+ inload: Painting faces +

+ I really enjoy painting faces. There's nothing quite so expressive, and it's a great way to get a particular feeling across. 

+ I thought I'd put together a look at a head being painted. However, one thing I do want to point out is that this is just an example. Everyone looks different; and that means you need to paint each model individually. Any and all of the colours used here can be substituted, it's the general advice that's important. +


+ I've used a Games Workshop standard size brush for all of this. The brush size, type and price is largely irrelevant to me (as I've written about elsewhere), as long as it comes to a good point. I wanted to demonstrate that a GW brush is perfectly fine.

+ 1: Prime the model. I've used Halford's grey primer (and painted some of the rest; sorry, though I'd use this model as an opportunity to do the face, rather than build one specifically):

+ 2: Add some acrylic medium (I use Daler Rowney's flow extender, but lahmian medium would do) to a underskin mix (I used Orkhide Shade and Liche Purple, but any dark mix will do) and paint the head. 

+ 3: Add a little Blood Red to Golden Yellow. While the previous layer is still a bit wet (hence the medium), paint the head, working down from the top. The orange colour will bleed into the purply-green and give a nice deep colour (this mix is great for African skintones, incidentally). Let the paint run out on the brush once you've painted the cheeks and nose, so the bottom of the head is a bit darker. 

+ 4: Add Mordian Blue to one side of the mix on the palette, and use this to paint the stubble area. Ideally, look in a mirror, or find a stubbly friend for reference on placement. If you're really stuck for reference, paint the whole jaw, the area under the nose, over the ears and down the side of the jaw; but leave the area directly below the cheeks clean.

 + 5: Add a little golden yellow and plenty of white to the remaining 'main mix' (i.e. the bit you haven't put blue in). Use this to paint the head again, working from top to bottom, and again letting the paint run out as you get towards the lower part of the face. Use the paint with a damp brush so it has good flow. This is the basecoat.

+ 6: Add a touch of Mordian Blue to one side of the mix on your palette and re-establish the stubble area wet in wet. Add a tiny touch of Blood Red to the other side and use this mix to paint the cheeks, tip and nostrils of the nose and the lower lip. Do not paint the sides of the mouth or upper lip.

+ Here's a pic of my palette at this point. It's a hot night, so the paint has dried up, but I usually like to keep this all fluid so I can dip in to different areas all the way through the process:

+ 7: Add some more white and Golden Yellow to the main mix and highlight the forehead, brows (leaving some dark areas as shown), ears, top of the nose, and two touches below the lip, either side of a central bit of stubble that touches the lip.

+ 8: Make a dark mix of Orkhide Shade, Liche Purple, Blood Red and Necron Abyss. Do not use black as this will 'kill' the colour – you want an organic dark. Use it to paint the eye sockets and mouth.

+ 9: Once completely dry, pick up a touch of Devlan Mud on your brush and use it like a pin wash; adding specific points of darkness at critical spots to draw the eye: the brows, the mouth, the eyes, below the nose and in the ears. Allow to dry completely before continuing.

+ 10: Argh the eyes! :D 
Make a pale cream mix by adding a little Golden Yellow to Vallejo White, and dot in the eyes. Don't worry too much about going over the lower lids at this point, but keep the upper eyelids clean.

+ 11: Using the dark mix (Orkhide Shade, Liche Purple, Blood Red and Necron Abyss), paint the pupils of the eyes. You can dot this if you're careful, but it's easier to use a single downwards stroke from the top of the eye to the bottom. Next, paint the lower eyelid in (you can cover up the bottom of the pupil here if you went too far) with the same mix. Add a little of the dark mix to the base mix (a little Orkhide Shade, Liche Purple along with a touch of Blood Red, more Golden Yellow and plenty of Vallejo White) and pick out the lower lids. This gives little blue-based bags under the eyes; very fitting for a combat soldier.

Tip: If the paint has dried at this point, mix White with a little Golden Yellow and tiny (tiny!) touches of both Blood Red and Mordian Blue for a good approximation. You can use this mix for touching up stubble, too.

+ 12: The face tends to tan differently to the skin on the rest of the head, so add more white and a little Golden Yellow to the mix. Use this to paint the sides of the head, the bridge of the nose; to highlight the brow and draw some worry lines across the head. The point of bits like this is to add some freehand texture, rather than relying on the sculpted detail. (I added a little Blood Red to the mix and painted the ear at this point, making it a bit pink to show he's in a cold environment.)

+13: You can stop at this point, but if you want an older, weatherbeaten look, you can accentuate the lines a little by applying tiny touches of the mix on your palette. A touch of very dilute purple or red washed over the eyes can give a subtly bloodshot look, and more Devlan Mud applied with the tip of the brush here and there can help give a dirty appearance. The key to this weathering and characterisation is to be subtle. Don't go over the top. If you change your mind, quickly rinse your brush and wet the area. You can generally brush away these later marks as long as the paint remains wet.

+14: Finished! 

1 comment:

LW said...

Wow - I thought you had lost the plot at step 5 (it was looking awesome even at step 4 and then you covered it over!) but then magic happens - Wow.

Cracking stuff mate - I've been lurking for a while, and felt this post was the one to enter the fray and say I like what I'm seeing mate - cheers for sharing.