My thoughts on painting busts – PRELUDE
Hey it is Jay here, I wanted to say a little about Patryk before he starts his piece and he doesn’t know I am about to write this. It is a pleasure when running a blog such as this to find an artist so passionate and keen to share his thoughts and knowledge with the community. Although I create all the articles and do the layout and image editing etc by myself, Patryk invested a lot of time and effort into this piece, even going so far as to get the piece properly translated. It may not read 100% as if it was written by an English speaking author but this is without doubt a very nicely put together and informative tutorial for everyone to enjoy. My thanks and gratitude go to Patryk and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have! Over to Patryk (Ed.)……
Hello Figurementors readers! My name is Patryk Ciemięga, otherwise known as Paster03. I’m 26 years old, a Site Engineer and painter from Poland. My adventure with painting busts started last year with the classic “After the Battle” from Andrea. I’m still looking for my own style and trying to learn with every figure as many new things as possible. Ogre Brute is my sixth bust. I hope you enjoy this short step by step that I have prepared.
After painting such a big and rich in detail bust as “Shieldmaiden” from NutsPlanet I felt like working on something smaller and a bit less complicated. The choice was made and I was about to work on “Ogre Brute” sculpted by Roman Lappat. Apart from the single piece bust, there are also some stickers and the author’s business card in the box. The figurine is quite small – it measures about 70 mm and it has no shoulders. The size in my opinion is compensated by a plethora of details and multiplicity of varying elements, which I have discovered in the process of painting.
The lower part of the face with skin ridges, small scars and jagged lips was a particularly interesting area to work on. The quality of the mold itself was also really good, which is why there was no use for sand paper. Right after washing the figurine in hot water with soap, in order to remove any grease from the casting process and drying, I could start painting.
I begun by applying my basecoat with airbrush, a couple of thin layers of Vallejo Black Surface Primer and Army Painter Primer Matt White. I assumed the light was coming in from the character’s right side, so I put white base, holding the can at a 45* angle.
It enabled me to initially block out the lighting scheme and simplified future colour work. Can paint adds a nice, grainy brushwork, which was an advantage when it came to this particular bust. After painting smooth female skin, such a ragged surface was a pleasant change.
In majority of cases the face of a bust is it’s central feature, which attracts viewers attention in the first place. That is why I usually start off by working on the face and this time was no different. Basic Flesh by Scale75 was my base colour.
Most of my paints are by Scale75 because I really value their matte look. The Basic Flesh colour has in my opinion a perfect, skin tone which does not stream in pink or any other tone. I have prepared base colour (Basic Flesh with the addition of Arabic Shadow), highlight (base + Golden Skin), the darker colour (base + Field Gray + Flat Black). My goal was to get a tone similar to human skin but with a more “grainy” shade.
The addition of grey-green Field Gray and black in last colour came from the need to limit saturation. This allowed me to apply more intense, highly diluted tints on the next stage of paining. I have added the amount of water needed for the paint to cover the foundation after 4-5 layers. I have worked fast, putting colours in the right areas of face and torso, having the scheme of the lightning in my mind.
Well diluted colours were mixing on the figurine giving it smooth transition – the process is called “wet on wet blending”. I assumed the ogre lives in an old wilderness, he likes grog and occasionally he has to fight off some little squads searching for some treasures assumed to be hidden in the depths of our Ogre’s cave. The back story was kept in my mind on all the stages of painting.
ADDING TEXTURE TO RECREATE REALISM IN MINIATURE
I wasn’t using traditional brush strokes anymore, but instead I was stippling softly bringing out skin texture. Firstly, I strengthened the biggest grooves by adding to the latter tone a bit more Flat Black and Castellan Green. Finishing work on the base I took a closer look at the bags under the Ogre’s eyes. I wanted them to be a bit darker than the overall tone of the face and more saturated, so I added a drop of Elysian Green and Flat Black to Arabic Shadow.
Using Castellan Green and Elysian Green I introduced green to the palette, which would diversify the skin colour and match the wilderness our Ogre is set in. The difference between the lightest and the darkest tone seemed too evident to me, that is why I have prepared an additional midtone out of Basic Flesh with the addition of Pink Flesh, a fair amount of water and Glaze Medium by Vellejo. The preparation enables paint dilution without losing the clearness of pigment.
The transitions between each and every layer becomes softer and a mild pink tint created areas of a more vivid appearance. A similar method was used in all the shades but this time I mixed Castellan Green, Elysian Green, Basic Flesh and Flat Black. I kept strengthening the green tone in all areas I wanted. In order to get rid of white stains on the Ogre’s face I started working on lips, teeth and eyes.
Basic Flesh with a bit of Pink Flesh, Armour Brown and a drop of Flat Black were needed to paint the lips. The eyes just needed Armour Brown, and the teeth Thar Brown with Arabic Shadow and Flat Black. Before moving on to next parts of figurine I evened out some areas using colours on the palette. I kept working with the tip of the brush avoiding long brushstrokes.
Achieving soft transitions between colours does not mean giving up on texture. I believe it is worth to notice the golden rule I try to stick to during painting. Some colours appear several times when painting different elements and areas and this makes the whole model seem more “balanced” and “consolidated”. Up until now it has been visible in case of Basic Flesh.
If you continue reading this text please note appearance of such colours as Castellan Green, Armour Brown and Space Wolves Grey when it comes to composing different mixes of paint. Next steps of painting created even more vivid areas of interest on the face of an Ogre. I mixed in even proportions base colour, Elysian and Castellan Green, creating a satisfactory saturation which after adding Glaze Medium and water was applied in a few layers in all shaded areas. There was no need in creating lighter and darker variations of the colour because of the basic tone.
Thanks to this process I was able to avoid those boring shadows that are too desaturated. In my opinion there is no worse way of shading than just adding black into the base colour. Of course you shouldn’t completely get rid of black from your palette, but you should be careful using it.
INCREASING SATURATION AND POINTS OF INTEREST
It is high time to introduce a small amount of red, which will definitely attract the attention of the viewer. As I have mentioned before, the ogre is fond of drinking grog, which may be apparent in his red, vein riddled nose. As usual I start off with Basic Flesh, to which I added a small amount of vivid Antares Red and then applied the flesh-coloured-pink onto the figurine in several thin layers. It also covered the ears of the Ogre.
I strengthen shadows by adding Deep Red, creating an almost burgundy tone. I also added some irregularly placed dots with quick hits of the brush. As it was before, the aim of the process was to achieve the right texture. Next step was focusing on eyes and when it comes to eyes I need to share one vital rule with you – “paint with your eyes and not with your head”. The key element of upgrading your painting skills is observing carefully and not only basing your actions on info you already have in your head – they can be deceptive.
Everybody “knows” eyes are white. Right? But holding a normal piece of paper next to an eye would show you how wrong that assumption is. There is some grey, yellow, pink, red and many other colours. A good way to learn is also photo analysis and colour sampling in one of many graphic programs.
Using white to make the Ogre’s eyes would make them look unnatural and probably ruin the whole face. Baring that in mind I mixed Basic Flesh with a bit of Space Wolves Grey and Flat Black and a lot of white and this way I got light pink-grey tone. I highlighted up the eyes by adding even more white to their upper and central part. It is crucial to remember, even such small elements are lightened in a certain way. Finishing, I added a bit of Deep Red into the eye colour. I diluted it and applied it in the corners of the eyes – this would imitate the veins of the eye.
Let’s talk about skin again. I mixed the same proportions of base colour (Basic Flesh + Arabic Shadow) with Light Skin. Light skin has a slight yellow tint. My general assumption was that the Ogre’s face is illuminated naturally by the sunlight so this colour seemed perfect. During brightening I focused mainly on upper right part of the figurine – the colour went onto the forehead, cheek bone, nose and also a bit went along the shoulder and collarbone.
I tried to control the compatibility with the scheme set by the base all the time. Another step of increasing lights to the most illuminated areas consisted of base colour, Space Wolves Grey, Elysian Green and white. Very light, grey-green tone mixed excellently with previous yellowish colour.
CREATING CONTRAST USING TEMPERATURE
As I am sure by now you have noticed warm colours dominated the project – yellow, bustling green and red. To balance the figurine, cold colours had to be introduced. Complementary colour to dominating in brightening warm yellow is purple. I put purple onto mouth in the first instance ( Basic Flesh, Pink Flesh, Armour Brown lightened by addition of Golden Skin). Painting the mouth I wanted to achieve the right texture – doing short, crossing, brush strokes perpendicular to Ogre’s lip. Finishing I stippled some diluted white to lighten the lips. The mouth is usually a bit more moist, which makes it reflect light more than skin.
Another cold colour, contrasting with skin can be found in the eyes. A mixture of Space Wolves Grey, Basic Flesh and black was used to paint the iris. Firstly, I put two small dots on the eyes to set them in one direction, and then I made them bigger so they would be the size I desired. You need to keep in mind that in most of the cases we do not see the whole round iris. It’s upper part is usually hidden under eyelid.
Adding respectively Space Wolves Grey and Ice Blue I lightened up the colour. In the end using pure black I painted pupils in the centre and added two small dots in the upper – right part of the Ogre’s eyes. It will add illumination and brightness to them. Using paint on the palette I mixed Castellan Green, Armour Brown, Basic Flesh and Flat Black to make a base for the hair which has been lightened with cold Space Wolves Grey.
I decided to focus on the items of clothing now- belt and fur. I didn’t want them to divert viewer’s attention from the Ogre’s face so I tried to paint them in a limited palette and with minimum fuss. The belt’s base was a simple mix of Brown Leather and black. I was lightening it up and at the same time texturing it with thin lines adding warmer colours such as Brown Leather, Mars Orange and finishing with Iroko to make abrasions on the edges more apparent. The belt’s warm colour offers a counterbalance to the cold fur.
The base paint for the fur was a very dark purple (African Shadow + Flat Black) which was highlighted by adding Space Wolves Grey and later white. I did not want the fur’s lining to attract the attention that is why I kept it in neutral, grey-green tone. Once again I facilitated colours on the palette, mixing Iroko, Castellan Green, Brown Leather, Flat Black. After finishing working on those elements I returned to work on the face.
In the first place I wanted to enhance and saturate the highlight on right side of Ogre’s forehead. To do so I mixed colour I had used on the forehead with lush Autumn Green, Sol Yellow and white. After adding Glaze Medium I added it onto selected area. Last highlights were made on the top of Ogre’s skull, tip of his nose, lower part of an edge of his right eye socket with diluted pure white. Please note I did not do the same thing when it came to torso as I wanted it to be a bit darker without dramatic highlights, to make the Ogre’s face more distinct.
Taking a careful look at the skin surface a few “discrepancies” can be found. I assumed they were healing wounds/scars and decided to spice up the figurine with them. Dark pink colour which I used to paint two scars on chin and forehead I got by mixing Basic Flesh, Deep Red and a bit of Flat Black. To emphasise the scars I put one of the colours used before to highlight areas. Using the same small brush I painted irregular, jagged eyebrows and chest hair with short strokes. Painting eyebrows and chest hair I used colour I had previously used to paint hair. A patch of hair in the middle of perfectly bold head looked quite unnatural to me, that is why I decided to add that “stubble” effect.
As the forehead was painted with warm yellow colours I wanted to balance it with a colder tone. I added Space Wolves Grey, African Shadow, a bit of black and a lot of white to the ever-present Basic Flesh to create light grey-purple colour. Before applying any paint I sketched the hair line with a pencil and using BlueTack I masked thin old scar – the result of careless shaving and added a couple of drops of Glaze Medium with water to the mix. This gave me an almost transparent colour which I built up over 4-5 layers controlling its intensity all the while.
FINAL ELEMENTS AND THOUGHTS
The last elements that needed to be painted were ornaments and belt buckle made of metal. I did not want metal to look new and shiny that is why I began with dark golden-green Negro Gold with the addition of Flat Black. I highlighted them up with pure Negro Gold and Viking Gold. I stopped there because I did not want metals to be too yellow or bright.
Light reflections were painted with Heavy and Speed Metal. When it comes to painting metal surfaces I really like Scale75, because despite shiny pigment you can achieve a matte look, which is great if you want to show the highlights of some elements. Army Painter’s Strong Tone helped me diffuse everything. To make metal seem cooler I added some Verdigris by Vallejo in certain areas of the figurine.
The final steps in finishing the bust was adding some blood stains. I was torn between Fresh Blood by Vallejo and Blood for the Blood God by Citadel. After testing both the choice was obvious. Fresh Blood looks like regular red paint. After drying it is flat and matte. The paint from Citadel has a gel-like consistency and a deep cherry tone. The splatters of this paint keep the same value and do not become flat.
Using BlueTack I masked the eyes and mouth. I dipped an old, inflexible brush and with one stroke of a finger I splashed it on the right side of the Ogre’s face and I stopped there remembering that in this case “less means more”. I wanted to get a look of blood splashed onto Ogre’s face, as if from a hand that he had cut off in battle, rather than poured onto him. I was also wondering about adding some war paint on the left side of the Ogre but I came to the conclusion it might be too much and I decided to finish there.
To sum up, despite its’ small size and the seeming simplicity the bust was quite a demanding piece. I am glad I managed to accomplish my chosen lighting scheme whilst simultaneously keeping smooth transitions between the colours. I hope the introduction of subtle warm and cold tones had a positive effect on the whole bust, although it is an effect really difficult to capture in the photos.
I want to thank Jason for the opportunity to contribute to what I believe is a wonderful and much needed blog, offering tutorials, articles and a wealth of knowledge for FREE for the community that we both love so much. I also want to thank you for taking the time to read my summary and I hope you may find some nuggets of insight that will help you with your own projects! We tried to spread the images throughout the article and relevant places but below you can also find a gallery of all the images I took during the process.