Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alice Tutorial... Part 2: Alice...

OK so part 1 was all about the base.. best not to go back into that.

Part 2 is all about painting the miniatures on the base. Fancy that logic eh? Starting up with Alice here and trying to explain the thought process behind her painting.

First things first.. the biggest thing I had to decide with this mode was how was I going to paint it? What colors schemes were right for this piece. Well going back to my inspiration photo, I knew the traditional colors were more likely to play out here. But since she is steampunkish, I had to figure out how to capture that as well.

For this, we go back to the web and look for inspiration..

Are we inspired yet? I kinda am :) This photo gave me a good idea on how Steampunk'd girls would dress ( kinda like the Alice model ) and what colors to use. I had thought of tossing out the traditional colors for this mode muted greys etc.. but opted not to in the end. It would fade too much into the base colors made up.. but i would pull pieces of it, like the stockings and boots, into the model itself. Why not try some freehand painting on a model that is about half the size of my regular pieces and twice as detailed! Sure.. why not..

I would also try to make the hair brighter, not white like this model's hair, but more yellowish. Again trying new things with it.

Here you can see that I tackled the largest section of the model first. Not the face, nor painted inside out, but from the dress. I really wanted to make that part work the most as I knew it would be where many would see first ( and was trying to ) in comparison to the face.

As you can see in the first photo that I was going up to white with it, but on the back it is a lot darker. Again this was intentional as I was trying to make the front be where the light source was coming from.

The biggest issue I had here though was that I was making the contrast too much too quickly. And since this is supposed to be fabric, it was coming out more like NMM Power armor on a little girl. Not the best style for a dress, but upside.. I now potentially can paint power armor in NMM style! Woot woot!

Colors used so far were pretty simple. Base coat of Vallejo Model Color Prussian Blue, with VMC Dark Sea Blue and Black for the shadows, and White added to the Blue for highlights. Pretty simple right? 

Next you can see the rough blending happening on the dress better, and how I tried to do a stripe pattern on her apron at the same time. This apron was a complete fail, and would be redone in the end. But it gave me hints on how I would tackle the arms and stockings though because of it. Also it was from these photos that the Brushbrothers group would point out better on where I needed to smooth out my blending. Pointing me back to places such as Massive Voodoo, and their art book ( still available from PK-PRO I hear ;) ). And showing me other examples from their own work or others on Putty&Paint. Never underestimate the power of reference photos. Something that I have not done until just recently!

So with these fresh comments, and a renewed vigor I jumped back at this model. Which is surprising as in the past this would probably have just left the model to the wayside to collect dust and sit in something called a WIP cabinet until it is completely forgotten. But not this time due to the community behind me pushing me to finish this.

Thing is I still was afraid of how to fix the dress as you can see above, so I began to look at the other pieces of the model and sketch them out a bit further. In this case, the skin, boots, leggings, and hair. The apron was still being discussed as to which direction to take. Could I lighten it up and fix it as is? I tried by adding some brown into the colors.. but this just took it in the opposite direction I was hoping it could go. Go figure..

Skin tone was an interesting mix, but the thing I focused on the most was the facial triangle. Something that I picked up in the many classes ( Both Steffen's and Romans's ) in that it is where the light sits the most on a face. So that was what I would focus on also.

This was extremely difficult for me as it was during a heat wave in Turkey, and paint was literally drying before getting from the wet palette to the model. So I was forced to thin my paint even more than usual to get less than desirable results. Then I began to shade it, and I aged poor Alice by about 50 yrs! Argh! So much frustration at this point, and people like Nathelis pointing out my flaws here was not always the most helpful, even if he was correct in MOST of what he was saying :) He does know a few things about painting female faces though, but his table side manner could use some work ;) ( Heck, even while writing this article, I am speaking to him and his comments are that it is not bad, just not as it should be for the face. :) Such a nice guy he is.. ).

For the skin on Alice, I tried a few things, but in the end went with an easy recipe ( at least for me! ) GW Cadian Fleshtone, with Ogryn Wash, and white added for highlights. Super simple here. I tried to add some VMC Burnt Cadmium Red to the cheeks and lips to give it some color, and the Prussian Blue came back out for the eyeliner and eyes. Speaking of eyes, I added some of the flesh tone to white in order to not make them stand out too much, before washing it with diluted black paint to cover the recesses. 

Everything at this point was basically a blue though.. I took all the comments and theories from everyone and everywhere and threw them into the model.

Biggest changes you can see here is the apron obviously. It is now a stark white. It would get a bit more shadows added to it in the future before being called done. The dress was smoothed out a lot. And I mean a LOT! This was done by basically taking the original blue, watering it fully down, and glazing it over and over again. Then adding a bit of white, over and over again. I probably did a 100 layers there with glazing. Letting it dry, and then doing it again. So boring, but damn if the end result is not exactly how I envisioned it to be!

This really pushed me to rework the face again and smooth out the transitions there. And lighten it up more also. Trying to add some shadows into the eyes, and around them as well without aging her too much. I think I brought her age down considerably at this point though.

Other pieces that can be seen are the metal works. I did not want to age them either, and I wanted them to be a bit brighter but not in color but in shininess. So although I had washed it with black and brown, and it became quite matte, I did some spot touch ups with gloss and satin varnish to make the shiny sections more shiny, and leaving the shadows matte. I might play around with this more in the future also as it had a really interesting effect on the metallic sections.

For the metallic sections, I just pulled out a random from the GW stock here at home, and used it. Cannot remember which one I used now :) But it was washed with Devlen Mud, Nuln Oil, and then redotted with the original metal colors to bring it back up a bit in shine. 

Same with the caterpillar on her hand. I wanted it to pull a bit of focus since it is what Alice is focusing on. So lime, florescent green was an obvious choice right? :) Can't remember the colors, but I do know that I used the new GW Green and Yellow glazes in the end to make it more powerful in its color.

Only pieces left were of course the small details like the lens on her goggles, and touching up pieces here and there. When placed on the base, I think I achieved the different coloring in blue, though many have commented that it is too much blue for the base. She does stand out a bit more due to it thankfully, and am happy with this direction.

So that was Alice.. and looking at the length of this article.. I will do a separate one for the rabbit.. though it will be considerably shorter.

Again, don't forget that this is up on a contest right now.. against Nathelis's entry of the Fairy Queen.. but in order to vote you need to be a member of Brushbrothers forums ( which contest aside I would highly recommend anyways )..

Now to write up about the rabbit.. yay... hope you enjoyed this though, and let me know in the comments if I should try to do this more often or not..


  1. It's very instructive for me when you do these and I know it's extra work for you so I appreciate it. I was wondering how you got the dress smoothed out and got those nice highlights. The secret was in your willingness to be patient and glaze and glaze and glaze till you'd got what you wanted. I've learned from knowing that. In order to achieve the effect, I need to do many more very thin glazes.

    You are at the level where critiques from pro's are a big benefit to you. I'm many years away from that stage.

    Looking forward to the rabbit!

    1. Thanks for the detailed comments Anne. Very much appreciated! Makes me wanting to make more of these articles in the future then :)

      And I do not know if that is fully correct, but it is a great compliment to hear things from others about my painting level now :) I have come a long way, and I have a post in the future about my progress, why it is what it is, and whom I owe it to. Though for the regular readers I think it will be obvious but for others maybe not so much :)

      Thanks again!

  2. Good tutorial as Simon said and the inspiration too!

    1. Cheers for that Fran. Will try to make more in the future!


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