+ inload: Painting pre-Heresy Ultramarines – part I +

+ Meanwhile, back on Calth +

+ The Ultramarines and I go back a long way – I'm sure somewhere along the line I've written down a recipe for how I paint them, but techniques (and paint ranges!) move on. Seized by inspiration for some Ultramarines, I thought I'd note down a stage-by-stage process for a couple of marines. I hope it's useful. +

+ Praetor of Calth: deep blue; yellow banding; personal heraldry +

+ Theoretical +

+ For those of you familiar with my Ultramarines, you'll know that I've tried a couple of different approaches – a deep dark blue and lots of personalisation for my veteran Praetors of Calth, and a mid-tone uniform approach for my 190th Company. They're close enough – not least stylistically – for the two to sit comfortably together on the table, but offer me a bit of variety depending upon what I want to paint. + 

+ Member of 190th Company: Mid blue; gold banding; uniform +
+ The two marines used for the demonstration below are something different again. They're based on Gav Thorpe's Honour to the Dead [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], and as such don't need to stand alongside my other marines. This is a nice chance to try out something new. If it fits with the others, brill; if not, they're an example of the slight variation in uniform within the Legion. +

+ As an example, I've long wanted to try to get some more Rogue Trader stylistic touches into my Marines, and these are a great opportunity. I'm planning to include some Rogue Trader rank markings, to use all-metal backpacks and probably a few other retro-styled bits as they occur to me. Planning is useful, but restricting yourself on these experimental mini-projects is a surefire way to kill your enthusiasm as dead as a dodo. +


+ These were popped up on the new Facebook group for the blog [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] as an experiment in 'live painting'. I spent two hours, and took a pict-capture after every 30 minutes to give more of an idea of my painting style. Please excuse any bits mentioned in the text that are missing from either of the figures. At each stage, at least one of the figures is 'correct', but I wanted to be as honest as possible with the timings. +

+ TerminologyGlazes and washes are two slightly different things:
+ A wash should flow away from raised areas and into recesses – be careful not to let it pool too much, or you'll end up with backruns and odd textural effects. Washes should flow readily on your palette, and once dried, should create the impression of a gradient on your model; from the unaffected underlying hue in the raised areas to deeply shaded areas in the recesses. You typically apply just one or two washes to create the effect. +
+ In contast, a glaze should cover the object evenly, tinting the raised and recessed areas consistently. Glazes are typically thin and should flow, but the consistency can vary – the thinner the glaze, the more subtle the effect. Typically, glazes are built up over time, using many thin layers. The consistency you use should ideally cover the area you want to glaze evenly without obviously obscuring the colour underneath. Once dry, repeat the application and repeat until you achieve the effect you want. +
+ You can make either by thinning regular acrylic paint with water or another medium – the terms refer to the technique, not the material. With that said, different paints react differently: some split, others granulate, and it takes a lot of time and experience to know how to water down and utilise the colours correctly. For this reason, it is sometimes easier (and certainly more predictable) to use some specialist materials. +

+ Inks are perhaps the simplest to understand. If you've ever used inks, you know how they sit on the model and enrich the colour. They can be used as a wash, but they tend to dry unevenly, resulting in glossiness in recesses and patchiness on the surface. They are, however, ideal for glazing straight out of the bottle. +

+ GW produce a range called Shades, which function as ready-made washes – indeed, the previous iteration were called 'Washes'. The carrier (the colourless medium that carries the pigment) for these is not water, but a medium that alters the surface tension and encourages the colour to flow smoothly into recesses. GW also produce a range called Glazes, which function (drumroll please) as glazes. Both are an excellent ranges; I thoroughly recommend them as useful tools. Though not the be-all and end-all, they're great to use as part of your palette. + 


+ Technique: I very much admire the clean, jewel-like qualities that other painters achieve, but stylistically I'm more interested in impression and texture – my inspirations are GW artists like Karl Kopinski, Blanche and Gary Harrod; along with Goya, Degas and the Impressionists. I use a technique that I call 'selective glazing' – it's a quick and dirty effect that results in a rougher, more textural effect than glazing. +

+ The idea is essentially to apply a smooth glaze, but remove it from the areas of highlight – either with a brush, cotton bud or with a clean finger. This 'forces' the highlight and gives a greater contrast, but also introduces a little dirt and unevenness:

+ The result of the selective glazing technique can be seen clearly here. You can see a 'curve' of uneven shadow around the big screws at the front of the shoulders here. It's this slightly ragged, textural effect that I'm after. +
+ Selective glazing is used extensively in the robes here. Since it's the raised surface that is wiped, the recesses remain rich, dark and with heavy tonal contrast. +


+ Practical +

+ Pre-stages: Build your marine, attach to a base and use texture medium to build up some texture – I use coarse and extra coarse pumice gel medium from Golden [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. Note that this is added after the figure is glued to the base. This helps set them in the soil, rather than perched on top of it. Texture medium glues rock hard, so it also helps secure the figure. I've also added some fibrous mesh from my bits box to help create semi-urban terrain interest. Once dry, prime the marine. I've used Halford's grey primer [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]; note this is primer, not spray paint – they have different qualities. +

I_ Paint any metal areas on the figure with watery Abaddon Black; and any metal areas on the base with Solar Macharius Orange straight from the pot. Note how messy I am here. I find it more important to get the recesses of the areas covered than to be neat at this stage. The 'flow' of the work is speedy and energetic and fun.

II_ Use slightly watered-down Mordian Blue to paint the bulk of the armour. Again, I'm not too fussed about being neat; spots of blue pop up on the black areas, and doubtless some areas are missed. If necessary, quickly touch in any mistakes using some of the paint remaining on your palette from the previous stage. overlay the texture gel with Stirland Mud (or just a dark brown like Rhinox Hide).

III_ Water down a little Charadon Granite to the consistency of milk; it should not quite drip if you tip up your palette, but it should definitely start to flow. Use this to paint the soft armour ribbing along with Use acrylic medium to dilute Chainmail – using water can 'split' the paint, causing patchiness – and paint in the metal areas.

IV_ Dilute Liche Purple with acrylic medium and water to create a thin glaze. Working area by area, paint this over blue parts, right into the recesses. While it remains wet, quickly rinse and dry your brush, then use the dry brush to wipe away excess purple glaze from the surface, leaving it in the areas of shadow and deep recesses – this is the selective glazing technique. Next, apply Seraphim Sepia (or better still, slightly dried-up Gryphonne Sepia) to the shoulder pad rims and any other areas you want to be gold. This is painted on neat and as densely as you can get it without dripping. The important thing is not to let it flow off the area, nor to pool too heavily – you want it to dry naturally to create the impression of form. 

V_ Dilute Necron Abyss with medium and water to create a glaze; exactly as for the Liche Purple in step IV. As before, work area by area and wipe the glaze away while it is still wet. Once dry, use GW washes – Nuln Oil – to wash the metal areas and the Charadon granite areas. While that dries, drybrush the base with successively lighter mixes of Calth Brown and Dheneb Stone.

+ That concludes part I – the figures now have their midtones and shading in place; the entire undercoat is covered; and the base is pretty much there. From here, we'll enrich the colours and add the highlights that'll create tonal contrast. With that complete, it's down to details and freehand – but that'll have to wait for another day. +

+ The figures in the cold light of morning, once the paint has dried. +
+ I hope this has been interesting – I'd love to hear your thoughts either here or on Facebook [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. +

1 comment:

  1. I love your painting style, there's a gritty realism to it that you pull off wonderfully with the textures and as I've learned here your selective glazing.

    Thank you for the well written tutorial, it's a nice window into your creative process.


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