Friday, August 23, 2013

Eldar Wave Serpent WIP 1

Hi there! Wave Serpents are the new rage in terms of power gaming (these things are pretty darn good!) but the reality is, it has always been one of the best vehicles in terms of hobby. Just head to CMON or google a bit and you'll find some incredible pieces of art painted over a Wave Serpent Hull. Now I'm not nowhere near the level of these artists but it was nonetheless an idea that has been in my mind for some time and when I heard the codex Eldar was due for a release, I decided I would get a small contingent for fun: a Farseer and some bikes, some Guardians / Avengers in Serpent, and of course the mighty Wraithknight!

This has to be my favourite side of 6th Ed, the pace of codex releases is so fast that it is difficult to keep track! but it is encouraging to find every 2 months or 3 some amazing new kits. And here we are, painting my very first xeno outside of Orks, and that was well 15 years ago. Ah those 2nd edition Gretchins painted in goblin green and blood red :)

Back to Eldar. It is a difficult decision to decide how to paint an Eldar army, since you can pretty much use any color. Then there also fluff or game considerations of course, like I would go Saim Hann if I wanted to go biker/skimmer heavy. Given Eldar are meant to be the Children of the Stars and their long decadence, I decided to go with a dark black/blue scheme and add some touches of "space" (more on this later). It will be a Craftwork Ulthwe contingent with some creative licenses.

The first Wave Serpent has a black base with blue hues around it, to give it a sense of energy. The challenge is I went all in and inspired by this wonderful army by Hortwerth, I will try to paint a nebulae on top of the serpent. The easy part is that an airbrush can blend the colors nicely, but the tricky part is painting light colors like yellow on top of black (it looks very dull) or blue (becomes green). With some patience and a few thin layers this is where I am now:
The inside is being painted with an eery blue

I wanted the bottom to show some "energy". Still undecided about going bone with the guns

This baby still needs a lot of work: finalizing the highlights, add stars to the nebula, paint the guns, and the dauting task of painting some 20 jewels. Doh!

At the same time I am also painting the Vyper that comes with the army force; I'm not really sure about the nebula on the small rear wings so I might just go black / blue on this one. What do you guys think?

Let me know if you have any feedback or questions! cheers

Monday, August 19, 2013

Musings about finding your own painting style

It is interesting that many renowned painters area able to define their style in the interviews or posts; some say it is reallistic and gory (Third Eye Nuke), grey/blue (Arsies), based in washes (James Wappel) and so on... and it got me thinking about my own style - after 20 years in the hobby I still don't have  defined paint style! or should I say, my paint style is not established yet and I keep looking for it. If I was to look at the armies I've painted over the last few years, there is a big difference between my light Space Wolves, painted a la GW, the dark, dirty and realistic Blood Angels I painted when I got onto airbrushing, and the latest Dark Angels which are still dark but clean and with high contrast. All of this in a time frame of 3 years!

I think the reason behind is because I keep looking for ways to improve my painting, even when I have win several best painted at large tournaments. I just keep looking around and finding wonderful, inspiring paint jobs that make me want to up my level. I guess it's just like players that want to become better at it and play better players; we often see this desire of improvement from a gamer point of view but not as much as a hobbyists. I'll do a brief recap of my last armies to show my evolution.

The Space Wolves were an army I had always liked. Back in the day in the late 90s I painted some Blood Claws, Scouts, Long Fangs and Land Raider in dark grey, just with a drybrush. It gives me the creeps to look at them now :) but hey, I was so proud back then! by the way those Long Fangs with mixed plastic/metal components has to be the most difficult model ever to put together!

So about 3 years ago I decided to expand the army and went with the same aesthetic as those painted by GW - a light grey blue with simple edge highlighting and shadows in the recesses. The armour plates have no color graduation at all, unlike today where is the part I probably care the most about. But with all the wolf pelts, fangs, runes, beards, axes, knives and other viking stuff, who cares about the armour? I based them with a high contrast snowed rocky setting and it's an army that looks nice in the tabletop.
Light, almost cartoonish. But still able to scare the s*** out of many opponents :)

Then I got an airbrush and was very tired of all those edge highlighting, so I set about painting an army that was very different to the Wolves - it is dark and realistic, full of battle damage and dirt, and it has very little contrast.

Dirty and realistic, little contrast

Nowadays I keep painting in a dark style but I strive to get very light highlights, increase the contrast and add OSLs in the weapons. I put a lot of effort onto creating color transitions in the armour with the airbrush, and have started to consider things like warm/cold colors. These are all things I have seen in our great community and luckily there are a lot of talented painters out there who are willing to share their work.
Ditto dark with clear highlights and OSL

Dark yet clear and with more contrast

Yet I know that this is not yet my final take and that my paintjobs in 12 months time will look different to those I do now. What will change? well I would dearly like to do good NMM, and I want to keep increasing the contrast.

What has been your evolution? have you settled on one style or are still finding your own?
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