This is my first miniature in 2015. A very small experiment with purple skintone on a small nymph from Hasslefree Miniatures.
This little beauty was on my pile of lead for about 6 years and I didn’t have how to use her. But as soon as I got into possesion of this rock with cristals in it I kwen that she would suit there, as if she was in her own cristal cave.
My goal was to paint purple skin and try to blend the layers as smoothly as I can. I think that there is still potential for me to improve when it comes to smoothness. I didn’t use any midtones, probably now it’s too late for them, but maybe you’ve got some ideas what colors should I use?
In response to all the questions about Demon_Color’s way of painting flesh, we are presenting his own description of how he does it… So let him tell us how to paint skin like he does:
The skin on the Ogre is painted in two ways. The first way is with use of my favorite lines. I use lines to paint surfaces where are lots of curvatures and raisings on small areas – for example hands and faces.
In the beginning we must choose a raised area, for example a muscle. We have to position front and back of the chosen area. On the front of the area, we choose a place where we will start painting our lines. Now with a fast pull we draw a line from the place we have chosen to the back of the surface. Next we continue drawing other lines right next to previous line but just lighter one. After some practice the lines will look dynamic and will give some dynamism to painted in such way surface. Everything depends on predisposition and skills of the painter. Not everyone will be able to paint this way – you have to love lines to get it right.
We must pay attention because painted surfaces can look like naked muscles – in shorter words – our miniature can look like skinned alive. When I look at my earlier miniatures I see that some of them have tendency to „walk without skin” – and a few times I’ve been pointed out about that.
To avoid that I use the other method of painting skin – soft transitions. I use it mainly when painting large, flat surfaces. Everything goes just like with blending, but mainly on semicircle surfaces (in the case of Ogre – blade-bone) I use a characteristic line which will mark out the area of the blade-bone.
For both methods I use the following colors (Vallejo paints):
DARK FLESHTONE nr 44 (GW Bestial brown)
PARASITE BROWN nr 42 (GW Snakebite leather)
sometimes COBRA LEATHER (but rarely) nr 40
sometimes SCROFULOUS BROWN (rarely) nr 38 (GW leprous)
Painting faces is one of the crucial parts in miniature painting hobby. Unfortunately many people give up before even trying to master this skill. This tutorial explains how to paint faces, but in fact it’s much more than that. It also teaches how to use colors for shaping your miniatures, how to create sense of depth with colors, how to make skintones interesting, and how to play with color nuances on your miniatures. To put it shortly: it’s a must-read for every aspiring miniature painter.
Well, with this I believe that the subject of the faces is complete. In this tutorial I address location of lights and shadows, midtones and tones to heighten and to disguise volumes. In addition it’s expanded with color palettes and tones for different surroundings, specially focused to the four seasons.
First of all, painting a face is thinking about the palette of colors that im going to use. A very common mistake between painters is to be accustomed to a mixture and to use it for all type of skins. They finish doing monotoneous and little realistic works when they paint faces in particular circustamces. This can be minis under a strong light, bronzed by the sun or when trying to represent figures of different ethnic groups in the same diorama.
In the picture below it’s possible to observe some palettes that I have created for the occasion. One is a generic palette of brown neutral, very similar to the one I use for base colors, accompanied by other four sets of tones. Two primary pallettes (Warm and Cold) and 2 mixed. The intention is that mixing the palette of generic with the suitable palette of tones we pruned to give the atmosphere that we wish to surround our miniature.
The first palette of tones is the one that we will call generic.
They are the typical flesh colors that have a neutral tone and that we will turn to warm or cold according to our chioice. Andrea’s flesh paint set, basic skintone (VMC) , brown cork, light flesh could be colors of this type.
Later we have the palette of warm colors.
This palette is the ideal to use in a summer atmosphere since the thermal sensation of its colors evokes the summer period. It uses ochre and orange colors for reddish the midtones and brown tones for the zone of shade. Flesh is illuminated as well with a yellowish color that simulates the direct solar illumination.
In the opposite side we have the palette of colds.
This palette would be adapted for a winter typical scene by the temperature of its colors. One is based on pink for midtones and blue or violet for shades. The illumination is made with a greyish color that does not warm up the lights.
So how to paint faces with these palettes?
We can see a compared example of both palettes in this digital painting recreation (miniature was only digitally painted).
The mixed palettes correspond to mixtures between cold and warm colors. Indeed spring and autumn match in their intermediate temperature so we are able to use them indifferently.
The spring palette that I have taken is this:
This composing in its majority by cold colors since my intention is to intone with the intense green color of the leaves at this time. The midtones will be of a pink-orange tone and the shades will go in fucsia. The lights became a little grey applying some greenish tone to the skintone to simulate the dragged pallor of the winter.
Finally the autumn palette, that is the following one:
Composed in its majority by warm colors to intone with the leaves of fall and a cold touch that represents the temperature of the atmosphere. It uses a pink color to simulate the cheeks attacked by autumn cold. The rest of colors: ochre and brown game with the landscape of withered leaves.
Once we selected the color palette to use, there is another aspect to consider. On many occasions the „flesh” colors are colors very saturated to represent the average tones and it’s better to grey them a little to obtain a greater realism. (It is not the case of the miniature that I painted, since the gray tone is present as much in average tones as extreme.)
Here I put an example in a figure by Vincenti for you (that’s realism):
Placing highlights and shadows
In the miniature where the positioning of lights and shades will be explained (Space Marine). I decided to grey all the face and then to heighten the volume giving tones. For the base I used the second base of the Andrea’s flesh paint set who has an intense orange brown color. I toned the color down by adding azur that is approximately the complementary color. Once applied the base it is the moment for adding the lights and the shades. Each face is different but more or less there are certain elements that all have in common. There are zones that always will be in shade and zones which always will be in light and this with some practice you will learn to see it automatically. The light focus is very advisable, for aesthetic reasons, to turn it a little to give more realism and to personalize the face. Its convenient before establishing the incidence of the light to locate the main view of the figure to adequate the light focus to that view.
Once illuminated and shaded the face has a too uniform aspect to seem real (independently of the used color). By applying additional tones we will cause that the face takes realism and in addition we will be able to give depth or to heighten volumes alternating cold colors and warm colors.
The theory is that the warm colors tend to heighten a volume, to say it somehow, to push it towards outside. On the contrary the cold colors give to sensation of depth and/or concavity. If we have this in mind its easy applying glazes of cold and warm colors to heighten the reliefs of the figure. Here you have a small example.
Once we learned this it’s necessary to assimilate what we have learned and not to directly associate prominent parts with warm colors and parts sunk with cold colors. The good thing of this technique is that indeed it helps us to emphasize volumes and to make hollows deeper but also allows the opposite. If we have an unwanted volume we can apply the cold tone to disguise a protuberance and the warm tone to minimize a depression.
The perfect example is the figure of Lyssete, 28mm of Reaper Miniatures. It is a precious miniature that aside from having the typical Werner Klocke face has a noticeable cheekbone. I’ve selected a few photos so that you can see it for yourselves.
The challenge is in countering the hard gesture that has modeled the figure. In order to obtain it in this case I have used orange colors (my dear German orange) around the cheekbone, that in a normal figure would intone in cold color to mark it. Doing so I have been able to disguise a little the deep hollow that existed.
Later the challenge is in being able to disguise volume that it leaves downwards from cheekbone and that it is so ugly in a feminine face. In this case I need to „sink” the zone but I cannot use blue or green colors since probably they would give a sensation of a beard. I decided to use fucsia color to cool it. This tone does the function to me of cold tone and a similar color with the one of a feminine cheek with slight make up. Therefore using it to make up the eyelids will give me coherence to these tones.
Here you can see the result.
The mini is still unfinished but I believe that the effect can be seen. As always all the questions will be welcome and serve so that everybody understands it better.
Artemis was the model which won me the Femme Fatale II contest. Painting it was a big challenge for me – because of the scale and several problems I encountered. You can read about my Artemis – how I painted the miniature and what I learned from my problems. Maybe it saves you some trouble?
Painting of Artemis was done in the same period when I painted the girl in the eggshell – just one step earlier, but also one step after the sexy female dwarf from Hasslefree Miniatures. I may be repeating myself, but it all was a lucky coincidence at that time, or maybe I just think it was? Anyway the curtain was removed and I saw a lot of new options.
In addition to this we received some secret knowledge ;-))) acquired during a painting workshop with Jeremie „Bragon” Bonamant by our friend from Poland: Illusionrip. In the same time our website – Chest of Colors – was updated with a tutorial (by Morsi) about painting skin, which made my knowledge (acquired from Mahon and Illusionrip more complete. I learned how to „sculpt” and model shapes with colors, and even how to choose colors suitable for certain effects.
But theory is just theory, and what about practice? The dwarf was easy to improve with glazing, so I wanted to test my abilities even more. And the best model to learn painting skin is a nude model 🙂
My perfect Artermis
Artemis was still a new release, but her potential was already noticed by many painters and in a few days new versions kept popping up. I don’t think anybody will feel surprised or will mind me saying that when I visited CoolMiniOrNot in search of inspiration, I found that my perfect Artemis was already painted. Sometimes you just see a paintjob and already knoiw that it’s the perfect version and nothing better will be done with this miniature, because this is THE right paintjob. This harmony and synthesis of the paintjob and the sculpt – looking as if it was made just for that paintjob.
Of course you should know that I am talking about Fluffy’s (Ali McVey’s) paintjob. And not wanting to create a poor copy of her work, which would be too easy, I treated it as a challenge. The new goal was to find the new image for her, to put some new atmosphere into her. And it was a very difficult thing to do is fighting when you feel you already lost… As if it wasn’t enough that my painting quality was inferior, also the choice of the right mood and image for the miniature…. I hope I at least managed to create the opposite of Fluffy’s version – hers is full of power and strength, it is a real threat for the enemies, and the weapon in Artemis’ hand leaves no doubt. So I created a delicate, gentle version…. I wanted people to think „what this mite is doing here?” after seeing her.
The color scheme also had to be different, so the opposite would be a blonde, and I decided to go into yellows. This also matched the sandy base. And if Fluffy’s work was in warm colors, mine would be colder. And the blue color was added to the palette only when I was looking for a pattern for the shield and I found a painting of a plate decorated with a painting, which I later used as my source of inspiration. I recreated its colors and this decided about the colors of the whole miniature.
I have to admit it was the first time I wanted to create a general vision of my project before painting. Usually I approach painting pretty spontaneously, and I assume that nothing good was created with thinking alone. So when I have an idea for a part of a miniature – I just start with it, and the rest is created as I go on with painting. This work was an exception. Maybe it was like this because I had to create a totally new idea? When I start painting I usually know what mood I want to achieve and what I want to focus on. Here I was off my usual tracks, so I had to force myself to a different vision, and direct my mind to a new direction, new imagination.
Having painted the shield I still had no courage to make an attempt of painting the skin, so I started with the helmet. On the female dwarf I tried painting gold NMM without using yellow, and I wanted to change my tried method because my imagination wanted me to take another step forward and try new things. I won’t go into details, because I am to write about Artemis, not the dwarf. The helmet was a continuation of my struggle with the new method. I often read about other people’s methods and after reading I don’t follow their descriptions step-by-step, but am working my own way – only incorporating some ideas into my method. That’s what I did with the gold NMM without using yellow. I still missed the tint of yellow in my transitions, and I felt they are bland and boring.
You may know that Vallejo „Cobra Leather” isn’t as yellow as Citadel Color „Snakebite Leather”. I noticed it and found my own way of achieving the effect: when I paint starting from white to Cobra Leather, I don’t blend the colors, but just apply glazes of Cobra Leather. If it’s too difficult for you, you can try painting the transition with any method of blending but leaving more highlighted space than necessary and then glazing a part of the highlight with Cobra Leather. This way gold is still yellowish and you don’t need any extra color for this. That’s how I painted the helmet and only now I am bold enough to paint a part of a miniature with glazing alone.
Problems with the skin
While painting the skin I noticed that paints were behaving in an odd way.
Overcoming this cost me much effort and stress, and you can still see traces of this fight when you compare the front and the back of the miniature. I started with the front, and I was unable to understand why I keep peeling the previous layers off when applying next layers of paint. 🙁 I was deperate and the effect was like the sediment on the surface of tea which is left for too long. Just as if the brush cracked the surface of previous layers of paint. And it really was what was going on, because I didn’t find out that my usual mix I used for thinning paints does more bad than good this time. I never experienced anything like that before, but I never used paints thinned so much before.
Generally I use a mix of distilled water and floor wax (the mix called „magic wash”) for thinning my paints, and it breaks the surface tension, improves the flow of paints, and makes painting easier. Somewhere halfway during my painting I realized what the problem was and I started using water alone. When you’re painting with glazes you don’t want them to create additional „layers” but to change the color of previous layers. It’s like painting with watercolors, so when you add pure water there’s nothing to crack.
Now it went faster and much neater! I didn’t have any bigger problems with placement of lights and shadows. First I checked their placement by keeping the miniature under a lamp, and then I stubbornly refused to add more contrast. Now I think that it’s this way when somebody doesn’t feel too sure about their abilities in something, that they don’t want to pay too much attention to it. And I am still learning to achieve this strong effect of a model emerging from darkness. It’s another challenge for me, and I am preparing for it.
But let’s return to Artemis – I think there’s still something I should put in words, something which usually is very controversial and I would like to explain in this article. What I am talking about is the base. I heard many different opinions on this subject. I must confess I didn’t think about it too much because in my imagination it was immediately tied with the whole concept and I couldn’t imagine that Artemis and the base might not create a feeling of integrity. The shape of the column was more important to me than its size, because it just belonged to the subject. Initially I wanted to paint it in a marble pattern, but Mahon told me that the column shouldn’t attract too much attention, as this would distract from the miniature. Probably he was right, so I chose to leave the column almost totally black. I just added a partial pattern and some cracks on the surface, because I couldn’t resist painting such an inspiring block.
I hope you don’t mind not finding any suggestions as for the order in which I painted the miniature here. Especially in the case of the skin it was simply impossible, because – just as it often happens with the first and unsure steps – my actions were not fully considered and studied, but more chaotic and uncertain…
I wish you prolific painting with no fear of entering unknown regions of this hobby 😉