Hi all! Apologies for being a little absent lately. It's a little less than one month until ReaperCon and I'm feeling the pressure! While I wish it were as simple as basic procrastination, but it's been an uphill battle to find time to paint continuously for several hours. When it comes to painting competition miniatures, an hour here or there just doesn't cut it. I need 2 to 3 hours of uninterrupted paint time– I've been using time that I normally would be blogging to paint instead. However, I still want to keep you updated on what's going on and share with you some work-in-progress photos!
Over the last two weeks I've been using a different brush than I usually do. While I thought I had at least one more extra Winsor & Newton Series 7 brush, my last brush was a Raphael 8404. I'm not as kind to them as I could be (I've been known to dry brush or scrub paint mistakes with them). The Size 1 "Raphaël Kolinsky Red Sable Fine Pointed Round" brushes run about $17 on the website I order them from, slightly cheaper than the $20 "Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Pointed Round" I prefer.
The Raphaels are nice brushes– I several many painters who prefer those over other brushes. While they're about the same size and hair length, I noticed a big difference when using them the past two weeks– they hold more water than the W&Ns. I'm not a brush licker, and I'm sure that will affect the consistency and application with whichever brush you use. However, each time I'd load the brush with my mixture of paint and water, I'd end up with paint bleeding into places where I'm trying to apply details. My first idea was to mix my paint thicker, but that's easier said than done. Now that I've gotten used to mixing my perfect consistency of paint on a wet palette, it's extremely hard to adjust habits. Even then, the belly of the brush would hold more paint, and my line quality suffered since I seemed to be unable to properly manage how quickly the paint that would leave the brush when I applied it to the miniature. However, I was very pleased with the Raphaels when basecoating or applying washes/glazes.
The good news is that my new W&N Series 7 brushes arrived in the mail, though I missed a 40% off brushes sale at my local art store (very bummed about that). While I like to support my local art store whenever possible, I tend to buy my brushes online, due to price, selection, and availability. Once I opened my new W&N, it was like painting with butter (which sounds incredibly gross, so pardon the bad analogy). Anyway, my point being: it was super smooth and perfect and the paint just went where I wanted it to go– it was magnificent! I even redid some areas of Fiama in a matter of minutes that had previously taken 3x the amount of time with the unfamiliar brushes. Still, I'm glad I tried the Raphael brushes and I'll continue to use them for less-detailed work. And now I appreciate my favorite brushes even more!
What am I working on you ask? Well, if my left hand would stop shaking (my stabilizer muscles are kinda fried after not painting consistently), I'd be able to finish Fiama and get started on my Bombshell miniatures and Reaper competition pieces. It's crunch time!
Also worth noting: I tried something new and thought "A big grease stain across her eyes would be cool!" and proceeded to paint a big black stripe across her face. Whoops! Should have thought that idea out better– it showed up much darker than anticipated and looked very unnatural. I tried a few different things like shortening the band, glazing over with blue, changing it completely to muddy brown, and eventually just painted over it with skintone. Her face isn't as smooth as it was before, but I'm proud of myself for trying something new– and next time, I'll get it right!
I'm also trying a tattoo idea on her shoulder just above her arm wraps. It's nothing fancy, but it adds a cool element to Fiama. Also, I'm just getting started on her weapon and shield. Once I'm done with that, then I'll paint her base!
You may not see long blog posts from me here until ReaperCon since I'll be painting away as furiously as I can– in the meantime, I'll be posting WIP photos on my Twitter account as I go along. Thanks for your understanding and I'll keep you posted as the convention approaches (too quickly!) Have a great week!