Completion Date: 2018.06.16

Time: 50 hours

PNP link with more pictures:



After attending Banshee’s class at Adepticon, I went on a bust sketching journey which I documented on Facebook. Most of those busts were 90 – 180 minute sketches, but as I closed in on forty sketches, I wanted to spend more time to develop some of them into competition pieces.

My idea for Sorscha was that she was in a frozen wasteland, looking up to the sky as ordinance exploded above. Unlike my typical Photoshop-concept-first approach, I tried something totally different here…I did a bunch of sketches (stripping paint occasionally in between), to try different textures and techniques. The grid of sketches 1-8 on her may look very similar:

… and maybe they are, but what I got out of it was experimenting with different variations to the light direction and NMM effect. The color palette itself remained mostly the same, as I had that fairly settled from the beginning. Once I had a sketch I liked, I started to develop it…



Unlike previous projects, the painting approach was very very simple here. I just took my initial sketch, and continued to tighten it, dialing in details until it looked like something final. The fifty hours I spent on it is still a lot, but considering that my previous Privateer Press entry (Skarre) was a hundred and forty hours, the fifty hours spend here represented my fastest complete bust by a huge factor.

The only new technique I tried was doing an airbrush pass over my initial sketch. This was something I was introduced to by Sergio Calvo Rubio in his Adepticon class, and further encouraged to do by Aaron Lovejoy, as he has really taken to the technique. The idea is that after your initial sketch is in a complete but still rough stage, you airbrush some midtone color into the midtones and shadows, which smooths them out and basically gets a lot of the work done that you would usually do with glazes. I did this on Sorscha with a blue midtone from below, but also very very lightly airbrushed her from the key light direction with fluorescent orange in order to maximize the chroma contrast across the piece.

While I was airbrushing, there was a “happy accident”… there was a cloggy airbrush spurt that shot droplets everywhere. As I scrambled to clean them up with a wet brush, I saw that one landed perfectly on her face, creating a convincing birthmark. So, I kept that one, and basically didnt touch it after that.

I did spend a lot of time trying to crack the best approach to the metal armor reflections and how exactly it would work. I looked at actual reflected metal, as well as other painters approaches. What I ended up with was a textured metal look that included a magenta/green chroma displacement.



I did record the paints I used (minus fluos, which somehow didn’t make it into the pic), mostly just because I think it’s a good habit:



Good: This was a super simple and fun project without any complex moving parts. Very relaxing after Pharaoh’s Curse, which was a hot mess. It also won its category at the Privateer Press competition.

Bad: It was a fun exercise, but I think the end result is pretty boring.

Ugly: Nothing ever got ugly, at least.



Banshee and Sergio Calvo Rubio for blasting my brain with new ideas.

Aaron Lovejoy and Ben Komets for improvement ideas.

Dallas Kemp for his feedback / improvement ideas after the competition at GenCon.