June Goals…Late

Uhh, time kind of got away from me here. I’ve been on a mini vacation the last week so this month has been totally thrown off.

My main goals for the month were to:

  • Start and finish my two RCL minis I committed to.
  • Get some small paintings done.
    • Figure out how to make frames for said paintings.

I have done most of these things already. My two RCL minis were for the duo and trio categories.

Crab Man and Ape

Now my second goal has two parts listed but it’s definitely more complicated than that.

I painted a total of twelve (12) complete paintings, two of them being triptychs. So if you count those as separate paintings I’ve done sixteen (16) of them.

I’ve managed to do about six (6) in two days each. So less than 48 hours per six (6).

The first six (6) I did about a week and a half ago:

These came out much better than I’d anticipated. I’m still getting used to tube paints and how they behave. I will get back to the frames shortly.

These are the second set of four (4) single paintings. I did these plus the two (2) triptychs in about 36 hours. The pink tree and the island triptych are done on 2.75-inch by 3-inch canvases.

The two triptychs:

Now for the second part of my second goal. Frames.

I decided I would make my own frames. I took craft sticks (i.e. Popsicle sticks) and cut them down to fit. This is more or less working. However, I did not do the best job at this. I am looking into some tools to make them more even cuts so, hopefully, it will fit together more snugly.

Those are the two I finished. I simply used a ruler and heavy duty Xacto knife to make the cuts. You can see the gaps at the corners don’t fit together very well. I had to trim them down small amounts after I’d made the initial cuts and this just did not work. On the first one I attempted to shove pieces of discarded craft sticks to fill the gap. Again, not working. I have some small tools on order that should make this much easier or, at least, more uniform.

As for the canvas pieces. I have not figured framing out yet. I’ve watched a few video tutorials on how to do it but I currently can’t find the materials to make it cost effective for myself or the customer.

The other thing that I’ve done that you can’t see is on the backs of the framed pictures. I added small magnets to them. Frames and magnets will be add-ons once I get set up to sell them. The ones on canvas paper will be mounted onto the same canvas paper that has not been painted. I hope to be able to use actual photo mats, or something similar, soon. I also have ideas for some slightly fancier frames but have not tested this out yet. That is next on my to-do list.

That is what I’ve been up to. I’ve been very busy, even on my mini vacation, but I am getting things done. I hope to have July goals up in a timely manner.

Happy Painting,
~S

Mid-May

It’s the middle of May already? The year is almost half over already? I feel like things just started.

I thought I’d take a little time to give y’all an update on how the hobby goals for the year are going. If you, like myself, have already forgotten my hobby goals I will link to the original post from the beginning of the year here.

First the hobby goals:

  • Ma’al Drakar
    • Have not picked this up yet
  • Grimtalon
    • I have actually started this one.
  • Baba Yaga’s Hut
    • Another one left on the shelf for now
  • Eldritch Desert Diorama
    • Very slowly working on this one. Trying to find good ideas for wall materials.
  • Shadows of Brimstone and Forbidden Fortress
    • Have not touched.
  • ReaperCon 2020 minis
    • Have worked on a couple but have not finished any of them.
  • Reaper Challenge League
    • This has been going really well. I’m getting a lot of the Shelf of Shame cleared and getting more things out of the way than I anticipated. So that’s been very helpful.

Now onto the hobby adjacent goals:

  • Work on the blog
    • I’ve been doing this a little bit at a time. I know most of the things I’ve been posting this year are updates to things that may or may not be noticeable right away. But this will get me back into the habit of writing anything and, hopefully, get back on a content schedule.
  • Level up photography skills
    • Still working on this one. Earlier this year I purchased a light box because the one I had was falling apart.
    • I bought a tripod.
    • I’ve been getting back into the habit of putting my logo on photos.
  • Paint and mini situation
    • I have not put a lot into organizing.
      • I bought some peg board for the minis still in blisters, that I have yet to put up.
      • I have aimlessly moved things around the room trying to figure out how I want to organize things.
      • I have not updated the minis spreadsheet much.
    • Paint has been slowly rolling in and I have not been cataloging like I’d like to be.
      • I have not been doing swatches.
      • I have not been organizing these much either.

Things I have been doing:

  • Updating the website
  • Coming up with ideas for fun posts in the future
    • If you have any topics you’d like to see drop me a comment or sent me a message through the contact page.
  • Organizing and re-organizing the desk
  • Setting up shop
    • Which is mostly currently trying to write an about me, taking product photos, editing photos, working on pricing, some painting, and many other things I need to do that seem overwhelming.

So that’s what’s going on in a nutshell. I’m very busy with Real LifeTM so everything is kind of getting shuffled around to accommodate that stuff.

On that note I’m going to end this very long ramble and hope some of it made sense.

As always,
Happy Painting
~S

May 2021 Goals

This month is going to be busy.

I want to get some painting done, not committing to a lot because of other things going on but I’d like to get one or two of my RCL minis done and possibly work on one of the large model entries.

I have been mostly doing a lot of work to get the shop up and running. Hoping to have things totally set up and ready to sell by mid-June.

This is where I’ll be selling. It also allows me to take donations towards things that will help me with getting things done without taking money from me. So 100% of your donations will go to me. Currently, my goal is $80USD for a new, much larger, micro SD card for my phone. I do most things on it so I need the space for photos and apps that help me get editing done.

I have not posted much so far but am hoping I can find some fun things to do with it and give y’all some sort of rewards for donating, buying something, or commissioning me.

Speaking of commissions, I will be able to list anything from painting commissions to one-on-one help sessions to supporter only tutorials. What kind of stuff would y’all like to see?

Happy Painting,
~S

Delays

Not too long ago I announced that I would be opening up a shop. This is still true but there have been some setbacks that will delay things for… a while. This being said I do still plan to continue to open up just not where I thought I would be opening.

I have several options floating around but have not settled on a good one, for me, yet. I am still working on this though. I am still needing to apply for the business license as well but don’t want to do that until I’m positive I’ve got everything set up and ready to sell.

On another note, I am still also messing around with the portfolio but I don’t think there will be any more huge changes as of now. I’m also not planning anymore overall site changes in the near future.

On an even different note, I’m going to get back to painting some landscapes. I got small canvases that I think would work great for small backdrops for photos. I haven’t done one in a while so here’s hoping they come out the way I want them to.

Anyway, those are somethings that are going on around here. I’ll make my April RCL update a little later this week when I’m sure I’m done doing minis for the month.

Happy Painting,
~S

Site Changes

I have done a few things around here that I think will help make things better overall on both ends.

I have been overhauling the portfolio section. I am taking some things down for the sake of photo quality. I, most notably, removed that Shadows of Brimstone section. I will be posting this back up in the near future. Because of the way I uploaded it things went wonky on my end and I needed to start it over. Which at this point means I’ll be taking new photos of everything. There may end up being some overlap of portfolio pages because I did paint a lot of Shadows of Brimstone during previous Minivembers.

Also, portfolio related, I have taken some of my older photos and cropped them slightly and updated them with my logo. I will be doing a lot of this.

I have added a WhatsApp button on the contact page. I hope this will be easier than filling out a contact form. I switched around the main color palette of the site. I liked the blue I had but this feels much more readable with the off white of the background. I’m sure I have changed a few other things that I’m not remembering right now.

Please, as always, if you have any feedback (or if anything is borked) let me know and I’ll see what I can do to fix it.

Happy Painting,
~S

April Goals

I’ve got a lot to do this month. As mentioned in my last post I am working on opening up an online shop to sell some of my painted miniatures and take small commissions. I am also working on the Reaper Challenge League. I do expect to sell some of these minis in my shop. Nothing is live yet so I will post here shortly before I do.

So for the RCL it is Quarter 2 already! I was not fortunate enough to be drawn for any of the prizes I entered but such is life. There is always next quarter.

As always for this challenge these are Reaper Miniatures.

Theme: (Vampire): Jahenna, Female Vampire (77669)

Limited Palette: (Purple, Orange, Pink) Styx Purple, Fire Orange, Runic Glow: Giant Frog (44024)

Player Character: Lysette, Elven Mage (Bones USA (30001))

Monster: Gulper (44038)

Duo: Cyclops (77705)

Trio: Merowyn Lightstar (77675)

New Release: Darius the Blue (Bones USA (30002))

Freebie: D’Tenian, d10 (77647)

I have completed two of my eight minis already. The Giant Frog and the Gulper.

The Giant Frog was used for my limited palette challenge. I used only the 5 colors shown.

I spent most of today trying to figure out how to do sheer cloth on Jahenna but it was not working with me so I switched over to the Gulper to give myself a brain break. That break turned into me finishing it.

It was a nice break but I’m still going to have to figure out how to do sheer fabric if I want to get Jahenna done.

Anyway, this turned into something longer than I thought it’d be. I’ve got lots of work to do now.

Happy Painting,
~S

Opening Shop

I’ve kept this pretty under wraps for the most part but I am happy to announce I am one step closer to opening my shop to sell, for now, pre-painted miniatures by me! I may dabble in some commission work but it will be very selective if I do.

I’m slowly getting the supplies together for shipping and whatnot. I will need to pick out some minis that I deem good enough to sell. I cannot currently sell directly through the blog but this is the next best thing. I will be selling on http://diceblock.shop . It is a fairly new platform that caters to gamers and collectors of all levels. As far as I know you, currently, cannot see my shop because it is not totally set up yet as I have no listings or commission slots listed.

I still need to get some licensing stuff figured out but I think I have what I need to get it done and now it’s down to filling out forms and waiting. Hoping to be up and running in the next couple months.

I am very excited to embark upon this journey. Hoping it will bring back a sense of purpose since the plague has gotten me into some very not good headspace as far as painting goes.

Anyway, excitement! Hope y’all will join in on the fun. Can’t wait to see what y’all thing.

As always, happy painting,
~S

All Mixed Up: Let’s Talk Vortex Mixers

I am beyond excited to be writing this review and short tutorial. I have wanted a vortex mixer for literal years. As always, I spent my own money on this, I am not paid or compensated in any way for this.

This is the INTLLAB Lab Vortex Mixer. It was not the most expensive mixer out there at about $65USD, they can run up to several hundred dollars in some cases, but it works very well for my purposes.

“So what is a vortex mixer?

A vortex mixer is a piece of scientific equipment that is, most often, used to mix various liquids in test tubes.

When you apply the test tube, or in my case paint bottle, into the center divot on the mixer it causes paint to be spun around very rapidly, creating a vortex. Some models are controlled with a knob this one is turned on by pressing on the pressure plate underneath the rubber top.

“Why use this for paint?”

Paint is made up of pigment(s) and binder(s) of some sort. When you leave your paint sitting for a while these things can separate and can be hard to mix back to normal. It is very noticeable when it has become separated because when you put some on your palette it will look watery. You can’t always tell just by looking at the bottle.

When this happens, most painters, will shake the paint by hand. Some also may use a paint or, in some cases, nail polish shaker. These will just shake the paints as if you were shaking by hand but much faster. The vortex mixer will spin the paint.

I have found the vortex mixer to be much faster than doing it by hand or with another kind of mixer. From my experience, so far, I can hold it on the vortex mixer and it only take somewhere between 10-30 seconds depending on how badly it has separated. On the other hand, also in my experience, you have to shake the paint for, at least, 30 seconds or longer when it is that separated. For me, repeatedly shaking manually for this long causes pain.

“What don’t you like about it?”

My big complaint is that the cord that is included is a bit short. It will not reach from my desktop to underneath, I have to use an extension cord. My lesser complaint is that the pressure plate that makes it turn on is not super apparent where it is. If I am mixing the paint with the bottle top being pressed into the divot in the middle I have had no problems so far. When I try to press it down with the bottom of the bottle it sometimes slips off to the side and it will stop operating.

My last complaint is just partially user error. The vibrations from the spinning are very strong. This again is less of a problem when used bottle top down. When held right side up it is almost too intense to hold in place for more than 10 seconds.

“How do you use it?”

Time for the tutorial!

First I find a paint that is in need of being mixed. In this case I have chosen Brigh Bronze (not a typo) from Reaper Miniatures Pathfinder line of paint.

You can see that the pigment has settled on the bottom and the binder is on top. I then take off the cap and use something sharp, in this case a Reaper Miniatures Paint Pokey Tool (the skull thing stuck in my paper towel), and poke it into the hole of the top of the nipple. You do not have to use a special tool for this. You can use anything thin and sharp like a T-pin, sewing pin, or even a thin paper clip. After I clear the nipple of any paint that may have dried inside it I remove the pokey tool and then wipe the nipple and threads of the bottle and cap.

I then remove the nipple by holding the bottle upright and gently push to the side. If you push too hard it can just pop off and you might spill paint everywhere. Once removed I will look in and see if I can tell just how separated it is. This bottle was very separated as you can see it looks like lightly colored water from above. Sometimes, I will squeeze some out onto a palette and check if I’m not sure but in this case it was obvious that I just needed to get it mixed.

Next, I throw in an agitator. I know that Reaper paints come with agitators in them but I like the extra one for a bit more mixing power. I am using lab grade glass agitators from Monument Hobbies. I like glass because there is no chance it will rust and ruin my bottle of paint. I know there are ones out there made of metal that are labeled as non-rust but I just don’t want to take the chance with my collection.

I then replace the nipple making sure it is firmly in place and then the cap. Once I’m sure everything is secure I flip it upside down and onto the mixer. Pushing down gently to activate the pressure plate inside. It really does not take much effort to get it to work that way. I hold it there for at least 10 seconds, in this case it was probably closer to 20-30 seconds. Sometimes I will hold the bottle right side up and hold it on there for a few seconds more but I didn’t do that with this paint.

After I’m happy with how it looks I’ll take off the cap and nipple again and see if it looks thoroughly mixed or not. It may look mixed from the outside but still need a little more time. In this case I did not need to mix any further.

This one is a little bubbly but that will happen most any way that you mix them. To remedy this I’ll put everything back on the bottle and firmly tap it against my desktop, or some other hard surface, a few times.

And there you have it, nice and evenly mixed paint! You can definitely tell a difference from where I started to what it is now.

I hope all of this was helpful and made some sort of sense. If you’ve got any questions or comments let me know!

Happy Painting,

~S

March is Over…Almost

It is almost the end of March. I think this month I’ve been fairly productive I figured I’d write this up not because I’m not sure when I’ll have time to sit down and do a proper write up of things.

At the beginning of the month I sat out to do a few things. I finished most of them and got side tracked from other things that I wanted to do.

First, I finished the Pig and Cart.

I have not finished or even touched any of the minis from the Reaper Virtual Expo that happened at the beginning of this month. I also haven’t touched my Frost Gian Queen.

I did however begin Grimtalon and his wings have taken, so far, the better part of a week and a half of off and on work time. I have yet to do anything but the wings. Once I get a little further along I will post some pictures here.

Now for the reason I’ve been really unproductive. Two words: vortex mixer. I finally got one. Not one of the very expensive ones but it definitely does the trick. I will be writing up that review and a tutorial on how I’m going about mixing up the paints very shortly.

I’m sure I will do more things than just wings and mixing paint but if I don’t I’ll see y’all next month with, what have been so far this year, your regular update.

Happy Painting
~S

Mini March

March is here, how’d that happen?

First up I’m going to talk a little about the Reaper Virtual Expo that happened this past weekend. I meant to mention this much sooner but life.

The Reaper Virtual Expo was a digital convention that was set up very similar to how ReaperCon 2020 was last year. This ran more smoothly and had a few additional perks that I am looking forward to. The main thing I am looking forward to is the classes that were recorded. This will let me go back and watch things that conflicted with my schedule or that I just missed.

I attended 4 classes over the 3 days. Stuff came up on Sunday causing me to leave classes early and I have a couple very rough, unfinished minis.

Friday I took Erin Hartwell’s Skin Deep: Monster Edition. She taught us how to do a blue skinned Frost Giant Queen. I however did not have a spare Frost Giant Queen as I had just started mine the month before supplies were announced. So I did the old sculpt of the Yephima, Female Cloud Giant, it is currently out of stock. The new sculpt will be coming in the Bones 5 Kickstarter later this year.

This is the result of that class:

https://www.reapermini.com/search/cloud%20giant/latest/77162

She is not finished but this is probably the best skin I’ve done in a very long time.

Next class was Multicultural Skintones: Dark Skin taught by “Mocha” of Mocha Miniatures. It was a very enjoyable class. We painted Ziba, Female Efreeti. It’s a gorgeous model and the class was great. I am however not super happy with mine at the time. Looking back on it now I think it looks better but is definitely a little rough around the edges, there are a few gaps that need filling that I just didn’t have time to do beforehand. I will be going back and watching this class again when it is available on YouTube.

https://www.reapermini.com/search/efreet/latest/44003

My third class was Fun Faces with Ian Markon. I signed up for this very last minute. And I am so glad I did. Ian is a fantastic teacher and did what he could to answer all the questions asked of him. We painted Small World Arnise. At first I was hesitant to do it because I don’t really care for chibi miniatures but I had a blast. The skin isn’t perfectly blended but most of the class was focusing on eyes, expressions, and makeup. Over all pretty happy with it. I’d like to in the future get her skin properly blended and finish the whole mini. The eyes though are by far my favorite part.

https://www.reapermini.com/search/arnise/latest/77715

The last class I attended I do not have a picture for. It was about painting crystals with Erin Hartwell. I had some stuff come up and had to leave about 30 minutes into the class but I am looking forward to seeing that class in it’s entirety when the video is uploaded.

Anyway Reaper Virtual Expo was a blast and I do hope they continue to have digital conventions even when they are allowed to happen in person again.

Next up I’ve got some goals and stuff in mind for this month. I don’t expect to finish them all but one of them is a rather large mini.

First off are continuing projects:

I only have basing and last minute touch ups on this guy.

https://www.reapermini.com/search/annoyed%20rocky

I also need to start and finish this one this month (for personal reference the 28th of March is the date it needs to be finished by). I have not started this one so here is the store page image.

Pig and Cart
https://www.reapermini.com/search/pig%20cart

I also don’t have a picture of the Frost Giant Queen. But she is somewhere in the 1/4 – 1/2 range of being done.

Lastly, and this is a big one. I’m going to be painting Grimtalon the roc as an American Kestrel. It may not look big here but one wing is about the length of my forearm. When I get around to starting I’ll post some comparison pictures.

These projects should keep me busy for quite some time. Hopefully, y’all are out there having fun and staying safe.

As always, happy painting.
~S