Saturday 27 March 2021

Project P30 - Part 10

Painting skin tones in three (painfully complicated) steps!

Over the last few weeks I’ve established a good routine where I’m able to paint for a few hours every day and it feels like I’m making steady progress. There is still a lot to be resolved with regards to how I use my colour palette, but the more I get done the more developed my ideas become. I am especially happy with how well the flesh tones are coming together. 

When I started painting, I thought that my plans for the flesh tones had gone out of the window in favour of something similar to what I’ve done before. However, as I’ve explored my colour palette, and the surfaces involved in painting the flesh, things have become a bit more interesting for me. Although the flesh tones I’m painting are similar to those in earlier projects, I’ve been able to incorporate the pale tones and cool hues I intended. The result is a more complex and nuanced Nurgle flesh than I’ve painted before. 

Overall this is a very satisfying outcome. It’s keeping me challenged and interested during the painting process and the results feel appropriate to a model of this size and scope. I think a straightforward application of my Plaguebearer flesh tones would have looked far too basic on this model! 
This Nurgling was painted to give me a change of pace
and will be added to the Tank (along with others of it's kind) later on.
I’ve already shown the colour swatch from my notebook but lets now look at the actual palette I’m using for my flesh tones. 

Global Shadow colours.

Black Leather
Boreal Green

These two colours are used in all of the shadows. The exact proportions I use in the mix vary depending upon the values of hue, temperature, tone and saturation I want. Broadly speaking, the shadows tend to be cooler than the mid-tones and highlights. To adjust the nature of my shadow colours, Black Leather will warm things up and desaturate while the green will give a cooler but more saturated colour. Boreal Green is, like many blue and green hues, a very pigmented colour and should be used cautiously. A little bit of Boreal Green will go a very long way!

Global Highlight colours.

Flayed One Flesh
Purity White
Flayed One Flesh is currently my favourite highlight colour it makes for bright, warm highlights. When I want to push things a little further I use Purity White. It is a slightly translucent soft white that will not overpower a colour mix. I’ve found that, although I need a little white in my highlight mix, here and there, I need to be very sparing with its use.


Bugmans Glow 
Bering Blue
Sherwood Green
Blood Red
Sahara Yellow
Rakarth Flesh

There are quite a few colours in my mid-tone range but I am not necessarily using them all together at the same time. As with the shadows, I will vary things to adjust the values of the colour I want. I’ve found that pale flesh tones look very good if they contain elements of blue, red and yellow, so I’ve included these colours in my mid-tones. Green is there to introduce a Nurglish element and Sherwood Green is a favourite colour in my Nurgle schemes. It’s a yellow green that works very well in warmer flesh tones and compliments the cooler Boreal Green I’ve used in the shadows

Bering Blue is my blue of choice for flesh tones. It is a subtle desaturated hue that will not overpower other colours in a mix. I especially like using it to create cool reflections within my shadows, adding extra nuance to those areas. 

As well as serving as a base colour for my flesh tones, Rakarth Flesh is a useful addition to the mid-tones. It’s inclusion helps to unify all the colours into a convincing whole. It may not be obvious but there is nearly always a little Rakarth mixed in with my mid-tones.

As my title suggests painting the fleshtones on my Demon Engine is a complicated process! It involves a lot of going back and forth to adjust the values of my colours. One thing it most definitely isn’t is a regular step-by-step process. Naturally enough some areas are difficult to get right while others fall into place more easily; but the overall process can be loosely described as having three stages. It usually takes me between eight and twelve hours, spread over several painting sessions, to be satisfied with my work on a particular area.

The first stage is the most systematic as I block in the overall placement of my highlights and shadows. This will provide some structure to my painting. I will adjust the characteristics of my colours but the placement of highlight, mid-tone or shadow is fixed. In addition to the tonal values I will make initial decisions about the hue, saturation and temperature of my colours. 

It’s during the second painting session, having taken the time to sit back and study my work, when I will fine tune the colour values. I am considering the area I am working on and it’s relationship to the model as a whole, to influence my choices. This work is carried out with a succession of glazing, stippling and thin layers. It is a process of going back and forth between colour values, using different techniques, in no specific order. This is by far the longest (and potentially most frustrating) part of the process, if things don’t go well. I will also begin to consider and introduce texture. 

Once again I will take time to step back from painting and consider my next moves. Time spent thinking about painting is at least as important as time spent painting. Step three is where I will finesse my work. Any adjustments to the colour values are usually subtle and most changes will involve refining the textures and transitions. 

To be honest I’m thoroughly enjoying myself as I push all this paint around!

Friday 12 March 2021

Project P30 - Part 9. Metallics, molars and monster skin.

I’ve made a good start at establishing the flesh tones on my Demon Engine but, before I get too far into the project, I want to turn my attention to the metalics. The contrast between flesh and metal is a big part of what this model is all about. So I want to establish that contrast at an early stage. I’d decided quite some time ago that true metalics were the way to go on this project. The difference between the shiny true metalics and the flesh would add to the overall material contrasts on my model. The large size of the model lends itself to the use of true metalics as there will be plenty of space to play with the effect. 
I prefer to paint my metalics over a dark base so I blocked out the eyepiece with Black Leather from Scale colour. I find that using a brown hue for my base colour helps to give the metalics a dirty and corroded look. My plan was to paint the main box as dull steel and the lens mounts and other parts in copper and bronze hues. To get things off to a start I painted a layer of GW’s Leadbelcher. 

As I painted the flesh tones I’d begun to wonder if true metalics were the correct way to go but this was nothing compared to my reaction to the colour I’d just applied. I loathed how the metallic paint looked on my model! Normally I’d stick to my guns and persevere, to resolve any issues, but this time I decided to switch to painting non-metallic metals (NMM). There was no deeply thought out reason for the change, I was simply following my instincts.

I decided to paint all the NMM colours using the palette I’d already devised for the flesh tones. I think my negative reaction to the metallic paint was, in part, because it looked very artificial and separate to the rest of the model. By using the same overall palette for the flesh and metal they will sit together more comfortably on the model. 


I was still going to use a dark brown base colour and would, for the most part, paint my metalics from dark to light. This approach, along with the use of sharp highlighting and strong tonal contrasts, will create the material contrast between the soft flesh and hard metal. In short, although using the same colours, I’m using different techniques to represent different materials.

I don’t want to get too bogged down while painting one small area at this early stage. However, my painting needed to be slower and more detailed than anything I’d done on the flesh so far. I needed my work for the eyepiece to be crisp and precise to emphasize that material difference. It took me a couple of days to resolve things but I am very happy with the result and I’m now sure that NMM is the correct approach for this project. Of course this means that I’ll now have to repaint the belly cannon at some point!

Once the eye was painted I turned my attention to the teeth as the next step in completing the face. I usually paint teeth with a warm ivory hue but I felt this would be to clean looking. For the highlight colour I would use Flayed One Flesh as usual but I decided upon a dark base colour of Black Leather, which also serves as my global shadow colour. In the mid tones I’ve used a variety of blue, yellow, green and brown hues all mixed with Rakarth Flesh. This creates a subtle greenish/grey hue to the teeth and creates a slightly rotten look that feels appropriate.

It was especially fiddly to get my brush into all the areas where I needed paint on the teeth. Without a doubt this model, due to its size and shape, is tricky to paint; and it’s going to involve some awkward brush angles! The solution requires patience as I’m spending a lot of my time making repeated passes to gradually refine my, initially crude, painting. I’d already painted and varnished the tongue as a sub-assembly so once the teeth were done I could glue it into place. The mouth is now fully painted although there will be a layer of drool effects added at a later date.

It’s easy to lose track of the overall balance within the paint scheme on a model of this size, especially when concentrating on one small area at a time. So this was a good time to step back and take stock. I decided to extend my painting to the upper belly/torso areas so that I could get a better feel for my overall scheme. Where necessary I’ve adjusted the colours and tones I’d painted with a combination of stippling and glazing. 



I’ve also begun to tidy up and smooth out some of my earlier painting. The intention is to refine and adjust my painting but not to smooth everything evenly over the entire model. There is a lot of sculpted texture on my tank but I want to add painted textures too. This will add interest and variety to the surfaces and enhance the material contrasts. Rather than adding painted textures as a separate stage I am trying to incorporate them as the scheme develops. 


This project continues to challenge me both physically and mentally but that’s the entire point of it after all!