Dwarfology -part III-
So, it seems that you liked these easy step-by-step tutorials, I'm really happy about it.
In this third episode of our Dwarfology, I want to show you how I paint leather surfaces (and rough tissues as well) and my beloved purple gems.
Before going on, I would like to make a premise about the concept of texture in a 32mm subject.
Nowadays, textures are highly appreciated by the painting community and we saw a kind of philosophical change in the average style of both famous and "amateur" painters. If, in the past, the pinnacle of painting skill was considered a perfectly smoothed transition, today people has discovered the beauty of brush strokes. I think it's interesting, even if, as you may imagine, I'm still in love with smoothness!
However, we can't evolve if we don't get out of our comfort zone, so I decided to try one of the main "textured techniques": stippling.
To me, stippling is an ideal way to add texture and brush strokes to my miniatures, without "betraying" my idea of painting: with stippling, in fact, I'm still able to obsessively control what is happening on my the figure. I know, it's kinda weird.
However, despite texture/smoothness is all about personal tastes, I think that we should consider that, in a 32mm scale subject, rarely we can say that a texture (especially on tissues surfaces) add "realism": if we consider the pattern of an average texture, like mine on the leather of my Dwarves, and we consider the scale of the Dwarf itself, it can't represent a realistic texture. It's simply out of scale. Working in this tiny sizes, in fact, we obviously have to exaggerate the pattern of our textures, to make them readable!
So, if we talk about adding an interesting visual effect, or an "idea" of different materials, I'm totally ok. If we talk about pure realism, I think that rarely a realistic texture could be painted on a 32mm scale subject.
So, let's start with our leather!
HOW I PAINT LEATHER
As always, I start with a uniform basecoat, in this case the 1st shadow of the Andrea Color Skin Set (of course, any brown is fine!), with an Agrax Earthshade wash (1). After the wash is dry, I start to build my texture. I add to the base color a small amount of Bronzead Flesh (any medium skin-tone works too), and I started to paint a lot of small dots, trying to build my first light (2). I dilute the color with approx 30% water and 20% Lahmian Medium.
I then simply add more and more Bronzead Flesh to the mix, build more lights (3,4). It's not a difficult technique, you need only to try to maintain the size of the dots almost the same.
Once I'm satisfied with the general contrast between lights and shadows, I add saturation giving a subtle glaze with Vallejo Transparent Yellow, mixed with a small amount of Vallejo Transparent Red, to obtain a kind of orangish glaze (5). After that, I return to the previous mix of leather color and I add a small amount of Bleached Bone, to define better the lights (6). The more I add bright colors to the mix, the more I dilute it: I want the color to be more transparent, in order to avoid to cover all the texture I built before. Few, bright and subtle dots work better than too many.
With pure Bleached Bone, I build the last light (7).
If the surfaces allows me to do, I try to variate a bit the glaze hues on the leather: for example, in this backpack I added more red glazes on the bottom and in general on the darker areas, just to give a more interesting look (8). In the backpack of the Sentinel B, on the other hand, I preferred more green glazes.
I use the same technique to paint all those tissues that I want to have a kind of rough look, I only change the color I use!
HOW I PAINT PURPLE GEMS
Purple is my favorite color and for this reason I started to paint my gems with this color since the very beginning of my career! Obviously, this method can be used to paint any kind of gem, just change the colors!
Unfortunately, I discovered that I've erased the first pic of this tutorial, sorry. However, imagine that before pic 1, there is another pic with the gems painted with a flat Liche Purple (0).
I add some Space Wolves Grey to the Liche Purple, and I start to highlight the two edges of the gem, painting the edge below larger than the one above (1).
The dilution is almost that of a glaze, so 60% water, 10%Lahmian Medium and 30% color (approx, we are not chemists here!).
I then add more Space Wolves Grey and I highlight more the edges: the more I highlight the gem, the more I try to stay near the edge (3).
Before painting the final lights, I give more saturation to the gem with a very subtle glaze of Purple Ink mixed with a bit of Magenta Ink. After I find the right "purpleness", I paint the final lights using pure Space Wolves Grey, painting the very sharp edge of the lower part of the gem, and I add two white dots on the upper edge (4). I found that the best color to make these white dots is the Vallejo Air White, because it has the right consistency right out of the bottle, you don't need to find the right dilution, it's just perfect.