Tutorial: Visualizing Autumn

by Massive Voodoo

Good Monday Morning Jungle,

we are all sure when we say:
Autumn is beautiful. 

Many Miniature Painters get in the mood to create a autumn bases in ... ehm, autumn. The blues takes over and autumn slowly prepares us for the cold winter months. Winter is coming, always.

Well, Roman made up his mind while walking around his hometown and has a little theory article for you, well ... ehm, about autumn, leaves and such, plus some practical examples in the end.

We hope you enjoy!


Welcome to Autumn,

sometimes you gotta say something.

Something that is on your mind for a while, but you did not know what to say for a long time.
Today I might know it. It just made click. I want to say something. I hope no one will feel offended, as this is not my intention. I just want to speak my personal view on some things, not only ... ehm, autumn.

Well, let's have a party. Recently I am overwhelmed by the amount of miniature painting cooking recipes. Take this color, from this brand to paint this. Use this to create this and that. If you do this with this color and a drop of this color you create exactly this and so on ... That is all wonderful I say. It is truely. More people getting drawn to our passion and getting ideas of how you can do things.

... but I do not like cooking recipes in miniature painting. Why? Well, in the end you have many cooks who can cook a recipe another cook has shown to them. They might cook it until the end of their lifes, not thinking how to find their own way in the passion of cooking and eating. They might get stuck in the greatness of a recipe they once encountered, overwhelmed by it and will try to cook it for ages with maybe not the same result or even the same result.

Well, I am no cook at all. I am not even allowed in the kitchen very often, when it comes to cooking. I am good in setting things on fire there and spoil water liquid you give me.

I know that many miniature painters outthere are happy to recieve their recipes. It helps, it does and I do not blaim anyone by enjoying/creating these. Many beginners might even need this. Fair enough I'd say. I am only scared that painters lose their own visuals. Their own working brain, their thoughts about the "Whys?", their attitude to find their own solution to a problem they might encounter. Everybody's cooking somebody else's recipe and after a little while the taste of food gets boring, stuck and every cook's meal looks the same. Painting with colors offers much more than working with recipes. It can allow you to grow in yourself, to study who you and your sorroundings are. You can learn for a lifetime and not only to cook. I think you get the point here. If not I can not help you.

A little autumn music to get in the right mood:

Visualizing Autumn

With this article I want to hand out some inspiration how you can visualize a special topic.
Last year I wrote a big article about "Visual Studying - Learning to see and paint". This article here is kind of the follow up, taking a seasonal topic in focus ... ehm, autumn. First I get myself a tea now.

Ok, we will have a walk in the park 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.

Color variations
Leaves turn from green to red, orange, yellow, dry out, turn brown, fall to the ground, becoming muddy and dirty there and if not cleaned up by someone who has this task, they rot and become one with the ground.

Not only leaves, also other plants run through the same procedure in ... ehm, autumn.

Ok, this is something we can keep in mind for our color choices. Decide how long the leaves or plants are already in this stage. Decide beautiful colors for them, vary the colors you use. Do not use only one colored leaves, that might be very unnatural.

Natural Composition
I often see miniature bases with leaves on it. That is beautiful, but very often there are seventeen leaves and all placed in regular distances to eachother. Leaves do not fall, land and stay like that. They just don't.

Leaves fall from a high tree. They fall randomly and it is beautiful if you can catch on while falling, having a close look on its random flight of beauty. It drops, somewhere between other leaves.

... but they are not placed in single leaves by nature. They form random families, groups, gangs, parties and friendships. They touch eachother, they pair and team up. In between you might find some single ones whose fall was not aimed for being a part of a group. That's fine. We'll keep that in mind.

Natural Influance
Well, I am talking about wind, a car that drives by, someone who is taking a broom and moving the leaves. Wind will blow these light weights around ... until they got stuck somewhere. In small groups and single ones of course.

In big parties ...

In small parties ...

Leaves will always follow these natural rules, no matter what. They form a natural composition and if you understood that, you can play with that on your miniature bases, instead of: "Yeah, leaves, good idea, I take some fifteen or so and glue, glue, glue, glue without any sense.

Difference in size
Big ones, tiny ones, different sizes I mean. There are no one-sized regular leaves in nature. For sure that is depending on different trees that are around and drop their leaves in ... ehm, autumn.

Some more inspiration - think about the points mentioned above while looking at these:


Practical Example
For this explanation I am not using fency ultraexpensive lasercut leaves. I am using what most people use: Birch seeds. They are cheap, can be found and even bought in most hobby stores nowadays. You can buy them coloured for example at Pk-Pro or other stores. I will use natural ones here.

They look like this:

Or why not use natural leaves?

Leaves are always a good addition to a base.

thoughts you have to make if you decide for an autumn base:

Is there a tree on the base? 
Are there still leaves on the tree? 
Which time of the season is it right now in my scene? 
How many leaves will be on the ground and how many are still up to the tree? 
What color do they have? 

If there is no tree on the base and you want to create an autumn base, think where the tree would stand - well, not on the base - but in the area of your wider imagined area, where you cut the base theme from.

Ok, bad example now:
I just do not like to see such leaves on bases. I just don't like it. Why place them in this way? What reason is behind that? Did you ever look on autumn in real and what leaves are doing there? Sure it saves leaves and with it, it might even save some money in the big calculation. Everytime I see such a base I want to overcrowd it with leaves. Really, I am going a little frenzy, but I do it silent, just for me. Calm. Very controlled.

Well, to the better example now. 
I know from visualizing and learning from autumn that leaves have different sizes. Ok I grind mine with my fingers, randomly - do not think too much.
Chhrrrbb! Chhrrrbb! Chhrrrbb!

I place them with matte varnish and an old brush to my project, but while I am doing so I think what I have learned from visualizing autumn. Leave families, gangs, wind, collected leaves in corners, driven there by wind and so on.

More and more. A single one here and there and families and gangs over there.

After the matte varnish is dry I decided to give the leaves a more dirtier look. It fits better to my project I am working on and I want to have the leaves look already a little bit rotten. I am using Army Painter Washes, browns and reds for it. Wait, this is no recipe. You can take whatever you like and enjoy. Greens, blues, yellows, oranges and so on.

Now I let this mess dry and finish painting the base soon. Maybe my brush will touch one of the fixed and dirty leaves once again and paint it with a stronger color or a highlight here and there. You never know until know.

Hope you enjoyed the article!
No offence at all. Just had to say something!

Keep on happy painting in ... ehm, autumn!

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.


There are 3 Kommentare for Tutorial: Visualizing Autumn

Post a Comment