Cat Dragon – 12 Days of Reaper

Whew, getting close to the end of the 12 Days of Reaper! The miniature for December 15 is the last of this year’s offerings that I painted, and then tomorrow is the last day with one of the new figures for the year. Today’s figure is this adorable cat dragon. I think Julie Guthrie did a remarkable job capturing the mischief and wonder that is a cat (dragon) encountering a decorated Christmas tree. I know I’ve seen that expression many times – and dealt with the aftermath!

Cat Dragon left

Cat dragon right

Cat Dragon face

Cat Dragon back

Cat Dragon from above

As with the other holiday figures I painted in 2019, I used a grayscale underpainting with primer to paint this little guy, but I painted him first and didn’t take great pictures. I do have one camera phone picture of his grayscale stage.

Catdragon grisaille

Reaper Miniatures is running their 12 Days of Reaper promotion from December 5  through December 16. During the promo, one special holiday figure of the day is included free with every purchase of $40 or more from the online Reaper site. And for the first time ever, they are making the 12 Days figures available for purchase separately, for two weeks following December 16.

The 12 Days promotion stacks with the promotion to include a free Dungeon Dweller of the month with each $40+ worth of order. So for every $40+ you order at this time, you’ll receive two free metal figures. And if your order totals more than $65, you also receive a Christmas Sampler package that includes Bones miniatures, candy, a postcard with cool art by Talin, and a naughty or nice surprise. There are a fixed amount of Samplers, so those are while supplies last.

Here is the schedule of figures for each of the 12 Days of Reaper. 

12 days promo

The Dungeon Dweller of the month is Caerindra Thistlemoor. I posted pictures and information about her last week, including some work-in-progress shots with lighting reference pictures and some information on how I rough in the lights and shadows. You can read that here: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/12/03/caerindra-thistlemoor-roughing-in-lights-and-shadows/

You’ll find the Reaper website here: http://www.reapermini.com/

Winter Elf – 12 Days of Reaper

Before I highlight the next of the 12 Days of Reaper miniature that I painted (and my grayscale priming example of it), I’d like to talk about a limited time opportunity to own a very special miniature for a very good cause.

Jason Wiebe is one of the sculpting greats of the miniature industry. He does a lot of work for Reaper Miniatures, but has also worked for Dark Sword and many other companies. He’s suffered some health problems recently that required several major surgeries. He’s on the mend, but now his wallet is hurting badly. Bobby Jackson, another sculpting legend, has created a wonderful dwarf miniature that bears more than a passing resemblance to Jason. Reaper has cast 1000 of these in metal, and Trenchworx is working on some in resin. The metal copies are up for sale right now, and Reaper will put the resins up for sale next week. 100% of all monies received from this miniature will be sent to Jason Wiebe. Hop on over to the Reaper website if you’d like to get a copy for yourself and help out a sculptor in need.

http://www.reapermini.com

Johun rumblegutsJohun Rumbleguts is a proud dwarf, though some of his fellows find him odd for preferring cider over ale.

And now on to the 12 Days of Reaper figure for December 14. This figure premiered as a 12 Days figure last year. Bob Ridolfi did a lovely job with this one. I really enjoyed painting her with a bit of a twist on the traditional colour scheme by making white and blue the dominant colours, and the red, green, and gold accent colours. I won’t lie, the white is a little frustrating to paint at times because it takes quite a while to get smooth shadows on such a pale colour, but I loved the way it looked so much I didn’t mind. I have a small display wall shelf unit in my home, and she just glowed in there even though the light isn’t the greatest in that room.

Winter Elf front

Winter Elf back

This is another figure that I started off with grayscale primer. I used mixes of white, black, and gray brush-on primer to block in my areas of shadows, highlights, and midtones. And as usual, my focus is figuring out the big picture for those things. I’m not worried about blending, and I’m not worried about details. I think the following pictures are a pretty good example of how little I’m worried about those things. I’ve put in the highlights and shadows on her gold bodice piece, but completely ignored the stitching. The top half of her face is bright highlight colour, with no regard for smaller elements like the eyes and eyebrows or her forehead jewelry. And you can see just what I mean about rough blending on the back view.

Winter Elf grayscale back

Winter Elf grayscale front

Reaper Miniatures is running their 12 Days of Reaper promotion from December 5  through December 16. During the promo, one special holiday figure of the day is included free with every purchase of $40 or more from the online Reaper site. And for the first time ever, they are making the 12 Days figures available for purchase separately, for two weeks following December 16.

The 12 Days promotion stacks with the promotion to include a free Dungeon Dweller of the month with each $40+ worth of order. So for every $40+ you order at this time, you’ll receive two free metal figures. And if your order totals more than $65, you also receive a Christmas Sampler package that includes Bones miniatures, candy, a postcard with cool art by Talin, and a naughty or nice surprise. There are a fixed amount of Samplers, so those are while supplies last.

Here is the schedule of figures for each of the 12 Days of Reaper. 

12 days promo

The Dungeon Dweller of the month is Caerindra Thistlemoor. I posted pictures and information about her last week, including some work-in-progress shots with lighting reference pictures and some information on how I rough in the lights and shadows. You can read that here: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/12/03/caerindra-thistlemoor-roughing-in-lights-and-shadows/

 

You’ll find the Reaper website here: http://www.reapermini.com/

Dragon and Stocking – 12 Days of Reaper

Next up in the 12 Days of Reaper is a figure brand new this year – the Dragon and Stocking. He is the figure free with $40 purchase for December 10. I love Julie Guthrie’s sculpting on this, he has such a mischievous expression. In my mind he’s not filling up or handing out that stocking, he’s pilfering it for his tiny hoard of Christmas goodies!

Dragon and stocking, front view

Dragon and stocking, face view

Dragon and stocking, back view

Dragon and stocking, second face view

As I have been doing with a lot of figures lately, I started by roughing in my shadows, highlights, and midtones with mixes of grayscale brush-on primers. This allows me to concentrate on where things should be darker and lighter based on my light source as a separate step. I was aiming to paint the light as coming from above and to the left when we’re looking at him in front view. (I discuss this and other approaches to painting with more contrast in this post – https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/10/16/how-to-paint-contrast-hands-on/)

Stocking Dragon grayscale primer front

Stocking Dragon grayscale primer, back

Stocking Dragon grayscale primer left

Stocking Dragon grayscale primer right

My next step is to begin to apply colours over that value map. I work wet in wet drying to make rough blends. So I’ll place a shadow colour in the correct location, then a lighter shadow or midtone next to it trying to blend a little, and then the next lighter colour, etc. Sometimes with a little more back and forth than that. At this stage I am concentrating on the big picture only in considering where things should be lighter or darker over all. Look at the shoulder of the wing and arm on the left side of the front photo as an example, and compare with a a later step and the end result. At this point I’m just blocking in a light colour green for highlights over the entire shoulder and neck area since the light would be falling strongly on that section. I’m not worried about the shallow crevices or the small mounds of individual muscles. And similarly with the shadows that become darker under the shoulder and where the wing is slanted downwards. Since green is a somewhat translucent colour, I needed to do two or three passes of block in to build up the colour.

Stocking Dragon colour block in front

Stocking Dragon colour block in, back

Stocking Dragon colour block in, left

Stocking Dragon colour block in, right

Only once I have those big picture shadows, highlights, and midtones in place do I start to worry about pulling out detail and refining the appearance of the blending on the figure. Compare the shoulder and neck in the following pictures to the ones above. I’ve added additional highlighting on the curves of the small muscles, and a little shading in between the muscles to add definition. And a similar process on the wing. In these photos I’ve just worked on that shoulder/neck/arm area, and the back of the wing. The detail is applied on top of and in a way that supports the big picture shadows and highlights.

Stocking Dragon refining step, front

Stocking Dragon refining step, back

This last set of photos is what the entire green area looked like after I had finished the refining and detailing stage.

Stocking dragon completed greens, front

Stocking Dragon finished greens, back

Stocking Dragon completed greens, face

Stocking Dragon completed greens, right

Hopefully that gives a little insight into the process I’m using when I do a grayscale underpainting in primer.

Reaper Miniatures is running their 12 Days of Reaper promotion from December 5  through December 16. During the promo, one special holiday figure of the day is included free with every purchase of $40 or more from the online Reaper site. And for the first time ever, they are making the 12 Days figures available for purchase separately, for two weeks following December 16.

The 12 Days promotion stacks with the promotion to include a free Dungeon Dweller of the month with each $40+ worth of order. So for every $40+ you order at this time, you’ll receive two free metal figures. And if your order totals more than $65, you also receive a Christmas Sampler package that includes Bones miniatures, candy, a postcard with cool art by Talin, and a naughty or nice surprise. There are a fixed amount of Samplers, so those are while supplies last.

Here is the schedule of figures for each of the 12 Days of Reaper. 

12 days promo

The Dungeon Dweller of the month is Caerindra Thistlemoor. I posted pictures and information about her last week, including some work-in-progress shots with lighting reference pictures and some information on how I rough in the lights and shadows. You can read that here: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/12/03/caerindra-thistlemoor-roughing-in-lights-and-shadows/

 

You’ll find the Reaper website here: http://www.reapermini.com/

Christmas Dragon Hoard – 12 Days of Reaper

The 12 Days of Reaper figure for December 8 is this charming little dragon and his hoard of presents. This is the first of the holiday dragons that I had the opportunity to paint a few years back, and I just adore him. I think gifts are a perfect thing to hoard, as they represent love and possibility. 

Unfortunately I did not take any work-in-progress shots while painting this figure, so I don’t have a lot to offer in the vein of how-to. I will say that I think snowflakes are an accessible pattern if you want to try your hand at some freehand wrapping paper, since they’re mostly straight lines. Use a brush with as fine a point as you can find. You are unlikely to be able to paint this sort of thing with a standard synthetic brush. You will need a Kolinsky sable watercolour brush to paint these kinds of details. You may find that one on the smaller side or with a shorter bristle head is a bit easier to control, but experiment with the brushes you have to see what you can draw the finest, most controlled lines with. I always recommend practicing on a base or an old miniature or something similar before painting freehand on your intended figure.

The snowflakes I painted are six pointed. Start by painting a center line, then paint two lines over it in an X shape, trying to make the end points of the lines roughly equidistant apart. (Or you could experiment with painting a wide X and then a center line through the middle of it. Experiment and find what works for you!) Then you can use straight lines or dots to customize the flakes. Cross the end or mid-point of each line with a small dash mark, or put two dots to either side of the end points, or put dots in between the lines. There are all kinds of options.

Christmas Dragon Hoard face

Christmas dragon hoard gift pile

The dragon comes on a small base of holly. I used the forest floor mould from Basius to create more foliage, and then placed him on top. There weren’t really any berries in the press base, but some rounded spots I painted in a similar way to the berries to make it look like he was resting on a larger base of holly.

Christmas dragon back

Christmas dragon hoard face - from above

Christmas dragon hoard wings

Reaper Miniature is running their 12 Days of Reaper promotion from December 5  through December 16. During the promo, one special holiday figure of the day is included free with every purchase of $40 or more from the online Reaper site. And for the first time ever, they are making the 12 Days figures available for purchase separately, for two weeks following December 16.

The 12 Days promotion stacks with the promotion to include a free Dungeon Dweller of the month with each $40+ worth of order. So for every $40+ you order at this time, you’ll receive two free metal figures. And if your order totals more than $65, you also receive a Christmas Sampler package that includes Bones miniatures, candy, a postcard with cool art by Talin, and a naughty or nice surprise. There are a fixed amount of Samplers, so those are while supplies last.

 

Here is the schedule of figures for each of the 12 Days of Reaper. 

12 days promo

The Dungeon Dweller of the month is Caerindra Thistlemoor. I posted pictures and information about her last week, including some work-in-progress shots with lighting reference pictures and some information on how I rough in the lights and shadows. You can read that here: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/12/03/caerindra-thistlemoor-roughing-in-lights-and-shadows/

You’ll find the Reaper website here: http://www.reapermini.com/

See you in a few days with pictures of this year’s new holiday dragon!

Mylk and Cookies – 12 Days of Reaper

Reaper Miniatures has always gone in for holidays in a big way, which is probably why frantic deadline painting has now become one of the ways I celebrate Hallowe’en and Christmas. :-> So to help me get more in the holiday spirit, I’m going to share some pictures of the figures I’ve painted, and some work-in-progress insights.

This year they are once again running their 12 Days of Reaper promotion from December 5 (yesterday as of writing, I missed a day, sorry!) through December 16. During the promo, one special holiday figure of the day is included free with every purchase of $40 or more from the online Reaper site. And for the first time ever, they are making the 12 Days figures available for purchase separately, for two weeks following December 16.

The 12 Days promotion stacks with the promotion to include a free Dungeon Dweller of the month with each $40+ worth of order. So for every $40+ you order at this time, you’ll receive two free metal figures. And if your order totals more than $65, you also receive a Christmas Sampler package that includes Bones miniatures, candy, a postcard with cool art by Talin, and a naughty or nice surprise. There are a fixed amount of Samplers, so those are while supplies last.

Here is the schedule of figures for each of the 12 Days of Reaper. 

12 days promoI painted a number of these figures, and will be trying to upload pictures to my blog on the appropriate days so you can get a better view.

The figure for December 6th is Mylk and Cookies. Mylk is an adorable baby yeti who is just too excited about all these yummy cookies that she’s found. I had a lot of fun painting this, it’s a cute and creative twist on traditional Christmas motifs, sculpted by the incomparable Julie Guthrie.

Mylk and Cookies front

Mylk and Cookies back

I started my experiments with underpainting and grisaille some time last year, and I used that approach with this figure. As usual, my emphasis was on figuring out where to make things lighter and darker. As you can see below, I didn’t worry about details like the eyes or mouth, or shadow lines between each individual cookie or anything like that.

Yeti grisaille front

Yeti grisaille back

The cookie decorations are textures, not just paint. After I painted the cookies plain, I went back and added acrylic medium products to create the decorations. Though if you plan on trying this yourself, it might be just as well to add these touches after or even before priming.

For the poured icing on the stars and trees, I used acrylic modeling paste. Thick acrylic gel medium would also probably work. Experiment with a toothpick and a damp brush and see which you like better. You might use the toothpick to apply and the damp brush to smooth things out. For the decorations on the gingerbread men, I used an even thicker product, Woodland Scenics Water effects. If you get a glob on the end of a toothpick, you can usually pull out a small string of gel. I used these pointed gel strings to ‘draw’ on the stripes and dab on the circular buttons and eyes. Once the acrylic medium product fully cured (which doesn’t take long at all for small things like this), I painted over it with the appropriate colours. I had been dreading painting the decorations, but it was easier and more fun than I had expected. And far less sticky than decorating real cookies!

Unfortunately I do not have any photos of the process of applying or painting the decorations as the deadline was looming by that point. I do have some pictures from before I added the decorations, though, so you can see how much it adds to the final look of the figure. 

Yeti pre front 450

Yeti pre back 450

If you aren’t sure what to buy to get to the minimums for free promotion products, Reaper also has a selection of holiday figures available for sale only at this time of the year, as well as a set of holiday themed paints only available in the set. Some of the colours in that set are definite fan favourites, and others are fairly new, having only been introduced last year.

2018HolidayPromoMarquee960x480

I’ll see you back here in a couple of days with some pictures of an adorable dragon hoard!

Link to Reaper Miniatures: http://www.reapermini.com

Caerindra Thistlemoor – Roughing In Lights and Shadows

Throughout 2018 Reaper Miniatures has been running a monthly promotion. For each $40 spent through their webstore, the buyer receives one free Dungeon Dweller figure of the month. These figures are also available for purchase throughout the month and going forward. They’re not limited edition, just a bonus for buying through the site. For me, one of the coolest things about this promotion is that each of these figures has been painted by a different painter, and each has a free PDF painting guide available via Reaper’s site. This gives you the opportunities to have insights into the working process of a wide variety of painters. There’s even a free dungeon adventure available!

http://www.reapermini.com/DungeonDwellers

There is one double-up of painters throughout the dozen figures –  I painted the February figure, and just recently I also finished the December figure. I’m still putting the finishing touches on the painting guide to go with it, but in the meantime thought I would share a little bit of the painting process here. First here, are some pictures of the completed figure.

Caerindra front view

Caerindra face

Caerindra back view

I chose not to use any of the pre-painting techniques to build contrast that I talked about in my contrast series. I did, however, pose the miniature under a strong light source to take photos I could reference while painting. (Here’s a link to the contrast painting techniques post: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/10/16/how-to-paint-contrast-hands-on/)

Photo of front of primed figure under a strong light.

Photo of back of primed figure under a strong light.

When applying paint to the various areas of the figure, I began by roughing in the main highlights, shadows, and midtones. I did not worry about small details like rivets or finer folds, or things like pulling out the edges. My goal was to the capture the big picture areas of light and shadow as depicted in the reference photos. However, I was also conscious of the fact that not every material reflects light in the same way. The figure in the reference photo is one single material – primed metal. But in painting the figure I was trying to create the appearance of several different materials – metal, leather, cloth, skin, hair, etc. So I had to consider the nature of each of those materials and factor that in to the appearance of light and shadow upon them.

Here are some work-in-progress pictures to illustrate how I approached this process when painting the non-metallic metal areas of the figure.

Rough in of NMM from side view.You can see that I’ve ignored details such as the rivets and the dark shadow lines between the plates. I’ve done some rudimentary wet blending while applying the paint, but I’m not overly concerned about a smooth finish at this point, either. My goal is correct and effective placement of the main shadows, highlights, and midtones.

Blended stage of NMM from side viewOnce I establish the placement of the main shadows, highlights, and midtones, then I can start to refine. First I work on cleaning up the blending and refining the shadow and highlight placement. Then I pick out the details like the rivets and the shadow lines between plates.

Rough in of NMM from front view.Another view of the process. You can see how the placement of the shadows and highlights is influenced by the shape of the objects. The highlights appear to one edge of flat planes like armour plates, but as more of a bullseye circle on the round form of the helmet. Some kneepads are sculpted with a rounded form and would be painted more like the helmet. The kneepads on this figure have a ridge down the middle turning each into two different faces. Placing the shadow and highlight in opposition on planes that meet like that helps create the illusion of shininess. If you scroll back up to the finished figure, you can see that I did the same thing with the sword. This was particularly helpful on the kneepads. I kept those relatively dark so as not to compete with the main areas of interest on the figure (and due to their position), but I still wanted them to ‘read’ as shiny metal. Juxtaposing very dark shadows with lighter areas helps create that illusion.

Blended version of NMM from front view.Smoothness and detail can seem like the important elements, but they won’t have any substance if the choices for placement of highlights, shadows, and midtones is incorrect, or if they lack sufficient contrast to represent the depicted material. 

Hopefully that peek into the painting process was useful. I’ll be detailing the exact colours I used and talking about painting red hair and freckles in the painting guide that will go up on the Reaper site. If you’d like to grab a copy of Caerindra Thistlemoor of your own, you’ll find her at the link below. Though Reaper is about to unveil their 12 Days of Reaper special promotion, so you might want to wait a day or three…

http://www.reapermini.com/OnlineStore/7012/latest/7012

Dungeon Dwellers Bones HD Paint – New Paint!!

I think we all need a little bit more to digest all that information about contrast that I’ve been spewing lately, so today’s post is something a little lighter. (You are hopefully out there practicing painting with more contrast, right?)

This week Reaper released the first expansions to the Bones HD paint lines. These are two boxed sets of six paints each, which are thematically tied into their new Dungeon Dwellers miniature line. Since online store swatches are notoriously unreliable (I WILL be posting more to demonstrate how this is so), I swatched out the paints on paper to give people an idea of the colours. And as individual camera and scanner colour corrections vary, I both scanned and photographed the swatches. Screen display colours also differ, so what you see on your screen isn’t going to be 100% exact, but it should give you a decent idea of the colours.

I haven’t used these colours on a miniature yet, but I’m hoping I get the opportunity to do so soon as these are some great looking colours!

Note that as of writing these are expected to be available only in the boxed sets, and not for individual bottle purchase. MSRP is $21.99 per box.

The first boxed set is designed to help you paint the monstrous denizens of your dungeon. These are also a great addition to the Bones HD line as more desaturated colours that will be handy for painting leather, wood, red hair, and a variety of other things.

Dungeon Dwellers Monster paint box - front

Dungeon Dwellers Monster paint box - back

 

Dd monster paintsDd monster paints picThe swatches on the top are from my scanner, those on the bottom are a photograph. The paper they’re painted on is ivory not pure white.

The Dungeon box is an interesting mix of colours, and includes two new metallic colours. I have really been liking the Bones HD metallic paints a lot. They’re my go-to paints when using metallics from the Reaper line now. (I do primarily use Reaper paints, but sometimes use the Vallejo Air line for metallics. Steel/silver primarily, the colour selection of their golds is kind of odd unfortunately.)

Dungeon Dwellers Dungeon box - front

Dungeon Dwellers Dungeon box - back

Dungeon Dwellers Dungeon box paints - scan

Dungeon Dwellers Dungeon box paints - picThe swatches on top are scanned, those on the bottom are a photograph. The two rightmost swatches are metallics, which are hard to photograph at the best of times, but especially as swatches.

I had previously swatched out the core Bones HD line and posted that on my Facebook page, and will include those photos here. Again, these are painted on an ivory drawing paper. I hadn’t realized that I’d included the grayscale card in the photographs and scans of the first images. I used that card to colour correct the scans/pics of the new paints above, I just didn’t include it in the images.

Bones HD Blues - scan

Bones HD Blues - photoThe selection of blues in the core Bones HD line. I like these a lot, and I am often annoyed by blue paints. (It’s just not my favourite colour, and I find it a pain to blend.)

Bones HD Browns and Purples - scan

Bones HD Browns and Purples - photo

The browns and purples in the Bones HD line. I also like these a lot, some really great colours that I’ve been using a fair amount.

Bones HD Flesh tones - scan

Bones HD Flesh Tones - photoThe flesh tone assortment of the Bones HD paint line. I haven’t really used pale flesh much as it’s just so, well, pale, but I’ve used the others pretty regularly. I particularly like the Ebony and Ruddy colours as offering something not found as often in paint lines.

Bones HD Greens - scan

Bones HD Greens - photoI’ve used these, but not as extensively as some of the other Bones HD colour families. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but they just don’t float my boat. I think it’s at least partly that I often use less saturated greens.

Bones HD Reds and Yellows - scan

Bones HD Reds and Yellows - photoThe Bones HD reds have higher coverage than most of the reds in the Core Master Series Paint line. I always grab an HD red unless I’m being very particular about just what shade of red I need. I don’t paint with orange or yellow that often, so I haven’t used these as much as some of the other colours.

Bones HD Neutrals - scan

Bones HD Neutrals - photoNever enough neutrals is what I say! ;->

Bones HD Metallics - scan

Bones HD Metallics - photo dark lighting

Bones HD Metallics - photo lighter lightingI took two photos of the metallic colours in slightly different lighting to try to give you an idea of the shimmer effect. I love these metallics! Great colours and shine.

Official promo
And this is the official colour chart. Note that this is from the date of the line first releasing. As of time of writing, current MSRP on Reaper paints is $3.69.