Against all my original predictions I've not only finished my designated pony, but several others too and I've still got half the month left to go!
This little pony was an absolute delight to paint and I haven't had so much fun on a custom in years - everything I did seemed to happen exactly as I intended and I couldn't be happier with his finished form. He had his moments though - I must have redone his blaze and pink nose at least four times and his dapples were a bit awkward from time to time but hey, that's half the fun of customising - the unexpected problem-solving!
He turned out a lot darker than his original design, with more white, but I actually prefer it like this, I think the white on his face and mane balances out the rest of him.
The dun Highland had his final details added in - I used pastel dust mixed into clear matte varnish to make a nice opaque paint to draw on his dun factor markings. I do this a lot when I'm detailing, because it allows you to have a lot of control, and more importantly, over the intensity of colour. It's also really handy if you've been working in pastel and make a mistake - when I accidentally took some of the paint off I noticed there was a tiny spot next to his tail that I'd missed, but a few drops of varnish and some of the pastel I'd used on his body colour covered it up in no time! You can bypass many of the layers you'd need to add with pastel alone for touchups like that. Obviously it's not ideal for larger areas but it really comes into its own for minor details and hooves. (and as I type that I realised I hadn't painted on the chestnuts of any of the customs I finished. #fail)
I actually love painting eyes, it's just unfortunate that this one is so small you can hardly see it! XD
I'm really pleased with how he's turned out, and I've definitely made a good pastel 'recipe' for this shade of dun which I can consult in the future.
The negatives are few, but ones I want to be aware of for the future.
The sponged on basecoat worked really well, but for the fact that it created some unwanted texture, which, in my opinion, really did spoil the final finish as despite all the layers of Dullcote, the pastels still had to lie over a base that wasn't perfectly even, and so it looks grainy and muddy, even though it actually isn't. It's not a huge deal really, but it's one aspect I wish I'd paid more attention to early on, either by adding a layer of gloss partway through to smooth over the rough patches or sanding down the basecoat a bit more. In the grand scheme of things though it's not too bad, and it's probably only really noticeable in photos because I use a macro lens which never fails to bring out every teeny tiny imperfection!
Highlands are my favourite pony breed, yet I don't actually have many in my collection! I thought I'd photograph my newbie with my other two resin ones for a bit of fun.
Here he is next to EA Driftwood Pixie, (the first resin I ever bought!) who was painted by 'Twisted Fate Studios'. We've both chosen almost the same shade of dun to paint and it's really interesting to see how differently we've achieved it!
He (really needs a name!) also met EA Dunwall, a Mini Hadrian resin I painted after my favourite real life Highland stallion, the inimitable Carlung Feargus. He suffered a similar grainy effect, though this was due to using a pretty crappy sealer rather than anything else. I'd quite like to repaint him eventually.
Only one of the three was actually sculpted as a Highland - Pixie the AA Mini Highland, but ironically I think Horatio is actually a far better representation of the breed, and he was sculpted as a cob! XD
Mr Teke wasn't turning out like I wanted at all, so I decided to do something a bit drastic and added some red tones on top of the eyeshadow with pastels. He immediately looked a lot better, and so I carried on in that vein, making him a really nice and rich medium bay.
After a coat or two of Dullcote, I went over him with some brush on matte varnish.
His head was still far too dark but never mind.
I was torn between adding dapples or not, as well as markings, so I put it to the vote on Instagram and Facebook and to be honest, it wasn't hugely helpful as both options were pretty close!
I settled on no dapples and minimal markings and I really love him. He doesn't really scream Akhal Teke to me now though, although the mould itself isn't quite narrow and angular enough as it is, so I might show him as a TB cross of some kind. (I think I'm going to call him 'Tekenique' in honour of the eyeshadow shading method and his original breed. XD)
I also kind of want to paint on his shoes, and give him a light dusting of Dullcote as the brush one matte sealer I used gives his coat a really lovely healthy sheen but it makes his head look really sweaty and weird.
From that point of view he's not technically finished yet but its close enough as far as I'm concerned!
I've still got Hamlet and Heather to paint this month so expect more on them at a later date!