+ inload: Painting ork skin +

+ Green iz best +

+ This technique should work well on orkoid/goblinoid skin, or anything that requires a similar scheme. You might wish to use lighter-tones for gretchin, goblins and the like; and darker tones for older or bigger orks/orcs. For this example, I'm demonstrating on a model I'm using in an army for my Alien Wars project, so other bits of him are painted; you can ignore these. +

+ I've posted before that I really enjoy painting skin. I think it's one of the most rewarding parts of painting a model, and deserves a bit of extra care and attention. This applies as much to orks (or any other species) as it does to humans. There's a lot of variety in human skintones, as mentioned in an earlier inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]

'I like to add diversity to my skintones – they're hugely variable even in an individual: quite aside from big differences such as ethnicity, conditions such as sunburn, sickness or even being out of breath can change people's skin colour quite dramatically. Adding touches of blue to the skin mix for stubble and bags under the eyes, touches of scab red to the mix for lips, cheeks and fresh scars, or a dilute wash of Olive Green for feeling poorly can make the difference between a cool-looking model and a believable individual.'
+... and I think that doing a similar thing for orks is a good way to add a little more realism to your work. +

+ Greenskins are interesting from a colour theory point of view, as green and red are very similar tonally; and as a result, we can use similar techniques – and even colours – as we would use for humans to paint them. This also allows us to create varied 'ethnicities' for orks. In a similar way to human skintones all drawing from various proportions of red, yellow, white and brown; all ork skintones can be made from blue, yellow, white and brown. Swapping the red for blue naturally creates green mixes when combined with yellow. With that said, just as I use hints of blue when painting humans (to mute the orange mix of yellow and red for eye bags, shading etc.), I also use hints of red when painting orks for precisely the same reasons: red is the complementary of green, so it mutes the colour and makes useful mixes for shading. +

+ A lot has been made of orks being fungus-based, but I prefer to think of them as basically red-blooded animals (as in the Waaagh! the Orks background), which have a green tinge as a result of a symbiotic fungus; as opposed to literally being mushroom-beings. As a result,I use reds and purples to show thinner parts of the skin, and keep the greens I use relatively muted. Just as humans appear browny-yellowy-pink rather than literally black or white; I see orks as basically having an extremely olive green-tinged human skintone. This also leaves a lot of space open for natural variance, which adds to the naturalism. +

+ Preparation and priming +

+ Clean and assemble your model/s and stick it/them to a base. Undercoat the models with a light undercoat of grey. I use Halford's car primer. An undercoat should cover every part and recess of the model evenly and lightly, obscuring no detail. +

+ Painting +

+ I_ Apply a dark-toned basecoat. I've used a mix of Doombull Brown and Incubi Darkness for this example. Ultimately, however, the basecoat doesn't really matter too much as long as it's dark.

+ II_ Once the basecoat has dried, add some Death World Forest and Averland Sunset to the mix on your palette to create a midtone. Apply this over all the skin except the recesses. +

+ III_ Mix a little Screamer Pink (or similar red hue) into the skin mix on your palette, then paint the nostrils, lower lip, inner ears, fingernails and elbows – essentially anywhere the would have blood near the surface. If you can do this while the paint on the model is still wet, all the better. +

+ IV_ Add some flow enhancer medium to a fresh version of the midtone mix (Death World Forest and Averland Sunset) and establish your initial highlights. Note that the colour will be lighter-toned than in step II, as it is not mixed with the paints from your initial deep tone. When placing the highlights, start to create a sense of form. Highlight areas like the bridge of the nose, brow ridge, chin and so forth; while avoiding the recessed areas under the cheeks, in the inside of the elbows and between  fingers. +

+ V_ Punch up the impact with finer highlights. Add Flash Gitz Yellow and Vallejo White to the midtone mix and apply this sparingly; concentrating on the face, and applying it sparingly elsewhere. +

+ VI_ The yellowish tint may well look unnaturally vibrant, so you can knock it back with a purple wash of Druchii Violet (or a glaze of purple).  You'll note I've painted in the teeth and eyes at this point, too. This is a good stage to do it, as the light-toned teeth give a good anchorpoint for getting the balance of tones right later. +

+ VII_ Once the wash has dried, apply sparing touches of Elysian Green as final highlights. +

+ The result +


  1. Nice description of your technique there - I'll have to try it myself sometime. Thanks!

  2. Thanks – hope it proves useful.


+ submission exloadform +