Lets get things started with my first big project, done between February and July, 2018.
In early 2018, I made a tiny mistake. I bought a Start Collecting: Slyvaneth box and sealed my fate: mini painting was my new hobby. I had painted individual miniatures for D&D before, but usually with craft paints. I will concede; I took art classes in school, have painted toys in the past, and do digital art, so I wasn’t starting at ‘square one’ — maybe square three and a half!
I assembled my very first dryad on February 16, 2018. I finished gluing the box March 17, 2018, and had to face facts: it was time to paint.
At one point, while contemplating color schemes while staring at a still-grey Drycha, my partner says to me “what about coral?” I was immediately in love with the idea, and launched into figuring out specifics. I had in my head this idea of a Slyvaneth army emerging from the turf, draped in seeweed and with ocean creatures magically floating within their branches.
I knew I wanted bright polished coral color for their branches and spikey bits, but what for the main bodies? I looked at a lot of coral reefs and even checked to see if anyone else had painted Sylvaneth this way (at the time, I found one person’s very blue test model, and an orange contingent being used for a different game entirely). I went through a couple of ideas…
Well… color theory trumped being 100% sensible, and I decided to go with a lighter, creamy sort of color for the wood, sort of bleached coral or driftwood stripped of its bark. It just looked good with the coral color I knew I 100% wanted, and the blue watery effect I decided to try for accents.
By mid-March, painting and basing were underway. As you can see, I started with beige for the base coat — I believe at some point, I switched to dark sand. The coral was a progressive blend of scarlet to salmon rose to white, but I’ve never been one for writing down ratios, so each session the mix would change a little bit!
Their leaves and accents are sky blue, and the skirts are blended down to blue green and up to white.
The bases were made with coffee grounds, sand, rock, and either millput or greenstuff for the wave line. The coral and driftwood were washed in sepia, and the blue bits with drakenhoof nightshade.
I am a slow painter and not very good at motivating myself, so there were many days I didn’t paint. But, bit by bit, I chipped away until I was ready to say “done enough!”
The idea of the small fishes and sea creatures was eventually lost, but I am still pretty happy with how they turned out! I learned a lot about painting in batches versus painting one mini at a time, I played with wet blending, washes, and dry brushing for the first time, made my first scenic bases and challenged myself to paint water effects.