The 10 Year Challenge is comparing your work from then, 10 years ago, and now. I haven’t done one of these before and I finally have an example! Plus, I’ve been seeing a lot of artists I follow posting up their 10 Year Challenges lately so I thought I’d join in on the fun.
10 Years ago (or thereabouts) I painted my first copy of Azrin the Barbarian from Reaper Miniatures. Then, I did a weapon swap so that she was wielding am axe and hammer. Then, this was one of my first display bases where I tried to do more than just some grass and rocks. I made the steps out of stained glass remnants, the tree out of a twig I found on a walk with a little vine wrapped around it and I even tried using jewelry wire to create a short railing. My idea at the time was she was a jungle dwelling dwarf protecting a temple. She had a wolf companion to help her. Everyone needs a good doggo!
Now, I decided to revisit this piece. I had a spare Azrin the Barbarian in my collection and I wanted to paint something smaller amidst larger projects. I needed that sense of accomplishment of finishing a project. I used my Then Azrin as a reference and redesigned the composition using the knowledge I now possess to make a better piece. A lot of the same elements are there but more refined and added to. I also have better materials to work with than I did 10 years ago. Partly because Mark has a hoard of basing supplies.
There are some major differences between the two pieces. First, the faces show a pretty big change in not only color use on skintones but lighting and expression. I also bent some areas of the new Azrin to give the pose a bit of dynamic movement the original was lacking.
I used general overall lighting on the Old Azrin which is why it looks very low in contrast levels. On New Azrin I used Atmosphere throughout the entire piece which helps it all feel like it is a coherent scene. Every part has the same colors used for shadows and highlights. The only thing that changes are the local colors.
You can see almost all of the elements between the two pieces are the same. Except for the wolf. I couldn’t find a good spot for a familiar on the new base so I left it off. Otherwise, there is still a tree, but with more interesting color and texture. There is still moss on the stairs but I used flock instead of glued down cornmeal. I still have flowers but I used MiniNatur basing materials instead of dried flowers. And the steps are still stone but I built them using cork board and milliput. Lastly, there is still a fence/railing but I used pre-made fences from a dollhouse supplier that is a good scale. Instead of trying to make my own with wire.
Overall, the newer piece has a more refined look to it. It has more polish.
I want to leave off with a message for those who maybe struggle to see improvement from piece to piece: persist! Even if it feels like you aren’t making progress because it can be slow in coming, you are still evolving more than you know. You will soak up information the more you are exposed to ideas and techniques. The more you look at art across many different formats the more you will identify, subconsciously, what makes something appeal to your sensibilities. And don’t be afraid to do your own 10 Year Challenge!