Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Dwarf and His Hammer

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells,
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

--Over the Misty Mountains Cold, J.R.R. Tolkien

For some reason, that particular verse of that particular poem was echoing on loop while I painted this figure. I love that internal rhyme.

Anyway, here's one of those converted dwarf warriors all painted up. Above is a good example of the puddle effect I am developing for bases. Still needs work, but I'm getting there. You can also see the rudimentary non-metallic metal I tried to employ, especially on the shield below.

NMM is a tricky technique to get used to because it takes a lot of careful thought and a lot of patience with the blending...and honestly, I wasn't willing to take too much time on these particular figures. So I used paint that was a little thicker than it should have been and made transitions that were a little too abrupt. The result doesn't really look like metal, but it does have some contrast so I'm content.

I also need to work on brush direction. This is a basic principle that I always forget to follow, but it is one of the easiest ways to improve one's blending. Simply remember to draw the brush in the direction of the gradient of increasing pigment intensity (e.g. towards the brightest spot on a highlight.) The brush will naturally leave less paint at the beginning of the stroke than at the end. That way, one makes transitions rather than blocks of lighter color (which are instantly recognizable by the lines of their boundary--see the cloak highlight above.)

But that's why it can be nice to just churn out figures sometimes. It gives you ample mistakes from which to learn.

I'm sorry if this post was a little boring and obvious for some readers (among whom I know there are some excellent and experienced painters) but writing these things down helps me remember the things I need to work on.

Thanks for reading! Please share any tips you might find invaluable by painstakingly painting them into the comment box below.


  1. Some nice dynamism in this lad. I have to admit the NMM looks more like stone than iron but I bow with respect for the atempt. NMM is a technique that can prove sublime or ridiculous. I'm not found on some NMM's you can find on CMON with too much contrast and a cartoony effect, but there's room for everyone's taste in this world... Good looking metals are nearly as hard to obtain be it with NMM or TMM...
    The extended shield is definitely a win.

  2. Thanks! I agree with you about a lot of NMM. It seems like if you are too good at it, the result is just as distracting as if you are terrible. I would like to be able to achieve, at will, a nice, relatively subtle NMM. More like the first link above than the second.