“C’mon baby, light my fire!” – OSL tips

One of the most mysterious and impressive techniques used in miniature painting is the enigmatic OSL, which translates to On-miniature Source Lighting. Whether you like it or not is a matter of personal preference, but why shouldn’t you learn how to use this technique? These tips may be useful for this purpose.

I wanted to explain my way of painting light on miniatures. On our forum we had a discussion about Ana’s spellsinger, and it inspired me to writing this article.

General OSL tips

The way of painting light will be explained using my Demon of Chaos for the example. To begin with, we’ll remind several technical things that everybody should know:

  • The closer to the light source, the stronger the light, and the shadows too.
  • One needs to know what kind of light the source casts: fire – red/yellow, lightbulb – whiteish, etc.
  • We’re painting only these fragments of the mini, on which the light would fall in reality.
  • The best method of learning this technique is looking at reallife examples or works of other artists, and the metohds of trials and errors. Usually only experience and practice can show you how it’s done, so I am not teaching you any “success guaranteed” method, but only giving you some hints which can be useful.
  • Light looks different on different surfaces, eg. leather, metal, porous surface, or smooth surface. On a cloak or other fabric the light will remain matte (check the torn clothes on the demon’s front), while on metal the light would “slide” on the surface (the demon’s weapon).
  • Weak light will make weak intensity of the effect, small small reflections, it doesn’t reach far. On the other hand strong light source casts much light, and has better range. It’s up to you to decide on the intensity of the color and its luminance. And the intensity and luminance define the what the reflections will look like and how far from the light source will they be.
  • The further from the source, the bigger radius of the light, but lower intensity.

Photo: OSL tips - Tutorial

In my humble opinion it’s best to start with painting the mini in any way you like, and only then apply the light and shadows. More work will be needed, but the effect will be better (I know it from my experience). If we start with painting the effect of light, we can en counter various surprising problems, and they will not help us for sure…

Maybe not a step-by-step OSL tutorial

When the mini is painted, we can start painting our light. We’re starting with painting the light source (in this case – from the lamp), which will be helpful when we’ll be painting the reflections.

I started with the darker colors, and I worked toward the lightest point (Fiery Orange, Golden Yellow, Sunburst Yellow, white). We’re keeping the transitions smooth. The reflections can be made with glazes, which will create the natural effect of light falling on the surfaces.

Photo: OSL tips - Tutorial

As for the reflections, we’re starting with the surfaces positioned close to the light source, where the reflections will be stronger (the demon’s stomach and head). One can start with a darker color (eg. Blood Red) and mark the places where the light would fall on the whole mini, which will allow us a more complete view of the whole project.

Using glazes for the large surfaces we’re applying successive layers, until the effects satisfies us, but let us keep the color darker than the light source. Glazes will be no good for smaller elements, because thinned paint can run into recesses, etc. And that’s how we paint all the lit surfaces.

The last thing you can do, if there is such need, is making the surfaces opposite to the lit ones darker. I can give you another advice: the reflections near the light source will connct with shadows in a more rapid way: much light – much shadow (eg. the demon’s head). The farther reflections will have more delicate, subtle, and smooth transitions into the local color and then into the shadow (eg. the demon’s tail and tentacles).

And then we can use the same method for the miniature’s base 🙂

Rocky seashore bases by Demon Color

Years ago Demon_Color used to be a member of our team. At that time he described the way he created the seashore base, which he used for his mounted High Elf hero. If you want to see how to create such a base – keep reading…

Step one: Preparations

We need to acquire the following marterials:

  • the base (the most important thing ;))
  • cork (even from a bottle of wine)
  • Poxilina (or some other fast-curing putty)
  • glue (doesn’t need to be the one I used, even white glue will do)
  • static grass (or some other kind of grass used for making dioramas)
  • modelling tools

Photo: Rocky Seashore Base - Tutorial

Step two: The rock

Now we’re taking the cork (which can come in different shapes) and model it with a modelling knife to the shape we want for our rock. We tear the edges a bit, to make the rock look even more like a rock.

Our rock can’t cover the whole base, because we want to sculpt some sea waves on it, too. I suggest to make the rock on 3/4 or 3/5 of the base.

We glue the modelled cork to the base.

Photo: Rocky Seashore Base - Tutorial

Step three: The waves

Now we get down to modelling the sea waves. We cut off a 4-5mm thick block of Poxilina, and mix it until the colors blend with each other. We attach it to the part of the base, where we wanted the waves to be, and model it with a dentist’s spatula/ carver or a modelling knife.

Our moves have to be quick and firm. We need to remember that a wave hitting ricks is something undefined. Use your imagination (but don’t exagerate, because there still has to remain some room for the mini ;)). Poxilina is cured after some 10 minutes so you have to hurry and work quickly. 🙂

Photo: Rocky Seashore Base - Tutorial

Step four: Painting

Now that we have everything modelled (and our hands washed after working with this toxic stuff) we can start painting.

I suggest using the following paints for this purpose:

Water: GW (Midnight Blue) – (Midnight Blue + Ice Blue) – (Ice Blue) – (Ice Blue + White) – White

Rock: GW (Bestial Brown) – (Snakebite Leather) – (Vomit Brown) – (Bleached Bone) – (White)

Use drybrushing of course 🙂 But for the waved I would suggest wetbrushing, and a lot of paint. If you feel like wetbrushing the rock, you are free to do it 🙂 I would even recommend it for better effect.

Photo: Rocky Seashore Base - Tutorial

Step five: Finishing touches

So we’re finishing our work. 😀

Now we only need to attach the mini to the base and to sprinkle some grass over the rock.

And don’t paint these patterns because they’re my trademark 😉

Photo: Rocky Seashore Base - Tutorial

— DEMON COLOR

And now something about BLOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!

In the days of old it was good enough to splatter some red paint on your miniatures and consider it well-painted blood. These days people have higher expectations, so if you want to learn how to paint blood in a realistic and impressive way – just follow the tutorial

If we want to achieve the effect of dripping blood we need: Tamiya Clear Red paint, Uhu glue, black paint (one can also use some brown or blue).

Photo: Painting blood - Tutorial

We apply our “ingredients” onto a piece of plastic, an old CD, etc.

Photo: Painting blood - Tutorial

We mix it with a stick or toothpick (it would be a shame to waste a paintbrush).

Photo: Painting blood - Tutorial

And now we apply our “ketchup” onto blades/swords/jaws of monsters (the glue wil stretch like a spiderweb).

Photo: Painting blood - Tutorial

And when everything is dry you can apply some glossy varnish. Enjoy bleeding. ;-D

PS – This tutorial is published courtesy of CUKIERas and MaxMini.eu.
Thanks guys 🙂

Painting power weapons

Ok guys, I have had several people ask me how I paint my power weapons so I decided to put up a tutorial. (Besides, I can’t let Fist outdo me). This is an incredibly easy and quick way of painting power weapons all things considered and doing the tutorial only took 30 mins including picture taking. All in all, once you get the mix of paints down you can knock out a weapon blade like this in 10 minutes. Here goes.

Painting power weapons: Power sword

Start off by painting the blade Chaos Black, ensuring that the black is even and covers the entire blade.

Painting power weapons - Tutorial

First step is to use pure Red Gore for the first layer. Paint on the Red Gore in a lightning shaped pattern that looks pleasing to you. It is not at all a must to be painted a certain way.

Painting power weapons - Tutorial

Do the same thing again within the Red Gore with pure Blood Red. From this point on keep in mind that you do not want to follow the pattern of the Red Gore to the tee. Instead, with this coat and all following coats, do a lightning pattern within the first layer making sure to leave edges of the first showing through.

Painting power weapons - Tutorial

Next step is to use a 50/50 blood red/fiery orange mix and repeat the same step from above.

Painting power weapons - Tutorial

Now add a very small amount of the previous mix to some Bad Moon Yellow until you have a colour similar to that pictured here.

Painting power weapons - Tutorial

Finally mix a very small amount of Skull White to the yellow mix you just made and paint in spots at the thickest parts of the lightning pattern and along the very edges like shown.

Painting power weapons - Tutorial

And there you have it. Fast, simple and easy and very effective looking. Enjoy.

— Wraithlord

Bragon – Interview with Jeremie Bonamant Teboul

Bragon – Jeremie Bonamant Teboul.
Born in 1980 in Lyon, this well-known French painter says that his life has been much like a scratch-built model: entirely composed of bits and pieces which have been fastened together with a string. Some time ago Illusionrip interviewed Jeremie. Here are the answers he gave to our miniature painting forum members’ questions.

Bragon - Jeremie Bonamant Teboul
Bragon – Jeremie Bonamant Teboul

I: How long have you been painting miniatures?

JBT: Since 1994

I: What made you interested in this hobby?

JBT: I wanted some manual work, creation of something with my own hands.

I: Do you still remember your first painted miniature? Do you still have it?

JBT: My first miniature was a plastic space marine, whole painted in red. Unfortunately I don’t have it in my collection any more.

I: Have you ever tried gaming in addition to being an “artist”?

JBT: I am not a gamer, nor an artist. I don’t think our passion deserves to be called art.

I: Do you have any favorite manufacturers of miniaturers? If you do – why? (Allan Kraken is not taken into consideration 😉 )

JBT: I am not a fan of particular brands but of sculptors and painters. The best ones often represent various brands.

I: What helped you in making the biggest improvement in your painting technique?

JBT: Meeting other hobbyists and the joy I have from painting. I believe that joy releases creativity. Try to avoid anything which frustrates you, eg. the wish of perfect execution, rivalry, or endless comparisons to other painters.

Ad Majorem Imperatori Gloria by Bragon
Ad Majorem Imperatori Gloria by Bragon

I: What made you start sculpting or converting?

JBT: I wanted to execute a project from scratch, to use my imagination and especially try something new, instead of resting on my laurels of already achieved abilities.

I: What would be more fun to you: creating a new miniature and having it painted by somebody else, or painting an unconverted miniature sculpted by somebody else?

JBT: The only criterion of my choices is the fact that I like the particular project (concept), and the rest doesn’t matter.

I: Do you have any favorite brands of paints or brushes? Which ones and why?

JBT: Surely Raphaels brushes, series 8404. Good combination of volume, precise tip, and length of bristles. Just perfect for the technique I use…

Jeremie Bonamant Teboul - caricature
Jeremie Bonamant Teboul – caricature

I: What advice would you give to painters and forum members of Chest of Colors?

JBT: Paint for fun, avoid rivalry and comparisons of various executions – such approaches only cause frustration and complexes.

I: Layering or wetblending? Which is your technique of choice and why?

JBT: I don’t care much about techniques, the most important thing is fun of using them. Even if a technique is more efficient, I often choose a different one – the one which I more enjoy.

I: Are you going to this year’s Golden Demon? (say NO, please – we’ll have at least any chances 😉 )

JBT: Why not? I’ve felt like visiting your country for many years – I am especially interested in visiting Oswiecim (Auschwitz) of which I read a lot.

I: Which miniature are you the most satisfied with?

JBT: Unfortunately I don’t have a favorite miniature.

Lans Quenelle De Barback by Bragon
Lans Quenelle De Barback by Bragon

I: Do you have any artistic education? Do you think it’s useful in our hobby? (for example I am a butcher ;))

JBT: In my opinion education in itself isn’t all this important, it’s more about one’s manual skills and creativity.

I: Have you ever been a modeller before you got into painting and sculpting?

JBT: I’ve loved drawing and assembling models since I was a child!

I: Who is your current favorite painter? Whose works attract the most of your attention?

JBT: The person whose influence is the strongest is obviously my flatmate – Allan Carasco, but it’s more about everyday life than painting. Painting is a result of my experiences, lifestyle, and it’s where my ideas and subject come from.

I: Could you point us to a few new artists, who – in your opinion – can join the ‘world-class league’ of painters?

JBT: Of course, I am watching many young authors, who are able to use the experience of their older friends to the fullest, and on the other hand they are very spontaneous at presenting their own visions and personalities.

I: Do you think there are currently any trends in miniatures painting?

JBT: There are a few talented painters, who present new motifs and in some way have influence on others, but it’s not enough to be talking about trends or fashion.

Grallapoussah De Barback by Bragon
Grallapoussah De Barback by Bragon

I: Is painting your hobby, or maybe your source of income?

JBT: I am combining my passion with my way of living, indeed…

I: Has it ever happened that you sold a contest-winning miniature?

JBT: Of course, painting gives me much fun, but after finishing a miniature I don’t need it for anything else, so I don’t have any problems with parting with them.

I: How much time per day do you spend painting?

JBT: I think it would be 8 hours daily in average.

I: Do you listen to music while painting? What are your favorite musicians?

JBT: Of course, as I am typing this I am listening to Berurier Noirs (French rockband). Then I also like French light and alternative music. I often listen to cultural programmes on the radio.

Jeremie Bonamant Teboul: Less professors, more cops
Jeremie Bonamant Teboul: “Less professors, more cops”

I: Would you like to add anything to the community of Chest of Colors?

JBT: I hope we’ll be able to meet during some contest, exhibition, etc.

I: And now, at the very end, one more but more precise question: Jeremie, could you explain the term “Saturation of color”?

JBT: Saturation is the proportion of grey (black, white, or combination thereof) we have in a particular miniature – playing with saturation allows to achieve visual effects like contrast, etc.

– 2007