Monday, December 12, 2011

Figure Painting, Part 1

I found myself with some extra time this evening (now yesterday evening) after getting home from a family holiday party, so I decided I would get to it and start painting.  I wasn't expecting to have time to do get started with the actual paint step until at least next week, so this was a pleasant surprise. I've been both looking forward to this and dreading it for a while; it is time to just get started.

black coat over black primer, white dry brushed, and
now a few layers of medium gray paint over everything else.
I began by putting a black base coat over the black primer I previous applied.  That step was no problem.  I then did some dry brushing of white paint onto different surfaces, because I understand that painting over lighter colors can impact the intensity of the paint that over over it.  It was my first time dry brushing, and I think it turned out alright. 

I wish I had taken more pictures of everything as I was doing it, but I was too engrossed in the act of painting to step back and stop to take pictures of each phase.  Next time.

After I got done with the dry brushing, I moved on to painting a darker gray onto the areas of the figure that I meant to end up gray- the body armor, gloves, boots, pockets, etc.  That went pretty well.  I am using Folk Art acrylic paints  from Plaid.  I use their paint because it comes in a ton of colors, its super inexpensive ($0.79 per 2 ounce bottle) and it seems to be good quality stuff.

One principle I saw in practice while painting the gray was color vs. coverage.  This idea is covered on page 50 of How To Paint Citadel Miniatures, and the idea is this: when it comes to paint, there is a trade off between the brightness of colors and their capacity to cover a surface in a single coat.  Some paint is made to cover objects in one or two coats.  In this case, the colors tend to be dull.  On the other hand, paints can be formulated to have bright colors, but in order to achieve these colors, several coats may need to be applied, as each individual coat is relatively translucent.  The former type of paint was the factor with the gray. After two coats, it didn't look very impressive, but after four, it looked amazing. 

on the left we have the medium gray, and on the right
we have steel gray on top of the medium gray.
Steel gray is kind of like barely dirty mob bucket water gray.
However, I do fine myself stuck at the moment.  I thought that I would use a darker color gray (medium gray) to be the first color layer of the armor, and then I would move to lighter colors of gray to give the sense of definition, shadow and high lighting to the figure.  Everything was great until I added the next layer of gray, which was steel gray.  On figure, the steel gray looks almost white.  The pictures here don't really do it justice; I need to learn how to white balance my photos before I upload them, but that's something for me to learn on another day.

The darker gray does give the illusion of shadows in the folds and recesses of the shape, but the really light color of the gray doesn't look good at all; it really isn't what I want. I'm not sure at this point what to try next. Maybe I should repaint the parts where I used the steel gray on with the medium gray, and try to find a gray paint that is closer to medium gray in darkness but still a little bit lighter than the medium gray.

I am looking at the Plaid colors online as I write this, and it looks like there several grays in the spectrum I could purchase, and the steel gray swatch on the website looks much whiter than the bottle I have here.  That makes sense.  I think my next step will be to run to the store when I can and grabbing battleship gray and dark gray, and doing some experimenting with dark gray, battleship gray and medium gray.  Based on how those look, I'll make a choice about what paints I want to use going forward.

Ok- so that's the plan.  Find those other colors at the store and report back to the workshop when I have time.  More news as it happens.

Until next time,

David D.

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