Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tracking My Work What am I actual Painting!?


So it’s obviously been longer than a month since our last entry.  Well life has a schedule of its own that doesn’t always accommodate pledges.  At this point what I’ll be doing is posting when I can and trying to keep to once a month when possible. 

Working Smarter Not harder
That said the topic of this post is making the most of your hobby time.  As more and more things pop up I find my hobby time tends to be sporadic.  The problem there is as I spend time doing working here and there I’m not sure I am getting the most out of my time.  An argument might be this is a hobby and any time I spend on the hobby I enjoy is time well spent.  While that might be true I feel I get more enjoyment out of my hobby if I’m working towards accomplishing specific goals.  In this case I have had my Ork Battle Wagon on the table for quite some time and each time I pick it up to paint here and there I feel like I’m not working in the most efficient way possible.

 I began thinking if I mapped out what I wanted to do I believe I could progress through my projects with some better sense of where I am and feel like I am getting more out of my time.  If I’m not getting regular time to work on my hobby then it makes all the more sense to record what I am doing so when I get time I know exactly what I did and what I wanted to do next.  When I pick up a project after not having worked on it in a while I may not remember where I was, so a good amount of time is spent just trying to figure what I was doing and where I should pick up.  I want to avoid that in future.

 To address this issue I created some short forms to help my track things.  One I call the Paint Post which is a sheet I use to summarize the various stages of a project.  

 The other form I call bench notes which are basically memo pads.  The system I have created is I basically track the whole project on the paint post and add bench notes to the project as I plan my next stage of work.  In the example here I decided to finish the right side of the wagon.  

 I also took some pictures beforehand so I could check my progress during a session and after I was done.  My Nikon has a fixed lens so my ability to get in close is limited.  However something is better than nothing.  In this case I identified what I felt still needed to be done on the right side of the wagon wrote it up and set to work.

In particular and wanted to do some weathering on the side of the wagon and get some rust and paint chipping on.  I had done some weathering on parts of the wagon already but honestly that was hit and miss I mainly used a technique of trying to paint some random shapes in a dark base and then add metal color inside to create a look of rust and paint chipping away to show the bare metal underneath.  In some cases the sections I painted didn’t feel natural, so I wanted to try something on the right side where I had done no weathering to see if I could finalize what method I wanted to use on the rest of the wagon.  When it comes to weathering there are a few approaches to take like the classic hair spray technique there is also the sponge method which is used either directly or with masking fluid and salt weathering.   

Personally I prefer the sponge technique although I will be trying salt and masking fluid in the near future.  I like make up sponges for this in particular latex.  They have good body and can be ripped to create different sizes and have a more jagged profile to get that random pattern that looks better.

Here you can see my shots after I completed my goals. The difference shows up best between the 2nd Pre-session shot 2nd Post-session and The weathering is subtle and that’s what I like, I emphasize more of an all-around dirty dusty look.  I’m happy with this method of planning my work, I can tell you it took two sessions to get this done and I’m planning on working on the back and the cargo area next.  I also wanted to add some shadow detail to the metal canisters and pick out some other detail areas I thought might need a little touching up.
After its all said and done I have a better grasp of what I did and a better sense of accomplishment.  I think that will also spring board me to painting more often since I have a better idea of what’s getting done.  In this hobby you can have a lot of things to do and in some ways it can become discouraging if you don’t feel you’re making progress. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Back from Oblivion!

We are really back this time.  Apologies for the long absence we are just awakening from our great sleep.  Well it was a sleep in terms of the hobby but not life.  In that time away a few things have happened.  New job and new house are the biggest changes.  Life changes like that tend to be consuming so not too much time to tinker around when those things are on your plate.  With that said those things are now settled so now we get to ease back into to some old habits.  Having learned from my experience and wanting to put some real effort into this blog here is the new plan
At least one post per month
I feel this is a much more realistic goal and one we can meet.  I feel making a pledge is necessary because while this blog was inactive we actually picked up a few followers.  So making a pledge makes me feel a little less guilty for teasing people with the content here.
So for this first full entry I am going to introduce you to our new and improved hobby space/studio!  Before we had a space in an apartment.  With a house we now have a dedicated room (thanks to the generosity of my lovely wife).  Without further ado I introduce you to the Brush and Bolter studio.

Here the view doesn’t look too different than the original space we had in the apartment.  However you can see on the side of the model shelf I was able to add bin system to hold assorted paints, pigments, and flock.

I really like these bins because they can be removed from these hooks without any trouble and the hooks can accommodate larger bins if you want to mix and match sizes.  I get these bins from the Container Store.

With the additional space of the studio I was able to add a small table to hold more paints, you can see an array wide array of P3 paints.  This also holds my larger Golden Acrylic paints I use for scenery and my texture mediums.  I also store my airbrush and its materials here as well.

This is a big improvement over the old space where a lot of this stuff was stacked under my paint station speaking of which here is what the space looks like now.

The first big difference is the view!  If I so desire I can set and paint and enjoy some natural light.  And if I want to linger in the shadows not a problem as I got some thick thermal drapes to keep out the light and the cold.  You’ll also see I added some extra spot lighting.  The lights in the picture are LEDs that have three settings and provide some extra brightness when needed.  With the additional space provided by the bins and the small table I have more space at the painting station.  So I stretched out some of my paints and rearranged the model I am working on to take advantage of the extra real estate.  That’s my Ork Battlewagon I’m still working on; my hobby life literally went into a deep sleep.

Another new feature I was able to add with the additional space is an assembly station.  Here you see the table with the models I am currently assembling.  I also have a bin on the side to collect parts as I cut them from sprues.  My plan is to add a few bins to handle a larger volume of models.  I have a cutting mat and a plank I use as a work space since I don’t want to destroy the surface of the table I just restored.

The plank has a stain on it to keep the nice warm wood tones consistent.  Instead of a standard finish the plank has a wax finish.  This allows me to keep the natural wood texture while providing some protection.  The photos below give you an idea of what the plank looks like.

The drawer on the table stores some related hobby papers, info on pants, art invoices (so I remember where and how much I paid for a particular paint, brush, etc.) 

This particular table was sitting in a storage space for about two years.  In conversation with a co-worker who does general maintenance he thought my hobby would give me some transferable skills I could apply to wood work.  Turns out that was true this table was being thrown out when he dropped it off to me.  I don’t have a per say before picture of what this table looked like.  It had a two layers of paint the outermost being an odd pale pink.  Here is the table after sanding in a before and after comparison with another shot of the finished table .

The finishing touches on the space are two storage racks that hold boxed models, dice, old RPG collectables and other assorted gaming items.

The additional space also allowed me to bring in two book shelves to hold rulebooks, fiction and magazines.  All in all the space makes for a great studio/hobby hole.  For the next post I’ll be going into some techniques I’m using to get the most out of my hobby time and keeping my projects organized.