Tutorial: Visualising Winter

by Massive Voodoo

Good Morning ladies and gentlemen,

time for the results of the latest tutorial voting.

MV's year of the painter 2 is proud to present to you the next article in line.
Many thanks to everyone who voted since last Tuesday and sorry for those who did not want to hear anything more about snow, winter and cold.

We had nineteen votes for "Winter Visualisation" and fourteen for "Boudica".
The winner is:


Roman will now take care of the article, which in fact is a really important milestone when it comes to MV articles and tutorials. It is number 300!
We hope you enjoy!

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You want to support Massive Voodoo? 
If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.

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Winter is coming. Foreword.
Everyone did expect this introduction, but I will not go any further I suppose.
Please keep in mind that this article is a follow up to the following ones:

Visual Studying - Learning to see and paint
Roman takes you on a journey on how to use your eyes to study the act of painting.

Visualizing: Autumn
Roman explains how real autumn handles leaves on your bases.

Please make sure - if you did not read the other ones so far - do it before digging deeper into this one.

Ok, feel invited to a walk in winter now. Finding "rules" of nature, ideas that autumn already gives us at hand. We learn to see them and use them on our miniature projects.

Preparing Thoughts.
Important when we talk/think about Winter in our projects and visualizing the rules of winter is to know where we are coming from. Autumn.


Dead leaves still on the ground and winter just wants to lay his blanket on top of it. This year winter came late to my hometown, Augsburg, Germany. I do not have any problems with that as I am not the biggest winter fan since I quit winter sports.

This example shows weak efforts of winter to lay down on autumn. Still this can be a miniature projects athmosphere and setup for your seasonal time. Winter is not only snow.
My Point of View
In this article I can only speak of my personal snow experience. I mean I have friends in Russia or Canada or Sweden who - I might guess - can tell completly different stories of their winters.

During December 2015 we had one or two days were snow fell. Powerful and less powerful plants were not impressed. They seem to did not care and were still standing strong, even green here and there. This can also be the moment for your Winter-Project. Winter is not only snow.

I really enjoyed the view on such fragile snow constructions ...


... but they were gone rather quick.

Some days after Christmas it started to get really cold over here, but still no snow.
I was able to observe frozen spiderwebs, packed with early morning frost. This could also be your moment for your project to transport your cold athmosphere. Winter is not only snow.

If anyone is asking you why you got some pure white spider webs on your base you can now explain it, eh?





Frost in fact is something most people do not think about in their miniature projects. In fact it is not easy to illustrate with the tools we got on hand. Sometimes frost looks like a white filter, maybe we can achieve this by the use of the airbrush after we finished painting on that area.


As a sum up you can say: 
If you decide for an early winter base with less snow, make sure to know the stuff that might look through from beneath. Make proper thoughts.

Painting Athmospheric Winter Colors
If you are up to create a winter base, there is one golden rule if you say so. It is about color temperate in your paintwork on your base or miniature. In fact you can also observe this in nature, when it is getting colder and you already can smell winter and taste him on your tongue.

Before you apply any snow - while you are painting up your base for example - make sure that you use some cold colors like dark blue in your shadow areas. This will transport your base into the cold athmosphere and your overall snow base will be more convincing in the end.

I told you can see this already in nature. See the blue in the shadows? Keep that in mind for the following explanations.

More Snow
Allright. Winter is coming. Again.
Last weekend during my Beginner's Class in Augsburg Winter decided to answer the call and snow started to fall. Let's see if we can get some more information from this for our miniature work.



Snow falls, lands and stays if it's cold enough.
It is obvious that it stays in flat surfaces, but it also places itself to the smallest areas. Makes them look interesting, adds detail to them and this can be of great use for a miniature base.

Big mountains of snow and even some small snow areas on the metal bar here. Endless detail.

Funny shapes, depending on the wind direction of the falling snow flakes.

The wind direction also allows snow to stick to places where it shouldn't stick by the rules of gravity.
Cool, so snow will not only be on the top of something if you decide to go with a wind direction in your work.

Wherever snow can land it lands and forms beautiful shapes.

Even on the most fragile areas.

Adding snow to a base 
will always result in one thing: You use one of the most important contrasts in painting, called "Dark/Bright Contrast". Which draws a lot of attention to your work. A high contrast between white and black if you have a look on it in black and white.



This results in the thought:
If you go too bright with your basework, for example painting it in bright blue cold tones, adding snow afterwards it might not look like groundwork, more like ice.

Adding snow to your base will always draw attention to it. So people will be interested to have close look on it and because of this it is important that you make proper thoughts about your snowbases instead of throwing a truckload of snow on top of it.

For example: If you start building up a base you can already plan interesting snow areas, like a root standing out of the ground, some brances, a brick wall with some bricks standing out to catch a small tiny amount of snow. We will have a look on some miniature examples later on.


Deep Winter
Well this time of winter can be a time were mostly everything is covered with snow. Everything seems cold and sleeping. Thick layers of snow on top of eachother. Again look at the color temperature of the shadows - see that? Snow is not white all the time if you would paint this photo. Oh crazy ...

 Again, shadow temperatures.


Heavy snowfall covers the stuff beneath in a different way.
Much thicker, more like a paste of white nutella - it hides more than it shows:




Snow glitters, 
but not everywhere. It depends in which moment you want to show your snow on your base.

- Is it a tiny amount of snow
- Is it heavy snow
- Is it melting already on the edges
- Is it dirty snow, mixed with mud
- and more

I mainly use glittering snow stuff on top of other stuff to create a contrast between non-glitter and glitter. Makes it much more realistic. Check these three articles to see how I work with snow:


This guide is for simple snow, i would recommand the advanced technique explained next.
Easy and cheap way of creating realistic looking snow on your base.

Making masterclass snow
A guide that brings you into detailed masterclass use of snow.



Glittering snow, check the shadows!!

Footprints
are a common sight if you have a walk during winter, which is very healthy by the way. Dress up warm and go out. Breathe cold, fresh and return to drink warm tea.

Do not forget about them. If you have a Barbarian running through a winter base there should be some footprints, maybe even some of his prey to tell the full story, eh?

Footprints in detail. Check the shadows!!

Footpr ... no this was something bigger, looks like a giant snake or a group of dwarfs who searched their way through thick snow. 

Ice & Icicles
Cold makes water become ice.
Oh have a look here, there are some leaves inside the ice, now that is the beauty and detail I speak of.


Speaking about icicles.

Huge and small ones ...

... and too many to be counted.

Important while creating or using icicles that you have bought is: Think about where they might appear, do not just glue them somewhere. Very often - depending on which winter moment you choose for your base - they appear in areas where water runs down via gravity. Take care to think of it.

Early Winter - no icicles, it is just not cold enough.
Winter with snow that stays - some tiny icicles here and there
Deep Winter - see photo above
Ice Age - imagine!

For the creation of icicles I can recommend the following article:


This article shows you how you can do icicles.


Miniature Examples and Thoughts

Allright, now we put it to a test if we can visualise winter also in miniatures. Let's start simple with some gaming models. 

Simple Snow base with muddy painted underground. Some snow on the model's shoes and jacket to show that some snowing just happened the moment before.


Snow in an area where many people pass or where it slowly starts to melt. More groundwork is visible. Nice detail on the rusty construction. 

Simple but a little more compley gaming base with a branch who is touched by snow.

Deep Snow. Dead Space Marine.




 In this example I wanted to create a frozen lake's surface with some snowflakes on top. I just painted the plastic base in cold tones with some variety in dark and bright added thick gloss varnish on top (ice) and added glittering snowflakes.

Walking through a snowfall.
This is obviously no snowstorm, but I imagined this guy walking through wind and snowflakes.
Check the temperature of the shadows in the color. Do you remember?

If you want to read a step by step of this guy click here!
 

Snow and wind directions.
Snow blazing through an open door. Step by step of this base can be found here.


Wind directions.
Already sculpted to the models fur  collar. Also used for the way on how to place snow on this travelling Inuit.

Dirty Snow.
Imagine and observe once in a while how a base can look if snow is melting. What happens if it melts. Water. Water makes areas wet. Earth will become mud, mud makes snow brown in the areas where it connects.

More mud. You can even use gloss varnish 
on the areas where mud and melting snow connect.

This one was a test if it is possible to use the airbrush for the cold temperature shadows in the snow itself. I sprayed a glaze of blue/tourqouise in this snow base, from below.

And icicles. Many if you want to go crazy, but think on where to place them.

Well and more wintery impression in this one:



AFTERWORD
Well, winter is not only meaning snow. Many things play together to create a convincing snow base, but the best thing is: You can observe them in nature. You just have to scale them down and think while you are planning and working on your winter themed miniature project.

Thank you for your time reading the article. I am looking forward to your comments, ideas and thoughts on this topic.

Be inspired and keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes
Roman

_______________________________________________________________________________
You want to support Massive Voodoo? 
If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.

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