Tuesday 25 December 2018

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas guys!
To celebrate it in hobbyists fashion, here we have the last article of the advent calendar this year from Les Kouzes. Great job to all of them and if you feel like it, head off to Les Kouzes and vote for your favorite war band.

Les Ladz de Gukrab, from Morbäck

The Caravan of the Hundred Moons, by me

Devoted of Sigmar, by Cagn

Searcher's Guild, by Larg

Les Corbeaux Noir de Ziamak, by Daouide

It was an amazing ride, I am so happy to have participated to it!
My personal favorite must be Morbäck orc war band for painting, Daouide's one interns of color choice and background and Larg's for the conversions. But my favorite model of all the calendar is....

....Drum Roll.....

Panza by Cagn!

This model is a wonderful conversion full of atmosphere and dark humor, like something out of the movie Labyrinth and really reminiscent of the quirkyness of the Old World. J'adore!

Let me know what you guy think about the whole Adven t Calendar, I'd love to discuss with you your favorites and hopefully what inspiration you got from our work.


Sunday 23 December 2018

The Queen of Crescents

“Those born with the Moon in the House of Ghyran will be generous with the fruits of their harvest but shall see them returned tenfolds on the pan of the Scale of Reckoning” 

Ruling over the people of Caravan the mysterious entity known as the Queen of Crescents is said by her subjects to be the most powerful monarch of all the Realms as her kingdom stretches over a different horizon every dawn.
A mighty enchantress the Queen is a master of illusions, capable of confusing her enemies by manifesting swirling visions of their most intimate dreams and using half true prophecies to lure them to their doom. No man is immune to her seduction and many who now travel along with the Caravan are under the spell of her supernatural beauty, said to be part of the curse that Nagash cast upon her ancestors.
She is also the keeper of one of the most powerful relics of Shadespire: the ancient Oracle of Tauth, a deck of tarot cards said to be so imbued with the eldritch energies of Shysh that, if handled by the blood of the Katophranes, it is capable of unleashing the power of its divinations upon the enemies of the wielder. 
The Queen of Crescents is where it all started. I had this idea for a conversion of a gipsy princess ever since I saw the wonderful Mistweaver Saih from Silver Tower. She had a ballet dancer pose, very dynamic and seductive. In fact I always thought that the more martial aspects of the model (the spikes coming out of her arms and armour) were a bit too much and distracted from the more elegant aspects of the sculpture.
Before starting to plan anything on the caravan and even before trying to define the aesthetic of the miniatures I prepared the sketch below for what was then supposed to be just a gypsy dancer. While I was drawing though I realised there was something quite imposing and interesting in the potential final result, so I gave her a suitably mysterious but imposing name and planned to make of her an important model of the group (though I had no idea what the others would be).

Then of course the conversion itself happened over the course of a feverish weekend. I just moved into my new place and I did not have a table nor a chair so I made the hole thing hunched over my kitchen sitting on a pile of suitcases, It did the job and I was instantly pleased with the conversion, so much so that I can honestly say I was seduced by it somehow. The Queen of Crescent became a very interesting experiment for me, I felt like it could become the beginning of a more experimental phase of my miniature work, though I had no idea how or what was so special about her... Just a personal sensation.

The conversion was not the easiest, I had to use quite a lot of small and fiddly components and resculpt some of the anatomy of the upper torso, but the most involved part, and what gave me the idea for the bases on the rest of the warband, was the billowing smoke and the brazier. I wanted to enhance the sense of movement and give a strong sense of setting to the piece, almost like a small diorama. There should have been action and that action should have involved the base somehow. The cards and coins flying around her just provide that sense of action, though of course I knew they would have been a pain to paint. They actually were the most enjoyable part of the model in the end!

That is it, my complete warband will be showcased on the 25 along with the rest of Les Kouzes works, although as I anticipated I am still working on this project and will have more to show you in the new year! For now let me just express once again my gratitude to all the guys at Les Kouzes and to Maxime in particular for having invited me to this fun ride all together. It was an amazing project to take part to and one which allowed me to experiment a bit with techniques and unusual colour schemes for a change.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Sketches out of the blue

Hi guys! 
I managed to finish a big project (architectural) for a client presentation last weekend, which meant that I had the chance to take a lot of time for myself this week. As a result I went back to drawing and illustrating, my other passion aside from painting and converting miniatures, and since I am pretty chuffed with some of the results I decided to share with you.

All of these drawings are illustrations from a role-play campaign that I am narrating every time I go back home and see my good friends there. 
The setting is one of my most beloved works, I have been detailing and expanding it for more than three years now, and I always thought that illustrations play a big role in setting the tones and atmospheres of a game.
All images are pencil sketches on A4 paper. Each one took between 1 and 3 hours.
Of course I am not a professional (although my actual profession includes quite a lot of hand drawing) but I always try to do my best and push my skills a little with every drawing.

I know it's not miniature, I just felt like sharing and hopefully you will find it a nice change of pace to the later additions to the blog.

Curious to hear what you think.


Tuesday 18 December 2018

Saloth, Guardian of the Caravan

“Those born with the Moon in the House of Ghur will not bow to titles or wealth but only respect those who will honour the prowess of their hearts” 

Saloth is one of the Eunuch Guards entrusted with the safety and protection of the Queen of Crescents. Born in Hysh he was sold to the Caravan by the slavers of Bael Armakh and his body still bears the marks of the tortures inflicted upon him by the cruel chaos worshippers.
Since his acceptance in the ranks of the revered Caravan Guard Saloth has done everything in his power to keep the people who saved him safe from his bleak destiny. 
Last entry of the Advent Calendar before the final model reveal, Saloth was one of the first conversion I realised for this warband. He is meant to represent a skilled eunuch warrior, dressed in the finest garments and wielding deadly weapons, the corresponding image to a royal guard or an Empire greatsword of old.
The conversion was pretty involved, mainly removing all the armour and sculpting hood and turban, amending boots and rousers and giving the miniature a sense of movement by adding silk ribbons to his belt and head.

And he is not alone! I immediately created a companion to him that will not feature on Les Kouzes as a separate entry but you'll be able to see finished along with his fellows on Christmas day with the final shots of the warband.

See you guys next week with the final (and personal favourite) entry of the warband  and some group pictures, plus a sneak peek of what te future will bring to these fantasy nomads!


Thursday 13 December 2018

Tevildo, the Prince of Cats

“Wise shall be those born with the Moon in the House of Shysh as they’ll know that no treasure is worth a grain of the Sand of Time ” 

“His Majesty” Tevildo is believed to be the oldest member of the Caravan and not even the most venerable Babus are able to remember a time when the Prince of Cats was not roaming freely around the camps of the exiles. Many legends circulate about his origins: some say he is the spirit of a powerful warlock, cursed long ago by the Great Necromancer himself for his arrogance and trapped in feline form as punishment. Others swear he was a gift to the founders of the Caravan from a mysterious ruler who shared their hatred for the Lord of Undeath. Whatever the truth may be what is sure is that the people of the Hundred Moons owe their survival to the powers of this enchanted familiar as he seems to possess a sixth sense that allows him to predict the coming of the servants of Nagash, who is constantly seeking the Caravan to inflict his vengeance upon it. Tevildo is a spiteful and vicious creature, and his mischiefs are often a cause of troubles for the people of the Caravan but he is tolerated and taken good care of for fear of losing his protection and be finally exposed to the eye of the Great Necromancer.  

My third entry to the Advent Calendar is a small one admittedly, but it's one I had a lot of fun playing with, both in terms of concept and realisation.
I knew from the very beginning that my Caravan warband would have needed a black cat. There is something so familiar with the association cats-wizardry that I thought he would have been the perfect companion for my magical gypsies.
Tevildo is not just a cat though, he is a powerful ward against the dark magic of the Great Necromancer, a lucky charm for the whole Caravan and a master of mischiefs.
Think about him as having the same bad character of Lucifer from Disney Cinderella, the weird powers of the Cheshire Cat of Alice in Wonderland and the cruel cunning of a powerful wizard.

The conversion was of course incredibly simple. I just made use of the Grynx from Yvraine and got rid of all the too eldary details, like the collar and the hairy ears, resculpted a new collar to match the jewellery on the rest of my warband and retouched the ears slightly et Voilà!

The painting was really great fun, it's such a nice model to paint, not much to get distracted on so I could really focus on getting the colour and texture of the fur right. I was going for an unnatural black glow to really conceive the idea of a magical creature and at the same time tie it together with the rest of my warband (I used the same colour to highlight the black on my models). The result is quite shiny but doesn't go as far as to make it look like a blue cat instead of a black one.

Next week we will go back to something a bit more conventional and then onward to the gran finale in a couple of weeks! 

The miniatures of the rest of Les Kouzes are getting better and better and I can assure you I have seen some crazy good stuff in there, so keep checking!


Saturday 8 December 2018

Baba Raghul, the Fortune Teller

Those born with the Moon in the House of Azyr will always cast their gaze over the horizon and theirs will be the secrets of the paths lost and the ones yet to open 

(pictures courtesy of Maxime Pastourel)

The second model for my warband is now up on the blog des Kouzes for day 8 to the advent calendar!
Members of the caravan who can trace their lineage directly back to the mirrored city of Shadespire are known as Babus, an ancient title used by the patriarchs of that once mighty kingdom.
Raghul is one of the elders of the Caravan, his wisdom and advise often sought by the Queen of Crescents on matters of diplomacy and conflict. He has travelled across all the Eight Realms and he is said to once have set foot on the Realm of Chaos itself . Children and adults alike are always eager to hear his tall tales around campfires, often wondering how much of them is true and what has been crafted by the compelling imagination of this master storyteller. His status among his peers though comes not just from his own talents and ascendancy for he is also the keeper of the Orb of Echoes. This relic from Shysh was forged from Shadeglass and within it are contained the souls of the original founders of the Caravan, the Katophranes who managed to escape the wrath of Nagash. By looking into it Baba Raghul is capable of communicating with the souls of these mighty warlocks who whisper secrets and share with him lost and ancient knowledge. Looking into the Orb is a dangerous task though, as opening the doors of the Underworld often means exposing oneself to the gaze of Nagash and his minions. 

Baba Raghul, essentially a gipsy nobleman of the Age of Sigmar, was a fairly easy conversion but one I consider quite successful in changing the aesthetic of the base model: the Idoneth Soulscriber.
The inspiration for this particular piece (and some of the warband in general) comes from the art of Gary Chalk (Lone Wolf books) and tries to capture the very classic imagery of the eastern warlock from fairy tales. I found that the original artwork of Shadespire captured very well that exotic vibe and I based my conversions loosely on this image in particular.

This was the starting point. I wanted to build a warband that expanded on that aesthetic and explored the background of Shadespire form the untold point of view of a group of descendants of survivors of Nagash' vengeance.

(Sorry for the atrocious close-ups)

The painting focused on creating a strong focal point in the globe, not an easy feat considering that I already used all the brightest colours on the rest of the model, so I had to take a slightly different approach: I decided to play with the interaction between his facial expression and whatever he was looking in the globe. The head I chose to use (from the Luminark acolytes) had an interesting worried expression, like he was looking at something scary, so I decided to play on it and create a sort of Peppin and the Palantir moment. The Fortune Teller is looking in the depths of the orb, trying to communicate with the spirits of his ancestors, when Nagash himself manages to sneak into the vision and freak the hell out of him!
Painting Nagash' angry face on the curved surface of the orb was definitely a challenge but the overall composition worked well in the end and this one is one of the pieces I am most happy with in my warband.