A long long time ago…. … various lighting effects were quite trendy (and now they’re pretty oldschool, so maybe nobody cares for a lava tutorial?). Current trends in miniature painting moved away from them – which is partially caused by currently trendy color schemes. Natural colors and realistic compositions are popular now.
My ignorance made me chose this lava effect anyway, or maybe it was my contrariness? Because I still approached this subject in a different way than in the days when the whole painting community was amazed by bright and vivid colors and sharp lighting. I minimized the effect of lighting and I hope it’s enough to avoid calling this paintjob OSL After all it would make this article an OSL tutorial instead of a lava tutorial – and it’s not the purpose
I don’t know if in this situation anybody is interested in a lava tutorial, but I’ll encourage you by saying painting lava can be very easy!
This lava tutorial isn’t anything unusual, so just like with most tutorials, it’s best to start with the very preparations. On grey basecoat I applied white paint to the parts where lava and glowing cracks were to be seen. I needed a few layers as the paint had to be smooth.
When it was dry I left white in the hottest parts, and brushed Vallejo Model Color Transparent Orange. It cannot be called drybrushing, because if you have worked with Vallejo transparent paints you know how hard it is to do. Take an old big brush, and when you load it with paint, remove the excess so that the paint doesn’t run into recesses. Transparent paints are very saturated and so without big effort I achieved first effect of glowing with just two layers.
Where the heat is less intense (which means toward the top) I applied stronger orange color. I don’t know if this stage can be omitted, so if you feel like experimenting this might be the right and not very risky moment for trying. For this stage I used Transparent Orange mixed with Transparent Red (both from Vallejo Model Color range) and applied this mix onto a smaller surface than previously with the same technique similar to drybrushing.
I was happy to use the Black Ink from the P3 range, which I thinned even more, I brushed it onto the horizontal surface of the rocks and I also caught a part of the highest rock.
Then I took black paint and – like on the picture – drybrushed the sides in the very normal way. Once and twice, and… I don’t remember how many times, but I believe you will see when it should stop. You see – we even found use for drybrushing in our lava tutorial!
To soften the contrast between blacks and hot parts I mixed Transparent Orange with Woodgrain. It’s important to keep this layer transparent, because no opaque layer would join the parts we’ve already painted.
If you don’t have transparent paints, then I would suggest to start the whole painting from pale and cold yellows, and then add darker and warmer shades. And when we reach this point I recommend going from yellows to dark warm reds, and only now brushing it with black paint.
Now it’s time to improve details, as real lava is speckled, and if you feel like playing a bit more, just take white, orange, or orange with woodgrain, and splatter some of it onto the surfaces. You just need to aim well!
No lava tutorial would be complete without the finishing touches… So now I brushed the upper parts of the most protruding rocks with light grey, and added some vegetation which wasn’t burnt by the heat. In normal conditions I wouldn’t expect anything to survive… but I am no expert in lavas as I live in a pretty safe region, but for this model it seemed acceptable.
Tell me, please, if you found this lava tutorial helpful. There is a follow-up to it on my Painting Mum blog, which presents a slightly different approach to the subject. Can you tell me which one suits your needs better and why? Thanks!
UPDATE: If you would like to know how to make more dynamic, splashing lava, follow the link to my other tutorial: How to make lava splashes. Enjoy