Headshots from the Heart, a marathon I'm involved with in support of the Childs Play charity. The person who won is a bit of a history buff. He's involved in reenactments and plays various historical miniature games.
It took a bit, but he got ahold of the miniature he wanted me to paint: Major-General Sir Isaac Brock. There'a a difference when painting historical miniatures instead fictional ones, mainly that these things happened so there's a certain way they should be painted.Sure, I could paint the clothes whatever I wanted, I could've given him a funny hat and I could even have painted the horse to look like it belongs in Robot Unicorn Attack... But when you factor in the client's importance on history, accuracy becomes even more important.
A Note on Commissions
To ensure this model fit with those he'd be riding with, I got a picture of them too..Things like the shade of reigns, hooves, saddle, etc, were all left up in the air. To finish, there were certain requests to be met: grey horse, white pants, darker red sash, gold sword hilt and summer battlefield setting for the base.
If you come across details as you're working and you're not sure if the client has something in mind, best to ask. Many clients will give you a certain level of creative freedom, others can be hands on. In this case, I came across a few details I wanted to check on during the project, incase there was some kind of historical significance to them.
Don't just focus on the primary focus of the commission. Your art will appear "disjointed" if you recreated the main detail like the jacket, then winged the rest. Skin tone and hair were next, and I based the colour of the model's hat on the hat depicted with his jacket. I also searched "grey horse" to find examples I could use as inspiration for the mount.
Google Drive offers a lot of convenience in this regards. As I'm sitting at my computer, I can drop files in to a folder and fill it with everything I'll need.
These pics are available from my tablet as well, which with a stand next to my workspace, is great for reference.
If I've missed something, I can find it on the tablet and add it to my Drive. When I wanted to confirm some details with the client, he was within digital reach.
Gesso] for this miniature on, basically because the weather outside is beyond frightful. (Seriously, I drove 3 hours in weather resembling that, 2 Sundays ago.) Black Gesso goes on so much cleaner than white.
I wanted to paint a face with some colour, akin to the portraits painted of the Major-General. I started with the eyes, then went really pale and added some blush. Next, I shifted away from the grey and highlighted with paint closer to skin tones before finishing off with a wash to clean up the colour and strengthen shadows.
slo-dri to both thin and smooth the application of the paint as well as help mix in to the previous layer.
I started with GW foundation red, then moved to a brighter one. Things went too bright for the aesthetic I wanted for this miniature though. It still has my current dark shadow style, but softer than the aggressive highlighting on my Hordebloods,
For the final two steps, I mixed in some flesh tones to the red to lighten and ease the colour, then highlight it.
To paint the black on his hat, collar and cuffs, I used some inspiration from Brock's posthumous portrait and went with some deep blues and light cyan highlights.
For his boots, I just went with greys.
Basically, I used a dark brown base and a medium brown highlight. Then, I painted some of the edge and corner highlights with a couple metallic layers.
This creates a nice contrast between TMM and NMM. (True and Non Metallic Metals.)
For the white of his pants I used pigments to create a nice white highlight. To begin, I painted a base layer, then brushed it with powder to smooth everything out.
What really ties it all together is painting a layer of Matte Varnish over it to blend the pigments in to the lower layer.
I began by mixing dark grey and black in various amounts to paint the base layer for the majority of the horse.
Next, I mixed up black, dark grey and light grey in a swirl so each of the colours were still there and sponged this mix on to the fur.
I used a larger brush to stipple the whole horse as a final step to clean up any ugly sponged spots and create a nice overall style for the General's mount.
And so, I give you, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock.