Monday, February 21, 2011

Making Cool Banners - Colouring Book style

Freehand can be a though nut to crack, especially if you (like me) have limited drawing skills, but that is exactly where this little tutorial comes in handy. A while back I decided to make myself a banner guy for my Catachan army, as the one in the command Squad set from Games Workshop wasn't to my liking...

Finding the pictures:
The internet is a great source for finding materials for your banners, and that was where I started. Google's picture search is a good tool for finding that little jewel that will make yor banner just right, and I admit to spending hours looking for exactly the right image...

Drafting your banner:
Once you have your image, then you need to start mocking up banners, until you find the style you like. I used PowerPoint from Microsoft, but I'm sure that other applications with similar functionality will do just fine. The important thing is that you can set the outline of the banner to the millimetre.

In PowerPoint I did the following: First I drew some rectangles of suitable sizes. The easiest way of getting them just right is to measure the maximum dimensions possible on the banner pole, and then use that as guide when setting dimensions on the box that is going to outline the banner. In PowerPoint that is easily done by right clicking the rectangle and selecting 'Format Auto shape' - then the size can be set using the size tab. You can see some mockups I did below, all are done with pictures from the net + autoshapes and word art from PowerPoint

Once you're happy, then push print - I recommend that you print monochrome (black/white) on a laser printer, as ink prints are not suitable for painting on. Another thing that might give you an edge is to print on heavy paper (100g/m2), I didn't, but I wish I had as the paper I used (80g/m2) was wrinkling a bit from the moisture of the paint.

Painting your banner:
Bring out the paints - I used the colours from Games Workshop, any other paints will do (including airbrush). The all important thing is that you thin the paints down, as you need the monochrome definition in the print to guide you, and undiluted paints will cover then in a second. The techniques for painting the Colour Book style banner is the same as you use for your minis - Light colours for the 'raised' areas on the banner and dark colours for the shaded areas - All that is something that you get for free as the monochrome print will tell you to paint those colours. White = Light colours, Black = Shade & Grey = the level of blending in between. Below is a couple of examples of banners where I have been painting some of the print.

Modelling the banner:
Now you have a paper banner, but we all know that life expectancy of those is unacceptable, so it needs to be stuck to something. I used the thin from a Mayonnaise Tube, because it is cheap, easily available and modelling can be done using a pair of household scissors. Water down some PVA glue (PVA 75:25 water) and apply that to the tin, then place the painted banner on top. Wait for it to dry, and cut it into shape using the scissors. One last thing - Remember to wrinkle the banner a bit - I forgot that and you can see on below pictures what kind of difference it makes.

/Nicolai aka Atoom

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