Sunday, September 12, 2010

Painting Digitally

My current project is taking a beating as I decided to take some shortcuts that are turning out to be a nightmare (or in other words, not a shortcut). And no, I don't want to talk about it. : (

Jim Walton, over on the Wargaming on a Budget forum, introduced a concept that combines the advantages of paper soldiers with the look of wooden toy soldiers. Here are a few samples of his figures, used with his kind permission.
Copyright © 2010 Jim Walton. Used with permission.
Copyright © 2010 Jim Walton. Used with permission.
As you can see, Jim has printed out a figure, but wrapped it around a wooden dowel to make the figure 3D. Jim has taken the repeatability and ease of "painting" from the paper world yet attained the 3D look of the traditional figure world.

Although I think this is a great idea and look, I initially did not want to junk my initial work and trade it in for this, despite the fact that I have drawn a number of such figures in the past. (I have a number of flat paper armies.) For one, my current system makes each figure unique. For another, it looks about like what I want it to look like.

That said, there are some problems with my current system, not the least of which it takes too long to paint a unit of any size. It is great for skirmish gaming, where I might have 5 or 6 figures in the same uniform, but when the number is more like 36 to a unit, I haven't gotten it down to where I can sustain interest.

Upon analysis of my painting habits, the problem is that I want certain detail, but it is very tedious to paint and take a lot of time. For example, good looking shako plates or crossbelt badges. Same with lapels, with piping and buttons. It looks great, but takes a lot of time.

So, rather than "painting" the whole figure with printed paper, as Jim has done above, how about if I print out part - detail - and glue them to the figure? This would give me the detail I want, the look would be repeatable (I only want uniqueness in the face and hair, primarily), and it should save time. That will be my next experiment.

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