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.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you had a successful move, David, and glad to see you're back in "the zone"!

    As always, you give an excellent tutorial. Much of your advice is always worth repeating, from post to post. Thanks for going the extra mile to include the color patches. It's great to see the different tones side-by-side and next to the model.

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