I was getting a bit burnt out on the orc project. All the little details on the clothing take time, but you don't feel like you're making much progress. I could feel myself starting to rush things, so I decided to step back and work on something else for a bit. In a few weeks I can return to the orc hopefully refreshed and finish it at the level it deserves.
Anyway, the new project is a 54mm knight from Romeo Models. I'd recently happened across some reference images that will serve as the inspiration for the piece. I'm hoping to do a lot of design work on the clothing and the shield. In these early stages I have delusions that I can paint like Bohun or SkeletteS. Soon reality will kick in and I'll pick a simpler design that I can actually pull off. After all, this figure is 54mm, not 90mm like the samurai I did. But you can't improve by always playing it safe, so I hope to push myself on this one. I plan to write a full step by step tutorial on this project, so check back for more information on that later. In the meantime, I'm sharing some previews of the sort of information that will be in that below.
I began by base coating the majority of the figure. You can already see the influence of the above images.
The majority of my work so far has focus on the face. The fact that a good portion of the face was covered up actually made it more challenging. Had to get as much detail in the small section that was there as I could. Here's a breakdown of each step...
Image 1: Base coat of the face and surrounding regions. The face is a 50/50 mix of Reaper Master Series Bronzed Shadow and Rosy Shadow.
Image 2: I like to sketch in the shadows. For this I used Reaper's Chestnut Brown (for most of the shadows) and Mahogany Brown (for the darkest shadows). In each case I mixed in maybe 20% of the base color. I'm focusing on the area around the eyes, nose, and cheeks.
Image 3: After getting the rough shadows around the eyes, I pause to paint the eyes themselves. I used an off-white (Reaper's Weathered Stone) and then just a very dark brown (Walnut Brown) for the iris/pupil. On a larger scale I will paint a distinct iris and pupil, but for 54mm and smaller, a single dark dot (either dark brown or dark blue) tends to work well enough.
Image 4: I now return to the skin and using a number of layers blend the shadows into the midtone. I start with the shadow tones (plus 20% of the base) and gradually add more and more of the base color with each layer. I smooth out the shadows, leaving the darkest tones just where I want them.
Image 5: I continue on with the highlights. To the base, I gradually add a 50/50 mix of Bronzed Highlight and Fair Skin. I'm working farther and farther away from the main shadows. Highlights are focused on top of the cheeks, the browns, upper mouth, and the parts of the nose not hidden by the helmet. At the very end, I add a bit of Linen White for the top highlights. Just on the top parts of the cheeks and a dab on the nose.
Final Step: Not shown yet as I need to paint the surrounding areas. Once those are down, I'll return to the face and use some red and blue glazes to add color variation. The red glazes will be applied to the sides of the cheeks to make them appear a bit more rosy. The blue glaze will be applied above the mouth to create the look of stubble. Check back as I will post those images as soon as I've competed that part of the figure.
I also put together a look at how I start the design work. While I have much more complex plans that just a stripe, even the simple stuff needs to be done carefully or else you will run into trouble when you start to build on top of it. So as I begin the simple stripe along the bottom of his surcoat, I create an improvised ruler from the corner of a piece of paper to help me measure the size. Using a marker I indicate how large the stripe will be.
Then I hold up the paper next to the figure and place small dots all along the bottom of the surcoat.
After that, I carefully paint a line between the dots. I can again use the paper to check various parts of it to see if everything is the right size.
Finally I fill in the stripe. I'm not worried about the border being completely clean. I will fix that when I go back and highlight/shade the two colors. The important thing is that I'm beginning with a stripe of uniform width all along the bottom of the surcoat.
There will be more work to come on top of the stripe. But, you will see, the basic procedure of measuring and marking out guide dots will be used to create more and more complex designs.