+ inload: Painting Blood Angels +

+ Red +

+ The dread colour red. I've always found it a bugger to paint. The human eye's very sensitive to red (hence why it's so effective and eye-catching), so any slight mistake or variance in tone is immediately obvious. Couple that with red paints often having poor coverage (owing to cheap pigments) or very expensive, and you end with double trouble. +

+ Of course, practising, making mistakes, evaluating them and fixing them, is how we get better – and it wouldn't be much of a retro Blood Angels army if I avoided red, would it? +

+ The following recipe's as much an aide memoir to myself as advice – I'm certainly no authority on painting red. +


+ Practical: Painting retro Blood Angels Red +

_1 Prime using Halford's red primer. Good coverage with this warm primer will help to disguise any later mishaps – having small gaps here and there will reveal red areas, which will take fewer layers to cover – important for a clean finish.

_2 I toyed with the idea of a zenithal spray (i.e. spraying just from certain angles), but in the end decided to go for as even a finish as I could get. I used GW's Mephiston Red spray; a first for me. Because mistakes are so obvious in red, I wanted to get as even and consistent a red as possible, and one as close to the paint colour I would be using. The difference between the priming and basecoat here is not immediately obvious in the pictures, but is clearer to see in person.

_3 Once dry, paint the base using Rhinox Hide. I do this early on for two reasons. Firstly, to provide some contrast, and secondly, if I accidentally get some paint on the feet, it's easier to clean up as we come to paint the armour. Once the base is dry, wash the recesses of the armour (note, not the whole model, just the recesses) with Gryphonne/Seraphim Sepia, allow to dry, then pick out the metal/black areas with Chaos/Abaddon black.

_4 Mix Mephiston Red and Vermillion (Vallejo model colours) and repaint the red areas. In addition to strengthening the colours, it adds a layer over the base coat and alters the texture, making sure everything's consistent. This mix is slightly orange – in the past, my reds have always been quite cold and blue-tinted, so I wanted to try a yellow-tinted red here.

_5 Initial highlights start to go on now, with the addition of Flash Gitz Yellow to the mix (a mistake; I should have used a warmer yellow like Golden Yellow). These are built up slowly, paying attention to the direction of the light. The image here shows the early stages; and they're not particularly visible. The marine's right gauntlet shows it most clearly, but you'll get a better idea if you skip ahead ot the next stage, where the highlights are more obvious.

_6 With the highlights in place, I decided to use a glaze to blend things together. I'd usually use an ink (Winsor & Newton inks are good), but in the spirit of experiementation – and a desire to avoid a glossy finish in the recesses – I used GW's Bloodletter Glaze. A glaze will soften transitions, but the depth it gives to the red makes it well worth it.

_7 With the glaze completely dry, it's time to turn up the contrast. Because we want to keep the impression red, we can't over-emphasise the highlights, or it'll risk turning the impression orange. Instead, we concentrate on the shadows. Building the tone up here increases the contrast and further emphasises the red. I used a watery mix of Liche Purple, sepia ink and flow enhancer to get a rich tone, then built up the shading with both washes; in deep recesses and areas of strong texture like the soft undersuit, and glazes; in large rounded areas, like the insides of the legs and on the knees. 

This essentially completes the basic red armour. If necessary, you can reinstate highlights or further develop the shadows until you achieve the correct tonal balance. Remember, what's 'correct' is what looks right to you. If you're unsure, put the figure down, walk away for a few minutes and come back to it later, with fresh eyes.


+ Other bits +

+ The hour was getting late (I found painting red very time-consuming), so didn't want to go much further. I did spend a few minutes painting Sergeant Raphael's face, though. It's still a bit wet here, but that was the only vaguely in-focus shot I got:

+ The usual skintones I use for my models are intended to make the figure look like he or she belongs in a world of horror and terror, but I wanted to get the Blood Angel looking a bit heartier and healthier to get their angelic appearance across. +

+ The challenge here, then, is getting that fresh-faced look without completely removing the sense of place and peril. Usually, I add blues or greys to the mix for stubble and bags under the eyes, but the skin here is almost entirely done with yellow, red and white. There's a little purple glazing added in the eye sockets, but that's the extent of it. +

+ The hair was done with tiny textural marks, built up from a yellow-brown base to a creamy light tone. When painting blonds, try to avoid using pure yellow – it looks very artificial. Instead, think of the colour as very light brown; the yellow tint is almost irrelevant. +

1 comment:

slovak said...

Very useful encapsulation, thank you. I like the purple shadows very much, kind of bruised looking.