Friday, February 17, 2017

+ inload: Glazing +

+ Painting theory and practice: Glazing +


+ Not an immediately arresting stage, but one that I often gloss over is the way I approach the yellow markings on my Iron Warriors: a warming glaze of red-brown. It's a very – very – quick stage; I think all thirteen were completed in less than two minutes, but it's one that vastly improves the look of things. Why? well, that's what we'll look at in today's inload. +

+ Compare the before and after pictures below:


Before
+ The underlying paint in the base layer of the 'Before' picture is a fairly neutral yellow, made up of Averland Sunset with thinned Flash Gitz Yellow*  added over the top. It appears flat – that is, there's no sense of highlighting or shade – and has ragged edges near the rim. +

After
+ In contrast, the resulting hue is 'warmer', and less flat: there is a sense of curvature created by variation in tone (the relative lightness or darkness). In painting terms, this latter effect is called modelling – rather confusingly for miniature painters! +

+ Practical +

+ The effect is achieved with a technique called glazing. This is simply painting a layer of very thin paint over a dry area. The thin paint lets some of the underlying colour (i.e. the basecoat) show through. While the glaze remains wet, I rinse and dry my brush, then use it to 'lift off' or wipe away some of the wet glazing colour from areas I want to be highlighted, and leave it in places where it should be in shade. +

+ This results in a smooth transition of tones on the area, from light yellow highlights where the glaze has been entirely removed, to warmer darker-toned shades, where the glaze almost obscures the underlying colour. +

+ Note also that a glaze will help to tidy an area: In the example above, the ragged edges near the trim are covered, and the overall effect is smoother. Now, I want a slightly battered effect to my troops (as this add visual detail and interest) so I haven't taken this further, but if you're interested in a clean, smooth result, then repeated glazing is a skill well worth developing. +


+ Theoretical +

+ I don't want to dwell too much on the practical aspect of glazing – there are far better painters than me who can show the technique more clearly – but I would like to explain why I use the colour I have here. On the face of it, red-brown (I use GW's Dark Flesh or Doombull Brown paints) seems an odd choice for shading yellow. Why didn't I use a dark yellow? +

+ The reason for this is to create a warming effect to balance the palette – which all sounds a bit pretentious and complicated, but is fundamentally very simple. Your model should look attractive. Even if it's a hideous monster, you want it to be pleasing – or at least interesting – to the eye, as this encourages people to spend some time looking at the figure. +

+ Physics and human biology inform aesthetics: red things appear closer to you and blue things further away – an effect called 'aerial perspective', caused by (amongst other things) the refraction of light [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. For this reason, the eye will naturally go towards warmer, redder things first – they're more likely to affect us physically than distant blue mountains. So, if we include some warm parts on a model, the eye will go to them. +


Part of the reason you look at the yellow bits first is because they're a warm tone.
+ Why not paint everything red, then? Well, just as the yellow area in the 'Before' shot above was boring because it was flat, we're also attracted to variation. This can come in tonal contrast by having some light-toned areas and some dark-toned areas); in detail through structural form (posture or components used) or freehand painting/use of transfers etc.; or in hue by using different colours. A model without contrast is a bit dull.  This is why we talk about choosing a palette. +


Two Blood Angels: I painted Brother Engel (above), from the Space Marine Strike Force set, about [Yikes] years ago – he's a great demonstration of a flat, boring red. Contrast him with the more recent Brother Catabin below, the red armour of which show contrasts in hue, tone and temperature achieved through blending and glazing. 



+ Choosing a palette is a huge concept, which I could witter on about for many inloads (consider yourself warned!), but the relevant part here is variation in colour temperature, part of hue. You will have heard people talking about cool and warm colours, and this is artistic shorthand for the colour temperature. It is important to realise that any colour can be cool or warm – it's not the case that blues are inherently cold or reds inherently warm. Paints, however, are mixed to have a specific hue, and can be labelled as warm, cold or neutral. Flash Gitz Yellow, for example, is a colder yellow than the warmer Yriel Yellow. Note that it's also relative; while Yriel Yellow is warmer than Flash Gitz Yellow, in a larger palette it's relatively balanced, or neutral. A good palette will usually include a few warmer and a few colder-hued paints to give the ability to create interesting, eye-catching contrasts. +

+ Defeating the neutral threat +

+ To summarise, contrast is a good thing to aim for in painting; you usually want to avoid a model being too similar in tone, too similar in hue, and too similar in temperature. Sometimes, this can be a challenge – perhaps the paint scheme or structure of the model demands a single overall colour. How do we build in contrast without sacrificing the overall appearance? +


The silver paints I use for the Iron Warriors are inherently neutral in temperature, as is Abaddon Black (the secondary colour); so the overall palette is neutral – a bit boring. To combat this, I use pin washes (that is, tiny touches that target small areas) of Leviathan Purple, Thraka Green, sepia ink and so forth to introduce the subtle suggestion of warm and cool areas and break up the overall effect. +

+ Glazing is the other answer. As seen above, it alters the tone – creating a transition from light to dark, and can also be used to alter the hue. In the example of my Iron Warriors, it warms parts of the yellow areas, creating a transition from cooler to warmer hues. +

+ Returning to my earlier rhetorical question – 'Why didn't I use a dark yellow?' – it's for this latter reason. Using a darker yellow to glaze would only alter the tone, leaving the temperature flat. Using red-brown to glaze alters both the tone and the hue, creating more of that all-important eye-catching interest. +


Had I wanted to give a cooler effect, I might have used a green-blue to glaze the yellow – but as discussed, cooler hues tend to be less eye-catching. With an already neutral – inherently rather boring – colour scheme, my Iron Warriors need all the help they can get. +

+ How do you decide? Well, fundamentally, the colour palette you choose is up to you, and will involve lots of interlinked decisions. By basing these decisions on some colour theory knowledge, you'll be able to make them consciously rather than instinctively, and hopefully be able to 'zing up' any palette that you aren't happy with, for whatever reason. With that said, don't discard your instincts – all the theoretical in the world won't stand up to the practical effect of a finished model that by all accounts shouldn't work, but somehow does: your models are yours – don't let anyone tell you how to paint them. +


*[APPENDNOTE:] I usually use Golden Yellow (or its modern equivalent in teh GW range Yriel Yellow) for these parts of my Iron Warriors – apologies for the inconsistency with the scheme as described in this inload. [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]*

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