Saturday, 8 March 2014

How I painted my Ogre skin!

Over the course of painting an ogre, i had been consistently asked how i painted the skin, so I finally decided to put a step by step together for everybody that may be interested and hope that it may be useful to some people.

Firstly i need to mention my good Polish friend Adam Halon who some of you may know as Loler from the Brush Brothers, who helped me with some techniques and tips during a skype painting session I had with him a few weeks ago.

First of all I applied my base colour which was Cadian Flesh, with a touch of white and a very small tip of black. The black changes the hue of the skin colour a little making it less human like. Previously, I would start applying shades and prior to my highlights and then use the mid tones to smooth transitions and tidy up my highlights. However, I always struggle with contrast and making my highlights bold, so this time i decided to start with the highlights and really push them and make them as bold as possible. In the first photo you can see where i have started applying zentithal lighting by adding vallejo Ivory to the base mix.

I also painted the muscle groups one at a time, constantly thinking about where the light would fall the most, so basically you want most of the light at the very top of the muscle and the least at the very lowest part of the muscle. Don't be fooled into just painting lighter shades immediately along edges of muscles as this will produce a confusing looking mini with no obvious vocal point. Having applied some lights to the first muscle on the upper arm i moved across the shoulders as shown in picture two, which gives you an idea of the contrast achieved with this first highlight.

This first highlight was then worked across all the back and shoulders and along his arms. I broke each section up as I went but that was just a personal preference. More layers of the Ivory paint were added to the mix as I went along, with each additional application of this highlight mix i focused on the upper parts, slowly reducing the amount of highlight as i move closer to the light source.

In some places as I was moving along I decided to start adding some shades and midtones just so as to help me decide where to keep applying the highlights. I found this important, because to get optimum contrast your brightest highlight needs to be applied immediately next to a shade. To further accentuate the contrast on the skin, i introduced warm/cold contrasts. So for instance red was added to the base colour for midtones (warmth) and a solid blue was added to the base for the shades. The very deepest shades had a little touch of black added to the blue and base mix. When applying the midtones and shades, the paint is more heavily diluted than when i apply the highlights. You want to be painting glazes at this stage and build up the colour tones with several applications, if the paint is too thick you will merely be applying a dark colour and covering up your work to date.

In this picture you can see the start of the midtones being applied, down the spine and coming from underneath the muscles and up to the highlighted surface. It is important to move the paint with the direction of your brush strokes, so for midtones, your brush should start near the base colour of the flesh and be worked towards the shades as you would when shading too, the opposite is necessary when applying your highlights.
I continue building up the various skin tones as described above and start putting in the shades. At this point it is just about reapplying the same paint mixes and techniques as previously described, always pushing your lights and smoothing the midtones and very carefully working the shades into the deepest recesses. You can then always go back and apply even more highlights by adding gradual amounts of Ivory to the base colour. Along the tops of muscles and along the neck, shoulders and prominent lines of the head i have used diluted pure Ivory.

 I have included this picture to show you the finished levels of contrast but also how the next component of the mini must also work with that which you have just finished. I have lots of cold tones in the flesh of my ogre so went for warm and worn leather for his pants, his boots will be black and his armour and weapons will be cold steel again to compliment his warm leathers. :D

I hope this article may be of use to some people, I use to always ask people what colours they used, but this isn't important, what is however is how the colours you choose interact with each other and create an interesting composition and aesthetic on the miniature. So I now find myself telling people that which I have been told many times, buy a colour wheel and practice, practice and practice.