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Make the dead glorious again (11) – painting dark female skin

‘Til Tuesday ‘Voices Carry’

It’s been a while since the last update, as I was ill for a couple of weeks. However, I’ve finished the majority of the Arabian rider – with just the freehand designs, flame, and an ornamental dagger remaining.

I thought it might be helpful to demonstrate how to paint dark female skin; as it can be a difficult effect to achieve. Dark skin is a challenge on miniatures, because if it’s too dark then it will lack definition – which is especially important when painting faces, as they are the focal point of the figure. If it’s too light though, then it defeats the purpose. Female skin is tricky in its own right, as it needs to be much smoother than the male variety, otherwise it looks too masculine.

These were the colours used:

Base – Cadian fleshtone + Mournfang brown (1:1)

Wash – i) smoke + black ii) smoke:

Unfortunately, I forgot to take photographs of the subsequent stages (I really was unwell); but to continue:

Layer i) – Cadian Fleshtone + Mournfang Brown (1:1)

Layer ii) Cadian Fleshtone + Earth (1:1)

Highlight by adding increased amounts of Ushabti bone to the above mix, over successive layers. Use pure Ushabti bone as a final highlight raised areas.

Glaze the whole skin area with smoke, which will unify and darken it slightly.

For eyeshadow use Cadian Fleshtone + Regal Blue around the eyes.

For the lips, basecoat them with a dark red; highlight by adding Cadian Fleshtone; then glaze with baal red.

The finished effect:

The skin required a bit of experimentation – and it’s still a bit paler than I hoped it would be; but I’m not too unhappy with the result. I had originally tried to paint the skin dark by using an ‘Eavy Metal guide – that is, rhinox hide, tau light ochre, and khaki – but it looked a bit ghastly:

I’m going to paint the cloak with a Mehndi design – but it needs planning out properly first.

Make The Dead Glorious Again (10) – work in progress: Arabian horse

Stretch Princess ‘J.W.B.A.’

I was going to paint the horse white, but thought that grey looked less Elven:

Horses can be tricky to paint, as they’re not really like any other models – having large areas which are smooth and curved; with a fairly unique type of skin. Heavy shading can make them look gaunt, rather than sleek; so it’s helpful not to use overly dark colours in the recessed parts.

With that in mind, the grey skin was basecoated with USA Olive Brown; then highlighted by applying successive layers of the brown + increased amounts of Dark Sea Grey:

The horse’s hair was painted similarly – but using rakarth flesh, instead of dark sea grey; and adding final highlights of white in select places to create a faint sheen.

To paint the nose/mouth area, create a basecoat of black + earth; then highlight by adding Cadian fleshtone to the mix. Finish by adding Kislev flesh to this mixture:


Finish by glazing the horse all over with several thin layers of USA olive brown.

I intend to paint the horse’s armour as turquoise marble; but I have a feeling it won’t look right, and may require a different design – we will see, however.

Make the Dead Glorious Again (9) – Undead Horseman finished (give or take)

Fourwaycross ‘shimmer’

I’ve finished the undead horseman; though some aspects don’t look quite the way I want them to, so I may adjust these at a later date – but taking a break by working on something else often helps, as it grants you a bit more objectivity.

As it is, however:

To be honest, this was a real pain to paint; and I’m glad to put it aside.

I will begin painting the Arabian horsewoman now; though I haven’t planned it out fully yet. Hopefully it will prove a bit less arduous than the undead horseman did, though.

Make The Dead Glorious Again (8) – painting freehand banners

The Three O’Clock ‘A Day In Erotica’

Freehand designs can be a bit daunting. Rather than be put-off, however, if you approach them methodically, they become more straightforward.

It’s helpful to draw a sketch of your design before painting it. I would also recommend using a wet palette, as it delays the drying time of paint; and therefore makes it easier to maintain its consistency – as you don’t need to keep adding water to it at intervals. I find this especially beneficial when painting finelines.

Paint the background – in this case, red and white stripes:

This was shaded with a fairly generic black+brown wash:

Use dots to plot-out your design:

Add plot-lines to help structure the design:

The same method of dots/lines was then used to paint the overall emblem:

Fill the lines in with grey:

I used this coat for the body, but painted the crown, claws, and shield their base-colours (I painted the tongue last, as I wasn’t sure what colour to use at this stage):

Shade with the same black+brown wash as before:

Paint the details as you would any other miniature – highlighting and shading as normal:

I added a scroll:

Painting lettering is very painstaking, and I’m not especially good at it – my handwriting is dreadful; but it’s beneficial to begin in the middle, which helps you to space the letters out evenly:

Then paint the letters at the furthest edges:

Before painting the remainder:

At this stage, it’s good to tidy-up and sharpen any areas which need refining. The photo reveals a few misplaced brushstrokes, which I hadn’t noticed – so I will re-touch these. I finished by glazing the whole banner with a very thin layer of brown.

However, no matter how complex a design is, as long as you break it down into small stages, it should look effective once finished:

 

Make The Dead Glorious Again (7) – work in progress

Tears For Fears ‘Pale Shelter’ 

I’ve finished the skeletal steed/horseman – except for the banner (and its pole), as it still needs planning out properly; which is why the cloak hasn’t been attached yet:

I decided to make the object source lighting effect stronger, and to remove one of the horns from the helmet, as it looked a bit off, somehow:

The glow effect just requires stippling progressively lighter shades of green, with a final dotting of yellow+white in select places; and then being given a thin glaze of dark green to finish. I think it looks more effective – and to be honest, stippling is much easier than blending, given the heavy folds on the caparison.

 

Make The Dead Glorious Again (6)

Built To Spill ‘carry the zero’ 

Just a work-in-progress update, really.

The folds on the steed’s caparison made a freehand design look too disordered – so I decided to make an ethereal glow effect, instead:

It’s maybe too faint, but until the rest of the figure has been painted it’s a bit difficult to tell:

I used these paints for the OSL – and found a gel-based glaze medium helpful, as the undulations of the plastic can make thin paint run uncontrollably:

 

Worth a look:

Painting metal armour (AlmostPerftec)

Making a forest backdrop (GardensOfHecate)

Using plastic sprues to create scenery (Weemen)

Making scenic bases (ColouredDust)

 

Make The Dead Glorious Again (5) – painting dark red

Alice Donut – In My Head

Red isn’t really my favourite colour to paint, as it’s a difficult colour to highlight properly without turning it into pink. However, to paint a dark red, I used these paints:

 

Basecoat – Rhinox Hide:

Layer – Rhinox Hide + Burnt Cadmium Red:

Shade – i) Rhinox Hide + Black (all over) ii) black (recesses):

Layer – Burnt Cadmium Red (I added a small amount of Rhinox Hide to this, to make the transition smoother; but it’s not vital):

Layer – Burnt Cadmium Red + Red Gore:

Layer – Red Gore:

Layer – Red Gore + Red:

Layer – Red:

Edge highlight – i) red + Troll Slayer Orange ii) Troll Slayer Orange iii) Troll Slayer Orange + Goldbrown. To paint rips/tears – use black + Rhinox Hide; and then edge highlight these with the aforementioned mixture:

To finish the red, glaze with smoke.

It looked a bit plain at this stage; and the outside of the cloak doesn’t lend itself to freehand – as you can see, the holes and the deep recesses leave very little of the surface area flat enough to paint a design on.

So, I painted a glow instead, using green:

I will have to work on removing the glossiness. The colours came out slightly better on the rider’s body:

The underside of the cloak lent itself a bit more easily to freehand work:

I haven’t painted a submerged pattern before (i.e. the white crosses); and I’m a bit ambivalent about the results here – so we’ll have to see if it can be improved.