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!


  1. following this with relish! Let root rot and bower blight!

  2. As always, very interesting to read your thoughts on your painting process... which reminds me that we're still waiting for the 3rd part of your tutorial on color schemes :)

    1. Ahh yes colour schemes part three, I guess I'd better get a move on and get it finished!!!