Sunday, June 22, 2014


I had a request for a closer view of the eye on the Roman figure.  I also grabbed an image of the Dwarf's eye since they're about the same size and the painting approach was the same.  To recap, in each I started with the dark shadows around the eye.  Easier to get this into all the cracks and crevices without worrying about screwing up your carefully painted eye, so that's why I do this first.  From there I paint the eye a reddish pink.  This is covered up by the white of the eye but will still show through at the corners.  For the white I use off whites.  If you use pure white it will be too bright and make the eyes look cartoony.  With Reaper I use Weathered Stone and then mix in some Leather White to get a little bit of shading.  They eyes are so small even on a 90mm scale figure there's no need to go overboard with the shading, but a little bit is nice.  Don't go all the way to the corners, leave a little of the pink showing.

To do the iris I start with a dark color, either dark brown or dark blue.  Begin with a little dot and then slowly work it into the full size.  You can also start with a vertical line if that's easier.  If you're doing two eyes (which you often are), I do this with both eyes at the same time.  That why, as I increase the size of the iris, I can make small adjustments to keep them looking in the same direction.  Maybe expand one eye to the left a little more and the other one to the right.  Just see what needs to be done.  Of course if the iris is too big or misshaped you can correct with your white mix.  With the shape and size correct I go in with a lighter version of the iris color.  I try to paint out from the center leaving a dark border to the iris.  I'll then go in with a lighter shade or even two to give some variation.

The pupil is pretty straightforward.  Just a dot of pure black.  I use a 000 size brush though you could probably also dab the tip of a toothpick in the black and add the pupil that way.  If you're having trouble you might find it easier coming in from the top of the eye.

The last step is to add the catch light.  This is optional and something I wouldn't bother with on a 54mm or 28mm size figure.  But for the 90mm scale it's something I like to do.  Now I will use pure white for this part.  Just like the pupil, add a small dot off center.  For the Dwarf I actually did a double dot, one big and one small.  An alternative to adding a catch light is to coat the eye with a gloss varnish.  I think this trick works better on larger scale figures like 150mm and 200mm scale busts, but you can try it on the smaller scales and see what you think.


And here are the eyes magnified by a factor of 2.  It's a little easier to see the variation in the iris color and the double catch light on the dwarf.

Oh, and don't worry about going outside the lines and getting paint on the upper or lower eyelids.  This is very easy to correct with your skin shades.  When painting around the eye I use a dark line along the top for the bottom edge of the upper eyelid (and also the eyelashes).  Along the bottom of the eye, the top of the lower eyelid, use your skin highlight color.

Keep in mind all the detail I'm doing on the eyes is because this is a 90mm scale figure.  Attempting this on a 54mm or 28mm is beyond my abilities, so I do a simplified version but the idea is the same (off white, dot for iris/pupil or just merge into a single dark dot, upper and lower eyelids, etc).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Roman WIP part 2

I'm continuing to work on the face. I was fairly happy with the how he was last time but had a few minor things that bugged me. The main one was the mouth. The sculpt on the right side ended in a crease but the left side just kind of drooped down. So I faked it by added a shadow to the left. The crease on the right also went down a little too far so I lightened the bottom part up a bit. I also sharpened the shadows on the lower eyelids, especially the left one. Then I took care of the ears and the neck.

From there I went in with some glazes to add a little more color. I used a red (GW's Bloodletter) and a purple (GW's Bloodletter mixed with their Guilliman Blue), both further thinned with water. I added a little of the red to the creases in the forehead and then applied several layers to the end of the nose, in the cheeks, and the lower part of the ears. The purple went around the eyes, especially on the lower eye lids and then just a little in the darkest shadow of the cheeks. Lastly I had to re-highlight the tip of the nose.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I'm Back!

Well, after a long trip and then a move across the country I am finally back and painting again.  I should finish up one of the numerous figures I have in the works... but my trip to Rome inspired me to paint another ancient.  Better to work on something that inspires me than to work on a figure because I feel I have to finish it.

The kit I chose was the 90mm Roman Officer from Young Miniatures.  I picked this up from a friend over at CoolMini not too long ago.  It's the first run metal version and not the later resin kit, so it's going to weigh a ton when he's all assembled.  The body is a bit of a puzzle.  His left arm is clutching a helmet against the side of his body.  Ideally I'd like to paint this in sections so I can easily access any part of the figure with the brush. However, if you're not careful with the assembly it's very easy to end up with a floating helmet instead of one cradled against his body.  Luckily I can put off deciding what has to be glued and what can wait until after I finish his head.

I'm approaching this similarly to how I did the dwarf wrecker (the head is almost the same size).  I began by laying down the shadows, Mahogany Brown on the inside of the eyes, under the nose, and under the chin.  Then Chestnut Brown around the rest of the eyes, cheeks, mouth, and other shadows/creases.  I do this before I paint the eyes so I don't need to be too careful with my application.  It will mostly be covered up later.

For the eyes I start by painting them pink (a mix of Rosy Skin and Violet Red).  This will be covered up with the white area but will still show at the edges.  For the white I use Weathered Stone and then a mix of Weathered Stone and Leather White to make them a bit more three dimensional.  Again, avoid using pure white for the eyes.  For the irises I started with Ritterlich Blue to give them a dark outline and then worked in several layers to Ashen Blue to lighten them up.  From a historical standpoint I think brown eyes would have been more common... but I feel blue eyes show up better at the miniature scale.  If you're going to the trouble of painting the iris and pupil you want it to be noticeable.  The brown iris and the black pupil blur into a single color unless you are very very close to the figure.  I suppose the blue does too... but you can pick up the difference without being quite so close.  Last step was to add a dot for the pupil in pure black and then the catch light in pure white.

The above image also shows the first half of the skin work.  I've applied a number of layers of Chestnut Brown and Rosy Shadow mix (gradually more and more Rosy Shadow until I'm working with 100% Rosy Shadow).  Basically defining the main shadows (cheeks, nose, eyes) and just starting to define some creases on the forehead (the surface is flat so I am creating that effect just through shading).  The chin is left unpainted and the jaw is rough because I intend to go back over those with a different skin mix to imply stubble.

Returning to the face a day later I began on the highlights.  Now I start to mix in Fair Skin to the Rosy Shadow.  At the very end I add just a touch of Fair Highlight to the top of the cheeks and on the nose.  I chose to omit the Rosy Skin step this time and jump straight to Fair Skin.  I made this point in my skin tones tutorial but it's worth repeating, remember to vary the intensity of your shadows and highlights.  Notice the shadows under the brows are the darkest.  The shadows at the cheeks and lines from the nose to mouth are dark but not as dark.  And the shadows on the forehead are very subtle.  I've seen many figures where people paint every shadow just as dark as the next.  The result always looks off.  Use references and think logically whether or not a given area should be a 'big' shadow or a 'little' shadow.
For the stubble I used the Dusky Skin set and mixed it in with my regular skin colors.  So Dusky Skin Shadow into the Chestnut Brown, Dusky Skin into the Rosy Shadow, and Dusky Skin Highlight into the Fair Skin.  Now, a little brown goes a long way, so I'm only adding a bit.  Too much and his face will just look muddy.  Too blend the edges I go back and forth with the stubble mix and my regular skin one.  For the stubble a brown or black-grey would work instead of the Dusky Skin colors.  Lastly I took Pure Black and put down a base for the hair and painted in the eye brows.

Up next are the neck and ears, then I will go in and shade the hair.