As the title says this is a guide of how to make a portrait of yourself to adorn your wargames room and to personalise your wargames in whatever period you wish to partake, although this is obviously enough the ECW for the purposes of this post. I am obviously taking for granted that you have some knowledge of Photoshop or similar type of software, if not then go to you tube and search for a tutorial such as: how to swap a head on a photo in Photoshop. There are some great tutorials on there by some extremely talented people.
Okay step one, find a suitable portrait that you wish to personalise. This is easy enough, just browse the web and look for English Civil War portraits and paintings. There will be a fair few and all you need to do is pick one you like and download to your PC.
Step two, examine the painting and look especially to the face and see whee it is lit from and the facing of the head, as you need to get a photo of yourself in the same pose and light conditions. It doesn't matter about trying to match the colouring of your photo to the painting, but if you can then you have done very well indeed. Do try to keep your hair back away from your face if you can unless you intend to use your own hair in the painting. Once you have a suitable image simply upload it to your PC.
Step three, using a suitable image editing or paint program crop the image until only your head is left. Once done save the image and remember tat this is your master image and all other saves should be saved with a slightly different file name.
Step four, upload your chosen ECW portrait to the same program in a different window so that you can compare both images and ensure that they will be a suitable match. At this stage the first thing to do is resize your mugshot to ensure that it will fit exactly with the portrait and once done save your work.
Step five, look at the colouring on the portrait and compare it to your photo, at this point it is very easy to adjust colouring or lighting to make your photo match your chosen portrait. Once you are happy then save your work.
Step six, careful using the cutting tool on your image program cut out the required part of your face or head so that it will fit in with the donor portrait. Paste the head onto the portrait and postion it until you are happy with how it sits. Now save the portrait to a new file name.
Step seven, using the blend tool soften the edges of your face to the portrait so that they fit together more naturally. Once you are happy save the work.
Step eight, using the colour sampler and paintbrush tool blend in areas that don't fit together so well and highlight any areas that need to be emphasized more or darken areas that need toning down. Don't overdo this as it needs to look right, also refer to the original portrait as it will be a good guide to making this look effective. Also bear in mind that you are trying to make a painting so a painterly style is quite appropriate. This is the longest and hardest part and if you make mistakes then undo them. Once again when you are at the stage that you are happy with then save the file.
Step nine, using the artistic effects part of your imaging software run the portrait through an oil painting effects editor and fiddle around until you like the effect you see. This will finally blend your face in with the rest of the portrait so that it seems like it was all painted at the same time. When you are happy save your work.
Step ten, simply sit back and admire your handiwork and if you are feeling particularly happy, print it off onto good paper or canvas and frame it for all to admire, or laugh at depending upon your chosen audience. If they don't share your admiration for your work as much as you do then pity them for their ignorance and lack of good taste.
So that is it, I hope it inspires other wargamers to do their own portrait and if you can't use computer programs too well then take up oil painting and do it the hard way. The whole process does take a fair few hours especially if you use your own hair as well and need to make it longer, or you wish to add facial hair.
Here are some example of my handiwork the first and might I say devilishly handsome one is myself The very famous ECW General Sir Stephen Wylde - Royalist and the second one is my good pal and wargames nemesis The dastardly infamous ECW General Sir Nicholas Perks - Parliamentarian.
Here are the original mugshots so that you can see how they have progressed into the paintings as shown above.
Stephen Wylde BA (hons)