Sunday, April 28, 2013

Showcase: the Many Faces of the Urdaggar

As promised, this week's showcase is more Urdaggar!  Ever since their release, this has been one of the most wildly popular freebands for DGS's fantasy skirmish game Freeblades.  Just looking at the models its easy to see why, each has a ton of character and a great sense of motion that typifies the Urdaggar's strategy of lightning-swift attacks.  I already showed off the first batch of Urdaggar that I painted a few weeks ago for  the DGS studio commission.  Shortly after, I received another commission from their owner Jon C. to paint up another batch.  This time I got even more models (eleven instead of eight) and many of them were the same sculpt (three slingers, five unproven, etc.) instead of one of each.  Since there aren't any alternate sculpts out for any of the Urdaggar yet, I knew this would be a great opportunity to see how much variation I could build between models with a little bit of green stuff, some super glue, and paint.

Let's take a look!

This is a model we've seen before, the boar warrior.  I didn't dig out the green stuff for this guy to give him his own unique character, but instead I focused on what I could do with my paint palette   Since my first experience painting this model I've started to hit my stride with what I wanted concerning the Urdaggar's tattoos.  For those members who hail from the boar clans, I employ a lot of curving, flowing designs with loops and crescents that mimic the curved tusks of a boar.  Another improvement over the first paint that I did has been made to the banding found on a warrior's arms.  The banding is a concentric spiral that continues unbroken around the arm and terminates where it is closes off by a loop that meets an interior section of the band.  This way a warrior's bands can grow with their achievements over time by extending the the outer band line and add interior designs before terminating it into its self again.  You can see this well in the banding on the boar warrior's arm above. 

One of the best sculpts that allows a painter/sculptor a lot of room for variation is the slinger.  I received three in this commission and decided I would do three different hair styles: the classic sculpt, long hair, and what I call the "sexy comb-over."  Here is the long hair variant which I did with raven-black hair.

The slinger sculpt is excellent for modification because its hairdo is so short to begin with.  The simple addition of a bit of green stuff and voila, you have a battle maiden with a flowing mane!

This is the style I dubbed "sexy comb-over."  Yet again, another green stuff add, no filing or cutting necessary.  I also positioned her arm in a wildly different posture that before, to add even more variation amongst the slingers.  

I also did this slinger's hair red, like the studio paint, but had special intentions of getting it just right.  The paint I did before was a little off from a true red head and I wanted this one to be more on the mark.

The final slinger received no special hair treatment, and kept her stock doo.  For this one I turned her aiming hand more to the side and brought the sling up further in its arc to emulate a moment captured a split-second before the bullet's release.  She also got a subtle add, a mole (or beauty mark if you will) to her left upper cheek.

And there you have it, three of the same model, painted a converted to be slightly different, but adding a great deal of variation to the squad!

Another model that I received multiples of was the unproven.  Since the model is quite static (a cool pose nonetheless) I stuck to my paints to give a bit of variety to the five I received.  

Of course each unproven got different tattoos, but they also got something a little less obvious, different facial hair!

It's not super obvious because the hair is painted on, but if you look closely you'll notice that each model has the stock goatee, but some have slightly different additions...

Sideburns perhaps..

And my personal favorite, the Chester Alan Arthur! (plus goatee of course)

The final two sculpts I received were the hunter and night hunter.  I was really pleased with how the last hunter turned out, so I decided to keep with the same themes of lightning bolts and eagle talons for tattoos.

I felt much the same about the night hunter.  I really enjoyed painted her last time and relished the opportunity to do so again.

I loved the one-eye-shut concentration on her face.

And her skinny rib showing torso (I imagine the Urdaggar would sometimes be on the ragged edge between hunger and desperation).

I even gave her two quivers to load her foes with arrow shafts.

I love painting night hunters and the great flesh tone coloration you can get on them, each ab popping out and individual ribs protruding from a taught torso.  It's a great sculpt and fun to bring to life, but one detail escaped me.  She was supposed to be wearing full body camo.  On the bright side, you can see how that looks later in May!

That's it for this week and our second look at the Urdaggar and all the variation you can build within the range.  Come back next week to see what I'm working on here at the Monster Lab!

See you then!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What's on My Desk: Harry Potter Painted Journals

This week I've put away the miniatures and I'm back to work painting journals for my collaboration with Sweet Olive Books.  This next batch includes everything from Hunger Games to Harry potter, taking inspiration from well established and already beloved designs and also a number of originals I've crafted myself.

Let's take a look at what I have on my desk so far..

From Slytherin green to gothic baroque, there's a beautiful spectrum of colors to the covers to be painted.

Though the colors look great, and Jessie Alexander did a fantastic job hand-crafting them, there's still designs to be painted on their covers.  To to that, the first step is to create a stencil.   For each, I took a regular piece of 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper and sketched a design onto it in pencil before going back over the final draft with a fine tipped black sharpie.  Not only does this create a template from which to make more, but it also prevents you from having to edit on the cover and run the risk of marring it with eraser blemishes.

Here's the stencil I created for House Hufflepuff, it doesn't look like much now, but just wait!

After I transfered the design with a piece of graphite paper and a stylus to the journal's cover (a process I'll detail in a later post) I broke out the paints and finally got to work bringing the design to life in earnest.  At this point it was really rewarding to see the badger in full color and get a feel for what the end piece would look like.  Another hour and the finished project would look like...

I wanted each great house's coat to have a very individual feel, apart from their animal sigil and the arms' colors.  The helm and breastplate at the top was the perfect to add some extra details.  Hufflepuff's armor is surrounded by food and drink, indicative of the welcoming nature of its members and their hospitality.  In contrast, Slytherin's coat is decorated with the poisonous blooms nightshade and hemlock. 

A simpler, but by no means less elegant, design finished for Harry Potter is this HP cover.  Though it's not nearly as complex as a house crest I still think it looks quite nice!

Many of the journals Jessie and I are making come in two sizes, small and medium.  This Twilight journal is the same as one that I painted before, but this time its in a larger size.  The smaller size is perfect for a personal journal and the medium is a great size for keeping track of character stats in role playing games.  In fact, we plan to launch a line just for that purpose!

That's it for this week and the look at what's on my desk.  Come back next week and I'll be showing off a bunch of cool Urdaggar tribesmen for Freeblades.

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, happy hobbying and good gaming!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Showcase: Urdaggar Tribes of Valor

My first studio painting commission is in the books!  The group I painted was the six starter set models (seen above in their box art photo) and an additional follower and leader model for the Urdaggar Tribes of Valor.  This was a truly exciting project for me as it was the start to my career as DGS Studio's official studio painter.  From here on out I'll be painting their first set of master sculpts, and then those models will be used for photos for everything from packaging to advertisements and rule books images!  This is what every aspiring painted hopes to achieve, and I'm very thankful I was the one chosen to do it!

Let's take a look at the models for this commission up close..

This is the Urdaggar's Bear Mystic, their resident spellcaster.  The Bear Mystic was one of my favorites from this batch of models, I love the sense of motion and dynamism of her sculpt.  

One goal that was given to me for this project was to come up with original tattoo ideas for each model.  In Urdaggar society a warrior accumulates individual tattoos as they achieve feats in battle.  For the mystic, I wanted to put forth designs that were uniquely bearlike.  I found myself doing things in three, mimicking the three claws on a bear paw.  That pattern was echoed on her face (three claw marks), arm (three bands), and torso (a bear paw under her breast).

The Urdaggar Hunter is another exceptional model from the range, I think the sculptor gave him the perfect look, that of a stalking predator.  For the hunter I did an eagle design on his shoulders and clawlike devices down his chest.

Two talon designs that I experimented with were the side-view of a desceding talon with lightning bolts shooting from it.  The idea of a ranged warrior's metaphorical "bolts" was a perfect match for the hunter.

The other talon design was a front-view of splayed claws.  This turned out to be a good design to incorporate with the classic "banding" patterns that typifies Urdaggar achievement art.

The Night Hunter is a veteran marksman within the Urdaggar tribe, and sports some pretty impressive tattooing.  This was one of the few models where I received specific instruction as to what the studio wanted done with the tattoos.  The unique wing-mask tattoo on her face is typical amongst veteran Night Hunters and ends up looking really cool in 28mm.

I found myself wanting to find a way that the ranged warriors of the Urdaggar would express their tally of kills.  I came up with the idea of finger bands and dots as a way that they would keep track.  A band signifies five enemies killed, a dot one.  These dots and bands can be found on the draw-hand, the one that delivers the killing blow.

Yet another exceptional model in the line, with all his broad musculature, the Boar Warrior is a great model for doing some elaborate tattoo designs.  Whereas the bear had claw marks, and the eagle had sharp talons, I wanted to differentiate the boar by doing something different.  While thinking about it I began doodling tribal designs on a piece of paper that included the curved horns of a boar, and then it hit me and I knew exactly what the designs would look like!  Boar tattoos are dominated by sweeping curves and loops that turn back on themselves and curl up to mirror the image of tusks.

Another little touch I added to this boar warrior was his flushed nose/cheeks.  I imagine that he's a pretty hard working guy and that swinging a battle ax around (not to mention a belly full of mead) would put some color on his face .

A novice in the ranks of the Urdaggar, the Unproven have the fewest tattoos of all.  For this guy I wanted to do wolf tattoos, tight knit designs that echo a wolf howling at the moon.

Another wolf tribesmen, the Wolfkarl is the only member of the freeband to wear chain mail.  The Wolfkarl is a veteran warrior who has weather countless engagements.  To depict this guy's venerable years I added a touch of gray into his beard and roots of his hair.  Though much of his skin is covered up, he has a bunch of tattoos peeking out from under armor and undoubtedly more hidden underneath.

The Slinger was a fun model to paint, and I wanted to try something a bit different for her.  Like many fair-skinned people with red hair and green eyes, she has freckles on her cheeks, chest, and upper arms.

The last member of the freeband is the Berserker.  Wielding animal claws and a fur cloak, this guy rampages into the fray with little concern for his personal safety.  I imagined a character like that would have more extreme tattooing, so this guy got a healthy amount of face tats.

Look for these models in game stores in north-eastern Kansas and western Missouri this spring/summer (those who participated in the latest DGS kickstarter have gotten theirs already) and at gaming conventions like GenCon!

Thanks for checking out my work, be sure to come back next time to see what we're bringing to life here at the Monster Lab!

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