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Monday, December 13, 2010

User Content... uh... Monday: Dark Eldar Test Schemes

Sorrowshard over at Rant In E Minor painted some super sweet test models for his Dark Eldar army. He then did his damnedest to make sure people knew about how awesome they were. He marched straight into the HoP offices, grabbed Dethtron by his head and said "I'm not going to jail for you or anyone!" Wait, that was Wayne's World... But Sorrowshard did want more people to enjoy his work and as HoP exists as a sort of non-profit pimp, we said "hell yeah!"

Dethtron and Lauby have asked me to give some insight into the process I use to create color schemes for my new armies.

As I feel they are more interested in the creative process than the actual method of army selection Ill just stick with painting methodology for this article.

I usually have a few ideas floating around in my head I'll usually go through the various GW schemes for ideas, trawl the net, art, comics whatever, some ideas just stick and start to grow out of some of that collated stuff.

For Example, the first piece was kinda inspired by the Obsidian rose scheme which was my favorite from the Dex, crossed with some inspirational colour work by MajesticChicken. throw in my own painting style and approach to colour and voila we have a test model.

1st attempt, failure
At this stage depending on how it takes me ill always try and do a decent standard on my test models, as I want to know how good it can really look. I'm trying to convince myself its the shizzle after all. The quicker I can hit what I want/clicks the less painting I have to do, Less painting = good.

Looking at it now it's, really not as bad as I thought, but I put the ideas on a model so I can see if I like how it translates onto a mini, if I'm not sure about it after a day or two Ill leave it.

Part of being good at painting is being very self critical while you are doing it , I think it takes a cool-down period before you are able to look at things in the right frame of mind, so I like to sit it on a shelf, look at it under different light types and also gauge peoples reaction to it, not that other people thoughts are that important to my opinion per se , but if it confirms what I'm feeling I'm more likely to make the right decision and move on.

So anyway yeah, the first one did not work for me really, it needed another colour on the armor and the purple did not really set it off or give it enough pop. I was not happy so I tried changing the red to closer match the art I linked , I thought that was what I was after , the reason I do tests is that ideas and especially stuff robbed straight from art wont always work , it may look brilliant on the page , but may not work for real for a number of reasons , see now I look at it some weeks on, happy with my final scheme I think the first black/red one is in fact better .....

Here's what I said after completion on the day.

"This was inspired by majestic Chicken's Coloration of some GW art , I'm not actually sure I like it, the photography is crap , Its bloody early in the morning and I cannot deal with faffing around with the camera right now , I'll try do better one and Edit later today .

I'll be doing my alternate theme either today or tomorrow, If I don't like either scheme by the time I start the army in earnest I'll likely just ripoff GW and do the Obsidian Rose Kabal."

So I went onto a different idea , I found myself obsessing over lurid Gamma green contrasted with black, I think the original colours stuck in my head from a graphic novel I was reading, then I saw a TV advert with these crazy greens and I was like " yeah lets give it a go" so I ran the idea through my head for a few days until I had really narrowed it to something I was excited about trying , which made it easy to sit down and just fire it out, I also wanted the opportunity to see how my ideas for DE flesh would work on a model. I'm actually quite happy with it , but having done a test I now know how to tweak it when I do my actual army pieces to get it just right, so even if I don't like the central scheme I have at least started to nail down an element that will be in the army no matter what basic colours I set on.

Long story short , my plans for high contrast black/gamma bamboozled themselves and decided that I would in fact paint this instead, don't ask, Its cool a solid scheme but it does nothing to set me on fire.

FTW liked it and featured it on their top ten that week. Sometimes models just paint themselves .....

It's important for me and I assume everyone else out there that the scheme I'm going to apply to potentially hundreds of models fires me up and excites me , I have to like the end result or I wont work for it , I say work because for me painting is mostly pure grind and not a pleasure , so this is just part of my coping strategy.

I started blogging as a displacement activity , as you can see I avoid painting a great deal, fortunately my blog is doing better than I could have hoped subsequently.

Something worth discussing briefly is why I use warriors well actually I always use a basic box of line troops as they usually epitomize the army aesthetic and tie into all the other elements of the army in some way , so an ideal test bed to see how a scheme will work across the whole thing. Also they are fairly cheap , I had resigned myself to possibly having to write of the whole box if that's what it took , I'm just glad it only took three attempts, Ill maybe put the trial schemes up as prizes on RantE or something at some point.

Here are the thoughts I published after completing this one -

"Even though Its better than the last I'm not sure I like this one either ....

I still have the Requiem/Sin city style to try and another idea or two to flesh out on, lets see how the former pans out next."

Basically, getting the scheme straight on your most basic models gives you a solid framework /palette to work from. All the effort spent now will be rewarded later. this process even gives you the opportunity to decide if the paint scheme is going to be labour intensive or time consuming and nail down fine details and basing visually.

Here is an example of how the basic scheme can be used to tie the whole army together this does not mean painting everything the same, yet be modified so each unit looks different , this follows through Vehicles and characters also, I just want to show why getting your rank and file right can give you the whole army.

The first test gave me Dire Avengers like this.
Which gave me the basis to deconstruct the palette ,
To get Dragons like this.

Which made working out the tanks easy,
 Notice how I tied the blue from the Avengers back in

I always do Special characters later . Mainly as a break but also to get more comfortable with the palette. It allowed me to paint Eldrad so he will fit with any unit he joins now

The Kabal of Invidious Requiem is given birth !

At this point I still had two solid tangible ideas. One was to see how the DE cover art translated to a model , I even went and bought paint with the intention of trailing it, however I continued mulling over the other option and my research got me so in the mood I just picked up a brush and forced myself to do it. I say forced because Part of me feared doing it, the inspiration for it was from my favorite Graphic novel writers/artist/series. I have an almost religious attachment to it and felt intimidated by actually tackling it myself.

I also feared screwing it up. It had been one of my first ideas , but I kept pushing it into the back of my head, the only way I can really describe the sensation is that its close to the "fear of rejection" I suppose. so all I was essentially doing was staring at it longingly from across the room, take from that what you will ....

I picked up the brush @ around 8 in the evening it was cold and dark, it took me a long time to get going. At some point after midnight something clicked and I was in some kind of trance and I just kept painting, It took somewhere around six hours or more, I did not move from the seat to pee ,get a drink or anything and it felt like only maybe an hour or two had passed, I was in some kind of weird painting trance and was * gasp* enjoying myself .... I had to re work several parts to get it the way I wanted but I was watching this grow from a black piece of plastic into exactly what I wanted.

I was not even really consciously aware of the process or what I was doing, the only thing I do remember stopping to consider was that it was too monochromatic and needed something to offer contrast to give it some 'pop' I just tried out the green/blue OSL on a hunch and bang , there it was.

There is a certain thrill you only get every now and then when you paint, I had the same feeling back in August when I tackled Maugen Ra before that it had been maybe a year. even though you have been hunched over the desk in pain for many hours.

I came out of 'the zone' invigorated, I can honestly say I enjoyed doing it this time, for a change.So just to complete the picture for you here were my final thoughts at the time, I'm obviously high on something , or is that just sleep deprived...

"Muh hahaha ha haaagh liive ! LIIIVE my pretties, release the flying monkeys, Hellions !!

This turned into a heck of a lot of work, going to have to find a way to speed this up when I do the army. I really like how the basing turned out and will have mangled skeletons and jagged rocks all over the place , I'm kinda Impatient to see what the red uplight looks like on a raider .....And I'm really going to need a way to speed these up, Its a little less monochrome than I had originally planned but needed the extra colour to make it 'pop'

*Gibber gibber gibber flurble gurgle *

The lesson I can learn here is that sometimes to really get what you want, in life as much as hobby you have to push past your fears and inhibitions everyone has their pet hates hobby wise, be it basing, assembly,de flashing, terrain... whatever, you get the picture, but it holds you back in some way.

Try and give everything like that your best shot, especially that which intimidates you, and be prepared to fail, every time you do, you learn something that brings you closer, and closer is better, so give it a go and keep trying, you may just like what emerges from the wreckage.


Every single model I ever screwed up is in here.

Some pretty hot shit up there. We're hoping to get Sorrowshard to write about the 'other half' of the equation and talk list selection, tactics and general strategery. So look for that in the future. In the meantime, there's this great interview with some guy about some bullshit about a boss Venom and the ever infotaining retro reviews.