I’ve begun work on the main figure of the Necromunda diorama – and thought that it would serve as a good example for anyone who is reasonably new to painting; demonstrating the general approach I’ve personally found to be the most effective way of painting.
Before I begin to paint, I plan out the colour-scheme – usually drawing upon reference material (such as versions of the model painted by other people).
With this in mind, I begin by painting all of the basecoats, as it allows you to gain a good idea of what the finished effect will be; and to make any adjustments if needed. I also consider what to use as a spot-colour – that is, a colour which contrasts with the main ones being used, to give the model balance and definition, unifying the overall effect. In this case the dominant colours would be the green armour and the flesh colour; so I decided to use gold as the spot-colour here:
I then apply general washes to add shading, as these tend to be a bit messy, and any unwanted staining can be painted over during subsequent stages:
After this, I work on each individual component, completing them one at a time – so, herein, painting the flesh; then when that is finished, moving on to paint the armour. I usually paint the largest or most recessed areas first, because it makes it less likely that you will accidentally splotch paint onto the surrounding elements.
I apply highlighting by layering-on lighter colours – this is probably the most time-consuming element of painting, so it’s worth making a cup of tea (or similar) before setting down to work. You can see the difference which only one layer of highlighting makes, however:
I then add progressively lighter shades, layer by layer; and eventually finish with very fine highlights to edges/extremities:
In order to enhance colours – whether to smooth the various layers out, or just to change the general appearance of something slightly, by altering its hue – I add tints through glazing. Glazes are very fine layers of paint – mostly just water (or a similar medium) with a very small amount of paint added. The red paint on the left would serve well as a wash – the smaller patch of more transparent red paint is diaphanous enough to glaze with:
You can see how it changes the tone of the skin slightly, making it more colourful, but without altering it dramatically:
When painting figures designed to stand-alone – such as character models, for instance, rather than units – I usually try to push myself a bit, by attempting effects that I haven’t employed before; or, more usually, which I haven’t mastered. I thought with this model, it would be worthwhile trying to paint a mottled-vein effect, to make the flesh look unhealthy:
This was a case of trial and error – and not an entirely successful one. So, probably the most important – albeit workman-like – stage of all begins: namely, reworking and refining the effect, until you’re happy with it; or else chalking it up as a failure, and simply painting over it.
(Which is what I did).