CoolMiniOrNot Forums -
  • Wet T- Shirts and Other Sheer Clothing

    Yes it's your ol' crazy artist friend Chrispy with another article. This time I intend to illuminate the world of sheer/see thru clothing for all of you. Many see this effect and kinda overanalyze it, but it's actually easy once you know what you?re going for. I hope this?ll entertain as well as inform, so raise the roof!... Raise it! :P

    Basically what you're trying to do is the effect that Charles Perugini has done on the sleeves of his "Girl Reading" painting. It looks light, like gauze almost. It's really subtle here which would never be seen on a mini because the progression is too subtle. Hopefully this article will teach you the tricks to doing this on minis.

    The Wet T-shirt Effect:

    Seeing through sheer clothing is some ways is like looking at a wet T-shirt... I leave it up to you to get your own reference. Anyhoo, you can see the basic shape of "things", be what they may, and also a bit of their color. So why not just use a lighter skin tone? Well, that's only half the problem. Unless the mini is wearing spandex (or tightly wrapped in mummy clothes, spray on chamoline, whatever) the cloth is not going to touch the skin, and therefore would not show up as a skintone.

    For the most part, the cloth will hit the highest point on a body. This can be anything, chests, muscles, arms, thighs, knees and legs. Sounds daunting, but you probably already catch my meaning. One analogy is that if you pretend the body is a relief, and you make an etching. The charcoal would only catch the raised areas. If that doesn't make sense either take a look at this, done by our friend DiVinci:

    The outlined red areas are the parts that would touch cloth if he were wearing a white robe. It is only these areas that would look like skin. The other areas would be colored like the cloth if it were white or black. We'll get into colored fabrics later, but learn the basics now. Also, the further away from the skin the fabric is, the more pure the color. Now onto the step by step examples to clear this up!

    Pay attention to that man behind the curtain!

    First of we see I primed white.. the cloth was going to be white, but hey I'm not saying the black primer cultists can't not do it this way. Waitaminute.. what'd I say?.. And you'll notice the quick skintones, that was for me for reference of the skin colors. You could do this before the skin on the mini, but I think it goes better this way, cause you know what lighter skintones to use.

    Next I painted the areas where the flesh would be vaguely with Vallejo Light Grey (I'm using Vallejo exclusively for this article, I'm sure there's color swatches some were, or better yet look at the pic and compare!) This is done because it'll help bring out the definition of the flesh.

    Speaking of Flesh, next I used a bit of Flat Flesh to define the only major areas that would show through, his left pec and thigh. This was one of the highlights of the skin, so it would be lighter. Yeah, I know Vallejos look yellowish. So sue them.

    Next was a bit of even lighter flesh, Basic Skintone.. Almost indistinguishable, but it's there, trust me..... Give me your money.. Okay, not THAT trusting..Yet :P

    Light Green went on the robes as it's shading. I used this color to give a sense of the old Renaissance style of robes in the murals and such. Using a light blue or a light blue grey is also acceptable, but I don't have to tell you not to use black, right?... RIGHT?!

    For the transition to white, I used a little Green Grey to highlight the upper part of the robes. Like I said, you don't see the flesh on the upper part of the robes. You'll notice that the light grey primer is also working for me, so I really don't have to use a mid-tone, as it's already on there.

    Finally the last highlight of pure White is used, adding to the effect. So now do you see that the further away from the skin, the less of the skin color there is and the more color of the cloth it's pretty easy when you think about it, really.

    Color me Bad

    Now, colored fabrics work on the same principles, but with a few different rules... I know, I know, It was confusing for me too. Basically the flesh showed up on the white as one of the darker areas (even though it was lighter in comparison to the actual flesh) but in colored fabrics, it shows up lighter.... Check out J. W. Waterhouse's "Circe offering the cup to Ulysses":

    See, now even though the flesh under the cloth is darker, in comparison to the darker areas of that cloth, it is light. Also notice that the cloth gives it's color to the flesh, this is because as any true artist can tell you, white is all colors. Thus, it cannot add anything to the color of someone's skin other than making it look a bit lighter. Colored fabrics act as "filter" for light, so even if the cloth is pressed against skin, it will give its color to that flesh. If the skin looks like the cloth or vice versa,..... you're screwed, find another color. Onto the step by step example!

    Neferata, Queen of the Damned Hard Paintjobs:

    Before I comment, why the heck is this sheer cloth used on vampires all the time? Like I said, if it conforms to a person, it can be done sheer. I know I'm guilty of this too but it seems so weird that other models don?t use this more often. Hopefully after this article, that will all change. :P

    I painted the face and skin a bit better this time, wanting to get away from the job I did on this years ago when I was just starting. Her dress would be purple again this time, though, as I liked the color scheme. I started with a base coat of Violet.

    Next I did the trick with the raised body parts with Blue Violet (Actually it's a lighter purple.. Blue Violet.. Vallejo must be hard up for names) As you can see, this included EVERY part that would be raised... Listen to the "Thong Song" on your own... :P

    I then mixed a bit of Azure with white and used that to highlight the areas more. I think it was around this time that I used black as shading. You can see on the underside of the left breast in this pic I also used this Azure/White mix as reflected light. I've noticed that most sheer materials are usually silky and thus have sheen to them, so this is my way of doing it. I also did this near her back for a bit of a shine.

    Okay, the cheap answer to coming to this point is to use a bit of Azure with Blue Violet and White.... What really happened is that I thought the flesh would be visible, but it looked weir, even when mixed with the color. I saved the paintjob by mixing the above with a bit of Matte Medium and used it like a kind of glaze. This allowed me to save all the careful highlighting and blending I did. It also gave me a chance to do the knee. And as you can see, the dress is truly see through.
    Fifth Floor: Jewelry and Lady's Lingerie

    Looking at various examples in both minis and real life made me also see something else: Black Stockings does not follow the rules like normal colors above. Instead of taking on all the color, some fleshtone still exists. I believe this is because the stockings are stretched thinner than normal fabric is is, and thus gain more visibility. I was surprised to get this on the first try:

    These stockings are from a Witch Elf I converted into a Wych (not so far flung, huh?) The base coat is Black Grey mixed with a bit of Beige Red (weird reddish looking flesh color). I also took the liberty of painting the rips and tears with a straight flesh color 'cause it can't take on the stocking color if there's nothing to take on!

    Next I added a bit more Beige Red and did the raised-area-skin-voodoo I do. I have no idea why Beige Red looks like it did, but I wouldn't try Vallejo's yellowy flesh tones for this. Why? Did you ever mix yellow and black? Then go out and do it... NOW!! You got an olive color, didn't you? And flesh doesn't look like that.... Unless you're an orc.. but then why would you be wearing..... Wait, best not to think about that.

    More Beige Red.. You should be about 50/50 now.

    And for a final highlight, straight Beige red. The only problem with blending on this surface, tough it the lines would show. My guess would either be to drybrush the paint on this surface or now use an ink very lightly and see if you can't dab some of it off.

    In addition to skin, sheer fabrics can be used if the character is wearing something underneath:

    This is J.W. Waterhouse's "Juliet" (Actor's note: Juliet had "not yet seen fifteen summers" in the play, hence the young appearance) Not the effect of the red dress showing through. Now fabrics pretty much stick to each other so the raised areas of the body are not too important. Just remember the parts of the material that are farther away get the purest highlight, like around her shoulders.

    For further references with Sheer fabric, I recommend looking at Waterhouse's works along with other Renaissance and Pre-Ralphite artists. They usually abound with figures of heroes, gods, angels and such in sheer, flowing robes. I also recommend pretty much any underwear magazine, just for real life references... Playboy is not one of them!! :P

    So to summarize everyfink:
    Sheer cloth looks like the underlying raised areas.
    In white cloth the flesh color is darker in comparison to the cloth.
    In colored fabrics, the flesh areas are lighter in comparison.
    The purest highlight of the cloth is the furthest away from the body.

    Hope this article has helped you as much as me. Tune in next time when I hope to be doing an article on full sculpting! (Which'll probably be after this year's GDs)
  •  Articles order

    sort by Set Ascending

    Recent Articles


    Painting 15mm Imperial Romans step by step

    Welcome to Painting 15mm Imperial Romans tutorial. Here I will present to you a Step-by-step of an easy and fast painting process for 15mm scale Imperial Romans by Grenzer Games as can be seen in this gallery.

    Before we start, some notes:

    * You can visit original article at
    * This tutorial does not require airbrush.
    * You can use any paints, not just the ones I recommend. You can use this chart to compare paints between different brands.
    * Please note all pictures present a huge... read more
    Scarhandpainting 03-15-2021, 07:00 PM

Privacy Policy  |   Terms and Conditions  |   Contact Us  |   The Legion

Copyright © 2001-2018 CMON Inc.