Here's the second part of the tutorial about how to paint the skin on Seraphine Le Roux - this time concentrating on the face.
It's generally best to paint the face separately from the rest of the skin on a miniature - especially if there is a lot of skin showing. This allows you to really concentrate your efforts on the face - it's the focal point, so will draw the most attention when you're looking at the miniature. Of course you need to make sure the face matches the rest of the miniature for colour and lightness - so it might be worth taking notes while you're painting the main area of skin. Actually that's another whole discussion - do you paint the face first or last...? Either way - it's a good idea to make sure the colours match!
Ali used exactly the same colour palette as the rest of the skin - a rich chocolate brown highlighted with a warm skin tone. See the previous Seraphine tutorial for details. The photographs are largely self explanatory, but here are some brief notes.
1 - First highlights. There are quite a few different areas to concentrate on when you're applying highlights to the lower part of the face - the cheek bones, up the sides of nose, down the bridge of the nose, top lip, chin - picture 1.1 shows where they are applied.
2- Highlighting the forehead with the same colour.
3 - Mainly going over the same ground but with a slightly lighter shade. It's important to take these first highlights up the sides of the nose - there's nothing worse than hard lines down the sides of the nose.
4 - Gradually bringing the highlights up further - covering less area than the previous layer.
5 - Lighter again, and then dots on the forehead, nose and chin to give a reflective shine.
6 - The rest is make-up really - the eye sockets are darkened after the make-up is applied there. Note how the eye make-up is taken higher than the natural level of the brows.
7 - A light flesh tone is painted into the eyes. Don't use white here - it's far too bright and stark looking. The eyebrows are added following the line created with the make up - this gives her a very 'arch' look. You obviously don't have to do it this way, but it does give her a little more attitude...
8 and 8.1 - The lips are painted dark pink - the underside of the top lip is darker because the light doesn't hit there. The bottom lip is highlighted in a couple of stages, and two spots of a light colour are added to give the lip fullness. Ali also added a final highlight to the top eyelids at this stage.
The last stage is to paint the eyes - not a great deal of advice we can give here.... Use a really good brush, get the paint to a consistency where it will flow smoothly from the tip, and keep your hands as steady as possible. Ali painted the iris deep brown, then black for the pupil and a final white dot to give the eyes shine... I know - makes you sick doesn't it! She says it's lots of trial and error...
General face painting notes - Use a fine brush and quickly blend the highlights as you apply them - work on small areas at a time. Female faces have less sharp definition than male faces, so try and get the blends as smooth as you can. Concentrate on lighting - if you get the lighting right, the whole effect will look much better - things like that final highlight Ali added to the top eyelid make a huge difference.
Ali will be finishing up this version of Seraphine soon, and we'll show it here. I don't know if she plans to take stage by stage photos of the snake, but hopefully I can persuade her...