Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Painting Flesh: Quick Study

Tuesday Tutorial


Lots of Pictures ahead!

So I've been asked how I paint my Skin tones. Due to a lack of a good camera and due to my inability to make a decent painting video (because, honestly, that's the best way to show how it's done), I've been loath to do any painting tutorials. WELL, today that changed... If only cause it was a gorgeous day outside and I had nothing really to do. So I gave it a shot.


Due to some events well beyond my control, AKA: HEAT (28 C is just waaay too hot to paint outside as I realized to my detriment), what is usually a 10 step process was boiled down to a 5 step process. My paint kept drying out very fast, despite my use of a wet palette and I stubbornly refused to stop and claim defeat. I promise to do a solid video when I'm able to and show you how I attain skin tones such as the following:

Dark Skin Tones

Native Skin Tones
And of course,
Light Skin Tones

Those tutorials will follow once I have the capabilities to create a decent video. But for now, ON WITH THE SHOW!

Painting Flesh: a Quick Study

Painting skin is actually a rather easy thing to do. Many people are dissuaded from giving it a solid try as it it often touted as a very advanced form of painting. In truth it's as difficult as you make it. Of course the easiest way is to paint a couple thin layers of your preferred skin tone onto the fleshy bits of your model and then hit it with a skin wash such as Ogryn flesh (what is now Reikland skintone... I believe). This really is a totally justifiable and decent way to get a good look to your models. I have done this many times in the past when speed painting an army (some who know me will remember the infamous "2500 points in 3 days" Imperial Guard and Ork 40k armies I've pumped out a few times). There is nothing wrong with that.
What I aim to show today is a quick and dirty 5 step process to painting "professional tabletop standard" (I hate that term) flesh tones. For this tutorial you'll need 3 things (beyond your brushes, wet palette, water and paper towels):

2 flesh tone paints:
  • A main tone (I use Rosy Flesh from Vallejo Model Color)
  • A lighter flesh tone (I use Cadmium Flesh, again Vallejo Model Color)
And a ruddy flesh wash 
  • I use Ogryn Flesh here as I have about a half- dozen of them)
Step 1: Getting Prime(al)

Prime your model. I've used white as it's my prime color of choice as noted here.
It's so bright outside!
 Step 2: "Here's the skinny.."
Apply your main tone to the exposed flesh. make sure you water your paint down to about 2:1 water to paint ratio. It's far better to apply a couple layers of your paint to the model than to loose detail because you load paint onto your figure, ESPECIALLY on the face of a model as our eyes are naturally drawn to that point on a model.

Oh Leman Russ, you have such a healthy glow~
 Step 3: "I wash mahself with a rag onna stick.. hurr hurr"
Apply your Flesh wash to the skin areas. Make sure you get all the cracks and crevices on these areas. This will lay down a solid shading to your fleshy areas and, coincidentally, darken the lower areas on the face and musculature... which makes it easier to pick out the areas you want to paint in the nest step!
Um... Mr.Russ? You got a little something on your face...
Step 4: The Devils in the Details
Pick out the major details of the face and musculature with your main tone again. Make sure you are again working with thinned paint and that you don't let the paint drip or slide into the deeper cracks and crannies. You want those to stay dark as they'll provide the shading of the skin you'll want, which provides depth and character to your models. Don't worry if the paint does run into the deepest recesses. If you can, quickly wash your brush and just pull the paint out of the details. If it's dried already, simply paint the wash back into the details.
Now sporting the Grizzled Veteran look.
Step 5: Focus people, FOCUS!
Now for the most important part: The  focal points. What you need to do now is take that lighter skin tone that you brought with you (thought i forgot about it didn't you?), and apply it only on the top most details. These areas are the spots that, if done correctly will draw the eye to the focal points of the face and really make it "pop". These areas are the eyebrow ridge, the top of the cheekbones, the bottom lip, the end of the chin and the tops of the ears (if there are any). In this way you force a persons perception to the face and make sure they look where you want them to.

And that's it! Simple as that. If you wanted to paint the eyes (many people don't as they really can be a righteous pain in the arse), you would want to do that between step 3 and 4. That way you don't loose any detail and can paint over any mistakes if they happen.

Acute readers will notice that i have used an incredibly rare and hard to find original Leman Russ model circa 1980's Citadel Miniatures. This is because I'm crazy. Also I'm running out of primer and wanted to make sure I got him primed before I ran out. I'll Finish him eventually I'm sure.

And with that I'm out of here, so until next time,
Keep on, keepin' on!
Bean out~

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