Ali's turn with the Raven Priest first - and she has started with the skin. The only thing that has changed since part 1 of this article, is that the body was temporarily attached to a base for painting (I cut the tab away, added a pin, and lightly glued it in place), as I knew it has to come off again. I was careful not to over-spray the primer - I really didn't want to cover any of the detail. I used a grey primer and just dusted it lightly until the surface was covered. I have taken to using grey primer lately - it may seem like an obvious thing to say, but it does give a good compromise between white and black undercoats. It gives a little more solidity than white, and doesn't require too much paint to cover as black can.
Here's the process that Ali went through - I'm not going to be specific about the colours as different people like different paint ranges.
1 - Solid base coat of a tanned flesh colour. Best to give two or three coats of a thinned down mix, rather than one thick coat - just make sure the thin paint goes on evenly and doesn't pool in the details. You are aiming for a smooth, flat coat.
2 - Shade under the muscles with a mix of the base colour with a camo-green added. A darker olive green is best here - one with plenty of brown in it. The best way to figure out where the shadows fall, is to hold the miniature under a single overhead light source and see where the darker parts are. Places like in the eye sockets, under the cheekbones, nose and bottom lip on the face.
3 and 3.1 - Add deep blue (royal blue colour like GW Regal Blue) to the shade mix and add to deeply recessed areas. Tops of the eye sockets, under the pectoral muscles, backs of the arms, back of the neck, under the chin, the hair line and the sides of the feet. With the muscles, concentrate on following the striations with the shade colour.
4 - Add white to the base colour, and use this for the first level of highlighting. The highlights are added in the opposite areas to the shade colours - remember that the light is coming from above - so the more a surface is facing straight upwards, the lighter it will be. As opposed to the shade areas - the more over-hanging the area, the darker it will be. So the areas that get the most highlighting are the brow, the bridge of the nose, the prominent cheek bones, the top of the chest and the tops of the shoulders. With the first highlight you may find that you cover some of the first level of shading - that's okay, it's quite normal to go back and forth with the highlight and shade colours until you achieve a natural look.
5 - Continue adding white to the highlight mix - covering less of the muscle area with each successive stage.
6 - Top highlight is off-white (a warm off-white colour) and is added to the sharpest and most prominent areas - forehead, bridge of nose, tops of sharper defined muscles - places like that. It may look a little scrappy at this stage, but once you frame round the flesh with deeper colours it will really tidy everything up.
7 - Here Ali has lined round the edge of half of the skin, to show how much difference it makes from the area without deep lining.
Just a couple of general tips when painting flesh -
- Try and keep the shade colours cool and the highlight tones warm for a natural look.
- Follow the line of the muscles with shade and highlight layers - that's also true if you are blending, follow the striations.
- Don't be afraid to go back and re-shade or highlight if something isn't looking right.
I haven't talked about blending at all - that's mainly because most people have a different way of doing it. We apply the highlight (or shade) with one brush, and then use a second damp brush to blend it in the direction the muscle is layered. Also a good tip is to mix the paint a little thicker as it will dry slower than a very watery mix thus allowing you more time to blend the edge with a damp brush. We do plan to do some more detailed blending tutorials in future.
That's it! Next up I will be tackling the feathers, and I plan to give him a different look to the versions we have painted so far...!