At Last, It’s 2021!

Happy New Year, mini painting friends. 2020 has finally released her crushing grip. We are, of course, no better off than we were two days ago, but I believe in the psychological power of beginnings, even when nothing has ultimately changed. The new year is a time to set goals and define success in the months ahead. So I shall.

Read on to learn my miniature hobby resolutions.

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Road Girl

I’ve have finished painting the Road Girl academic bust by Journeyman Miniatures. When I started this project, I expected a fairly quick turnaround, but the model ended up taking nearly two weeks. This mini was challenging, but the challenges were mostly self imposed.

I had a lot of fun painting this bust, though I grew tired of painting things over and over in search of my best work. I’m not sure I’ll ever reach a standard I’m truly satisfied with, but I’m learning to strive to approach that level more closely. It tests my patience, focus, and stamina, but it’s making me a better painter.:

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Painting Faces on Busts

It’s been a while since I’ve added to the hobby tutorials on ToadChapel. Let’s remedy that! As we near Christmas, I’ve painted 18 miniature busts since COVID sent us all inside back in March, so I figure that would be a good subject to explore.

The essence of any bust is the face. Many busts consist of little more than the head. In this tutorial I’m going to focus mostly on painting the face, though I may make incidental reference to how I approach other elements on the model.

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Touille

A few days ago I finished painting Touille, a delightful new miniature from Blacksmith. The model gave me a chance to continue my exploration of strong saturated colors, complex color composition, and vivid skintones.

I enjoy peaceful, happy, whimsical minis. Too often I show my enthusiastic two-year-old daughter a figure I’ve painted, only to have her point out that he’s ‘really grumpy’ or ‘really scary’. When I find an excellent sculpt like this one, then, that I know will catch her eye, I’m excited to get my hands on it. To be clear, these are also the kind of miniatures I like to paint most. I have no more fondness for demons clutching severed heads than my daughter does. Ok, maybe a little.

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Brand New Bust from Blacksmith

I’m a big fan of the small French miniatures manufacturer Blacksmith. I backed their Kickstarter bringing to miniature life the artwork of illustrator Jean-Baptiste Monge, and I have a few other minis of theirs as well. I have been impressed every time by their finely detailed and clean casting, and I love Blacksmith’s children’s book aesthetic.

I was very excited, therefore, to see Blacksmith offering a new sculpt by Matthieu Rouèche, whose beautiful and distinctive painting I have admired for a long time. Blabla, as Rouèche is sometimes known, has provided box art for a lot of Blacksmith’s models, but this is the first figure he has added to their range. I can only say that it fits right in!

On Touille I’m trying to further my study of powerful color which I began on Radigundus. I’ll probably tone things down from where they stand here, but I do want to retain the strength of those beautiful tones. Let me know what you think.

Keep your brushes wet!

Radigundus Complete

Santa’s ugly little helper is finished! I had the week off and found plenty of time to get this miniature bust to the finish line.

Radigundus will be headed overseas as part of a secret Santa mini exchange. I wanted to create something that would look Christmasy enough to remind my recipient of the occasion, but that wouldn’t look out of place the rest of the year.

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Radigundus WIP

I’ve started a quick project, one I’ve had in mind for some time. It’s Radigundus by Forged Monkey, released by FeR Miniatures. Forged Monkey is the imprint of the brilliant Raffaele Picca. I painted another of Raffa’s busts back in May and really enjoyed the experience, and I had admired Radigundus for a long time. It’s been fun getting some paint on this little cracker.

This will be a gift, which I’ll explain later. You can probably see the Christmasy vibe I’m chasing.

I don’t expect this tiny bust to take all too long, so check back soon (or better, subscribe!) to see him come to life!

Cormac (2 XI)

The time came to fulfill the Saint Francis vibe on Cormac, providing him with his little woodland friends.

Mini bust of Cormac by Lucas Pina for Black Crow

While these delightful little animals offer the possibility for strong secondary focal points, I chose to paint them as humble, somewhat drab creatures rather than colorful personalities.

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Cormac (28 X)

I’ve passed a crucial threshold with Cormac, bringing in the vibrant Autumn leaves to set the tone for the whole miniature. Hopefully now it is clear that Cormac himself represents the season and its fleeting beauty.

I find that my minis tend to evoke for me the circumstances of their creation, the time, goings on, and attendant emotions. I knew this year I wanted to capture the striking, fiery colors of the Fall foliage in western Pennsylvania (USA for those not familiar with American geography), playing into my sentimentality by making a kind of visual record of this special time of year.

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