Friday, January 13, 2012

Pushing the shadows

Behold my painting progress.
The Greylords (all of them, not just the Ternion) are turning out to be a new technique/approach playground.  I'm reluctant to try new things on the scions of the Motherland as I feel like I've established a look in the pieces I've already painted and don't want new additions to look out of place.  Since the Greylords are a sort of subculture in the army they seem like a good place to experiment a bit as it won't matter if they don't look 100% like the rest of the army since they stand a bit apart.  One of these new techniques, the glowing eyes, I talked about last time.  There's another new approach though, one you sharp-eyed readers might have already discerned, on that addresses one of the problems I've spotted in my painting: "pushing the shadows."

Is this improvement?  Still looks too dark to me.
I read that phrase on one of the blogs I strolled through this past week, the name of which is beyond me now.  For some reason that phrase struck me, so when I picked up the brush today I decided to give it a shot.  Highlighting is something I get, and I think I'm reasonably good at it, but shading doesn't work quite so well.  Mostly the problem is I don't go dark enough, so today I pushed past my usual stopping point.  Not only that, but I took a new approach as well.  Normally I layer up from my shade (which is often my base color and a wash), but today I painted the whole area in the base color, then shaded the appropriate areas.  I like the results, but the process made me a little uneasy.  This approach is the way forward though, so hopefully repetition will make me more comfortable with the process.  There's no doubt that this method is quicker than my usual.  I got the cloaks done, along with the skin, in the time that it probably would have taken to do half the cloaks otherwise.  The shadows still look darker than they should be, but when I look at a real world example (like my sleeve) I see that the recesses get real dark real quick.  This group should look striking on the tabletop at the very least.

The range of shade and highlight looks better here.
Did you think that was all the new I had on offer?  Turns out there's more.  I had decided that the inside of the cloak would be red, and since the inside should be darker I decided to try a new approach to red as well.  My big complaint with how I paint red is that I lean too much on Blood Red.  Easily 75% of any red area ends up being Blood Red, whereas I'd like to use it as a final highlight.  That in mind, I put my dream approach into action.  I started with Scab Red and did all the red areas even though I wasn't planning on doing the tabards or armor plates (which will end up the usual bright bright red).  Next I shaded the inside of the cloak...with green.  I've heard about this technique all over but never tried it out because it seems crazy.  I hedged my bets a bit by mixing Dark Angels Green into the pool of Scab Red I had on my palette, the result of which was a nasty looking purplish brown.  It looked good on the first mini I tried it on, so I went along and it turned out good enough.  After that I did all the non-shaded areas in Red Gore, then highlighted with Red Gore/Blood Red before a final highlight of just Blood Red.  The result was a darker red with more pop than my usual reds, thanks in no small part to using the whole range of reds instead of relying on the brightest one to do most of the work.  Next time I paint a red army, this is the approach I'm taking.

As usual the picture looks better than reality.
While I was very pleased with the results of my afternoon's work, it wasn't all roses.  All the Greylords except the Ternion grunts have a design on the back of their cloak.  I didn't pay a lot of attention to the designs while painting the cloaks as I figured that a wash would work its usual magic and bring the design to life.  The reality is somewhat less than hoped for.  Initially I tried Gryphonne Sepia, but the first model didn't look so good so I brought out the big guns: Devlan Mud.  The wash did pick out the design, but not as well as I'd hoped.  I'll take another look at it when I get my next painting session in and see how it is then.  I'm already contemplating the nuclear option (Badab Black).  Also disappointing were the greys I ordered.  I was expecting a fairly steady progression from black to white, but instead there are perhaps three at the white end, one at 1:3 black to white, and another at 3:2.  It probably doesn't help that the greys are split between a blue base and a black base.  I knew that going in, even counted on it for future use while painting Legion stuff, but it was disappointing all the same.  I can't really complain about the results though, so there's that.

In completely unrelated news, those new Vampire Counts models look real nice.  So nice that I've been wondering how far I could stretch Mantic stuff to make a not-entirely-unreasonably-priced army.  Then I remember that I already have an Empire army, most of which is unassembled, to say nothing of all the Warmahordes and 40k that I have to paint...


  1. Yeah, those new Counts are pretty sweet looking, but if you get anything, make it a force you'll actually use. Better yet, at least slap together your Empire stuff, and then play a game of WHFB to find out if you even like the system. I can cut my Skaven down to 1,000 points so we can try a "demo" game that allows you to get the feel of the system without being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff running around the board.

    Just a thought...

  2. It's a case of new shinies mostly. Ethereal cavalry, ghostly traveling harem, vampire heavy cavalry, it all sounds so nice. Then I think about how many models go into any given WFB army, the fact that I have none for this faction, and how much it would cost in time and dollars to get into a new system. The best hope for WFB is whenever the new Empire book comes out. Then I can be amazed by the new combo steam tank/war altar kit, new knightly orders box, and also know that I already have a very solid core, if not a whole army, sitting in a box. Vampire Counts are just an exercise in window shopping.