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    NOTE This article was written by Yannick degiovani, all issues concerning reproduction and use of this article should be addressed to him. The article was translated from french to english by frenchkid. Thanks to Green Stuff for helping with the HTML codingOil Painting After getting a couple of mails asking questions, here is an article on my way of painting so that others may benefit from my experience… even though I’m still learning and improving over time… 1/ the paints I think that 2 criteria should guide you in choosing your paints: first of all choose the colors that you like (not easy if you’re painting the empire), then choose the brand that for one given color will cover the best and give you the flattest finish (or shiniest if you choose satin paints). A 3rd criteria then comes into play, finding the good complementary colors for shading and highlighting (doesn’t have to be the same brand as the base color). And I’m not talking about the financial criteria; you’ll rapidly find out that it will oblige you to make some choices!!! And you’ll also have to see what’s available in your area. . Where I’m concerned, I have paint from the following brands: Rembrandt, Windsor & Newton, Sennelier, Block, Lefranc et Bourgeois, Rowney, Fragonnard, it depends on the stores I’m visiting, the people I meet, my color experiences (I love mixing things on my palette)… My collection of paints has grown over time (I started out with 5 tubes to paint flesh tones) It is also important to read a basic article about the color theory (color circle, warm tones/ cold tones, ect…) Pure technique is one thing but having a feeling for colors and mixes is another. For one that will allow you to think ahead about your mix to shade a base tone. You should also not be afraid to test out new mixes on the palette. Articles in different magazines (like figurine, figuras) can also help you choose, recently there as even been some charts of the colors used (with the shading and highlighting mixes) Here is a sample of my palette (You can use it as a guide but in no way is it the magic solution ) • Row umber (W&N) • Burnt umber (W&N) • Cadmium red light (Lefranc & Bourgeois) • Cadmium red deep (W&N) • Prussian green (W&N) • Raw sienna (Daler-Rowney) • Ivory black (Rembrandt) • Oxide black (Rembrandt) • Payne’s grey (Rembrandt) • Indian red (Rembrandt)• Permanent violet (Sennelier) • Titanium white (W&N) • Mars brown (W&N) • Cadmium yellow (W&N) • Permanent green light (W&N) • Cerulean blue hue (W&N) • Indigo (W&N) • Gold/Silver (Fragonnard) 2/ The brush Here again no specific brand (even though I like the latest prince august brushes), I’ve noticed that usually those in kolinsky sable suit me well. I usually look for brushes with flexible hairs. I use long points (the points has to hold though, that what’s makes the brush of a more expensive brand better), and small brushes (like a cat’s tongue). I use brushes from size 0 to size 4 depending on the brand. And I rarely use short point brushes. For the eyes I just use the end of a sewing needle… [pagebreak] 3/ Painting with a flat finish The flat finish is not the easiest thing to achieve, witch is due to the presence of the oil. Here are a few tricks that I use (that are aimed at reducing the quantity of oil): •I put the paint on some toilet paper so that it may soak up a bit of the oil (the pink one with two layers is of good quality for its price ) •I play around a bit with the paint on the palette (even if I use the same color as in the pot) so as to get a nice flowing paste. •I try and get the layer on the mini as thin as possible. And the finer the layer is the easier it is to layer. •Once painted I ‘cook’ the mini in a small oven of my creation (a metallic box with a 45w light bulb fixed inside: a lot easier to use and less expensive then the oven: P) And it also accelerate the drying time. •When I dilute my paints I use white spirit, witch gives a flater finish to oil paints. •And in last resort if I have really messed up my paint and that it stays shiny, I spray it with some matt varnish (acrylic matt varnish by Mocolor). But then I have to rework on the parts I wanted shiny. 4/ Base techniques Note: the after mentioned minis are visible in my gallery: You’ll notice that I don’t use washes or dry brushing. Those are technique that I usually reserve for some specific case, when I want to create a particular effect. During the prepping of the mini (cleaning, mold lines, ect...) I already decide witch areas will be lighter (shoulders, top of the clothes, outside of the legs … same with the face..). The mini is primed with spray primer (currently I’m using citadel’s white). I use a colored primer in certain cases (black and dark tones for example. But nothing set; on my mini ‘Lepic’ I did the blue directly on the white). I prepare all the colors I will be using on my palette, that allows me to see if I’m making the right choices for my mixes (of course I know before beginning to paint the effect I’m trying to create: a clean or dirty effect, the face of a child, a women, a warrior, … ). For example if I’m painting a red clothe on a knight, I will have on my palette the whole range from the darkest red to the lightest tone, with all the colors in between. My base tone on the mini will then be composed of to or three areas that don’t touch, that I apply as finely as possible: the lighter parts in with a light base coat, the darker place (like the bottom of the cloths) with a darker base coat, and the shadows with the darkest color. I then blend those areas together with a round brush, about size 2. Note: My base coat is lighter then normal; I have a tendency to work a lot towards darker shades. My brushes are always clean and I never clean them during the painting phase of a same color (the terebenthine oil that stays in the brush would disintegrate the paint on the mini making it impossible to blend). I then go back (still wet blending), on the darkest areas and the lightest highlights. I then let it dry. I then go back on the mini, to once again paint the highlights and shadows if need be, or to change the tone a bit (adding a bit of yellow or pink to represent used clothes, mark the seams, …) It is a technique that requires a lot of time but that works really well on 54mm and 28mm (well anyway I have a lot of fun with it), but it takes a lot of time. Most of all you have to take pleasure in painting !! So everyone can have is own technique that is the most enjoyable to him, adding is own particular way of doing. Do not hesitate to test different things (same goes for the colors) and do not hesitate to show others your minis. [pagebreak] 5/ A type of metal, bronze This is what I’m doing at the moment but my technique keeps improving every time! The mini is primed in white. The base coat in acrylic depends on the final rendering I want: black or brown if the final bronze has to be old and worn out, white if it’s a brand new parade day bronze. ! I apply a first layer made of a mix of Rich oil (Fragonnard oil) + Burnt umber + Row umber (The proportions change according to the final result. The tone of the color (witch is something like greenish black) will help to break the gold side of the mix. Make sure it dries well. I then take the base mix, and go about doing the highlights and shading just like I would with cloths. I have a tendency to start out with the highlights and go towards the shaded parts. The mix Burnt umber + Row umber is for the darkest parts, and rich gold + a touch of green for the most highlighted parts. Still wet blending I add some spots of brownish green by adding green (for example emerald green) in the base mix. Let it dry once more. I then add the light spots with gold from W&N. If the surface is big I can rework the whole thing with some gold powder added to the base mix. The finest details (drawings, carvings, …) are done with a mix of Burnt umber, and Row umber. After that I can add some silver to the gold for some real shine. Note 1: I keep pot of water and brushes for the exclusive usage of metallic paints due to the everlasting problem of small pigments staying in the brush. Note 2: I never use any gloss. If I want a shinier look, I add some liquin to my base mix 6/ Leather I do leathers in two separate times. I start by applying my colors as I would with normal cloths, with the base coat and then highlight and shade. Used leather is obtained by contrasting excessively the highlighted part and the shaded parts. The small cracks are a superposition of dark lines and light lines (almost white) and without any blending. Once that layer is dry I redo the shadows with glazes, with a mix of Burnt umber + Row umber, and some liquin (witch liquefies and satinates oil paints). This gives me the look of leather that is taken care of. [pagebreak] 7/ Skin tone The following example is for Arulf le germain The main difficulty is finding the right mix of color: you have to find the right base mix (more or less tanned, pinkish, ect… depends on the period the character the place, the story….) and most of all the shade color that have to stay in the same tones as the base mix without breaking the colors, or making it look grayish or yellowish… The highlights usually aren’t a problem it’s the base color+white.. Since I have for habit to work toward the darkest area my base color is pretty light. The highlights are limited to the most prominent areas to show the reflection of the light. The first step, an essential one, is done on the palette. It’s there that the magic of the colors is going to act, when you are going to try different mixes, until you get the desired tones. On my palette I have to be able to go from the lightest highlight to the darkest shades in one smooth wet blend that is pleasing to the eye, that will enable me to apply it directly on the mini without having to search for the perfect color every time. With some experience you can guess the results when you select your paint pots, but you should not be afraid to test out new mixes. For example I have made it a habit not to do the same skin color twice. I don’t have any preset mix, and I don’t take note of the proportion of the colors (Exception made for this article :P ). That way each mini takes a new search for a good skin tone: this allows me to “customize” the color of the skin according to the environment. (Era, sunshine location…) and to be able to be in sync with the story I’m trying to tell. People laugh when I make up a whole scenario based on a mini, but this story guides me through the whole painting process. Now lets consider the technical aspect: To obtain a flat finish, I follow the following steps (whatever the color may be), a real cooking recipe 1.I leave a small amount of the chosen paints on a sheet of toilet paper, to absorb a bit of the oil (I always have a nice pink role of toilet paper on my work table that I use quit a lot :P) 2. I have a throw able paper palette in witch I put the paint next to each other (using a soft painting knife) 3.With the help of the knife I play around with the paint until it’s homogeneous with a nice creamy aspect. (About 10 minutes). I do that for all my colors, and even if their is no mix (witch is pretty rare) The undercoat (citadel white) is essential for a good finish. The undercoat has to be uniform, without fingerprints, and with flat finish (witch is optimum for oil paints). This will allow an easy and optimum undercoat to work on. For the skin tone, I work directly on the white undercoat. (No colored layer in between). I like the luminosity that I get using the transparence of the paint on a whit layer. This time I located my scene in the beginning of autumn, this man from the north has a clear skin witch has turned a bit pinkish due to the sun of the preceding weeks. My choice of color was a Mars brown, without adding any yellow that allowed me to obtain the pink tone of the skin once mixed with white. For the shadows I had to stay in the same tonality of red, so I used some Burnt umber and some Brown madder alizarin. Base 1st shadow 2nd shadow Highlight skin Mars bown +white Mars brown +burnt Umber Burnt Umber + Brown madder alizarin base +white Here is how I went about applying the color to the mini. - With a small flat brush, I applied and stretch the base color (I remind you that with my mix I obtained a nice creamy paste that I don’t dilute) -With a medium round pencil (nº2 or nº4 depending on the surface), I apply -the first shadows (the large areas), and I blend it by taping the tip of the brush. -With a small brush I apply the deep shadows, considerably darker, the blend is achieved with the brush of the previous step. -With a small brush I apply the highlights, the blend with the base coat is made using a normal sized clean brush. All of this is done by using wet blending, witch means it’s done before the paint dries. The details (eyes, eyebrows, lips…) are done with a long and small brush. I never reuse a brush after having cleaned it (the left over essence dilutes the paint during the taping on the mini when I blend) Of course, you should not hesitate to redo some parts of the mini should the end result not please you, like making brighter highlights, or repositioning the shadows. If the mixes have dried on the palettes, I do not dilute it with essence, I just redo a mix, you can try to change the mix a bit to obtain something that will look better on the mini. 8/ Tattoos Still using oil, they are done freehand on the dried skin tone (allow a week to make sure it’s dry) that will allow me to use a long brush soaked with terebenthine essence to smooth out any irregularity and shaking. (I use the same technique to make stripes of different colors). Like all color I then highlight and shade according to the area it’s located in. If need be, I finish by lining the tattoo with the skin color (light on top and dark under)
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Adriano Paoletti's Avatar
      Adriano Paoletti -
      Thanx for the article.
      What thinner do you use for oil?
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