours:
How to Get this Figure
The adventure party figures and a dungeon dwelling goblin are teasers for Reaper’s Bones 6 Kickstarter: Tales from the Green Griffin, which is happening right now! A random selection of one of the five figures is still being added to most Reaper Miniatures orders. One of the five was included in the swag bags for AdeptiCon, and there may be other giveaway opportunities where you can obtain one or more of these figures. If you are interested in these figures but are not able to receive a free one, or you’d like to ensure you get all of them, they are included in the Kickstarter core pledge level. I expect that they will go into retail sales channels at some point after the Kickstarter pledges have been fulfilled, but it will be several years until that happens.