Familiar Faces, New Angles: Redesigning the Shieve and Mortighull Premium Format Figures
An Interview with Painter Casey Love
During the process of building the Court of the Dead world, Tom Gilliland has created dozens of characters. Some of those designs will never leave paper, but others are born in clay. A few lucky characters come to full (after)life with complete paint treatment and fabric dressing.
Two of these fortunate souls in particular were fan favorites- Shieve: The Pathfinder, and Mortighull: Risen Reaper General. We are pleased to announce that these characters have been redesigned for production as Premium Format™ Figures.
Sideshow Painter Casey Love created unique and masterful looks for both of these amazing new creature characters. Read on to gain an inside look at how these fantastical figures came to life.
Mortighull is a very dark creature, festooned in dark metals, yet his finished look is far from dull or monochromatic. How do you bring this depth and “pop” to a figure with challenges like this?
I think the key to painting Mortighull’s armor was using multiple layers of metallics, along with overlaying color washes in darker tones that fit with the overall mood of the character. The original painted version was handled by Tom Gilliland and Kat Sapene, with a base by Anthony Mestas. With this newer, revised version, Tom wanted to punch-up some of the armor and other aspects, and include a newer base. My job was to basically add those refinements this time around.
The exposed parts of Shieve are made of mostly bone material. How do you achieve a “bone” look when painting?
I always use a layered approach to painting bone, oftentimes working right off the color of the resin material, if possible. I like to build layers of washes, sponging, airbrushing and other techniques to build thin layers of color until I achieve the right look or feel. I often look to real skeletal or skull references as a guide for inspiration.
There are many different types of bones, metals and other common materials that go into the Mortighull and Shieve figures. How do you select reference or pick a direction for a material that can be interpreted in many different ways?
When looking for paint direction or material inspiration, I source real-life photos of ancient skeletons, skulls or animal bones – if it’s some sort of rotted old skeletal character that I am working on. If it’s a type of metal or stone, then I will look at things like old buildings, metal objects, such as rusty old sunken ships, etc… to get inspiration and find some real-world approach. Of course, we also have to consider that since this is Court of the Dead, we need to always add that spiritual element that brings it into the world we are creating and story we are trying to portray with each character.
Mortighull and Shieve are creepy and imposing beings that reside in the Underworld – a realm without a sun. What influenced where you placed highlights and shadows on these figures to maintain the feel of the “Underworld” environment?
I’m very much a creature guy. I love the darker creepy side of monsters and fantasy characters. It’s not hard for me to find influences on shadow placements and highlights; that stuff seems to come pretty natural for me. I love all things creepy and dark!
Are there any signature paints, elements or strategies that you employ when working on a Court of the Dead piece to give it its unique look?
I always use many different paints. Lately, for the Court stuff, I’ve been using a lot of the Citadel washes, Golden transparents, Vallejo metallics, and, of course, my own line of paints – Casey Love/Black Heart paints. I pretty much use whatever works well, and I often change between brands or intermix brands to achieve a tone or look. My strategy on any Court of the Dead piece is to push it to the darkest, creepiest place possible.