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.
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.
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.
My friend and mini painting mentor David Colwell suggested that I work my way around the color wheel as a means of deepening my understanding of color. He suggested using space marines for the project, as their abundance of simple shapes (spheres, cylinders, cones, etc) would give plenty of practice with light placement, and their open spaces lots of opportunity to improve my blending.
This seemed like a great plan, and here is the first of the chromatic space marines.
I just finished up a wonderful bust from Artik Toys, sculpted by Patrick Masson. It’s a vampire based upon a painting by the great Paul Bonner. You can read some of Bonner’s thoughts on the composition of the painting (and, you know, see it) in an article he wrote for Muddy Colors.