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In a previous post I discussed the preparation and planning that went into painting Reaper’s promotional dungeon delving adventurer party, and I shared pictures of the group. In this post I want to share my process for painting the human rogue figure, as well as the colours I used to paint her. Over the next few weeks I will share articles for each of the characters in the party, and finish up with a look at some of the factors that go into painting source lighting effects, like the torch on this figure. Articles for the halfling fighter, dwarf cleric, and elf wizard are also available.
Human Rogue Process
I decided to paint the human rogue first to ease into the process. She is carrying one of the in scene light sources. I thought that once I figured out the value ranges and degree of emphasis on the lighting on the rogue, it would be easier to determine those on the rest of the figures. Inspired by a classic character, I also had a pretty good idea of the colour scheme I wanted to use for her. (You can read the previous article for a discussion of why it would have been a good idea for me to figure out all the main colours before I began to paint.)
Overall the painting process for this figure went pretty smoothly. She has a nice open pose, so there aren’t places that are tricky to reach. The thing I found most challenging was painting the flame of the torch. I find painting flames that I think look good difficult! I initially painted it too dark. The value range of fire can be darker than you might think, from white where the fire burns hottest, to dark red or even dark brown where the tips of the flames are furtherest from the heart of the fire. However, to evoke the impression that the light source is emitting light, you want to make sure you have a good amount of white and yellow showing. Here’s a comparison of my initial attempt and the final version.
People often talk about contrast as just a need to go darker in shadows and lighter on highlights, and that is certainly something that most of us struggle with. Part of the reason we struggle is that there can be a bit more nuance to it than that. Simulating materials and creating visual interest requires considering where to place the lighter and darker values, and in what proportion to one another. I used the exact same paints and value range on both these versions of the torches. One looks hotter because there is a lot more white and light yellow at the base of the flame and in the bottom half of the flame overall.
Human Rogue WIP Photos
I explained how I used primer to create a roadmap for the lighting in the overall process post. I took photos of the primed figures individually and as a group so I could use them as a lighting reference if I painted over an area but then later needed to check my lighting placement. I took pictures from numerous angles, I’m just showing a few of them here. When it comes to reference photos, it’s better to take too many than too few!
This priming technique provides an excellent overall feeling for the location of light and shadow. However, it does not take into account the way different textures and materials appear, and how they react to light – matte cloth versus somewhat shiny leather versus reflective metal. To best evoke the qualities of those materials requires the painter to use the primer (or lighting reference photos) as a guide, but to then extrapolate and tweak value ranges and value placement to match various types of materials. For example, if you compare the areas I painted as metal on the figures to the photos of the primer stage, you’ll see a number of differences in where the lightest and darkest colours are placed because I was trying to simulate the reflective appearance of metal.
Human Rogue Paint Colours
There are a few colours, like the non-metallic metals, that were used over all of the figures. You’ll find information about them in the overall painting process article.
Swatches of some of the layer step colours for areas on the rogue. From top to bottom: shirt, hair, boots, pants, and skin. I didn’t paint the areas in that order, however.
Rogue skin colours:
Rogue shirt colours:
Rogue pants colours:
Rogue hair colours:
Rogue boots and leather accessories colours:
Rogue flame colours:
How to Get this Figure
The adventure party figures and a dungeon dwelling goblin are teasers for Reaper’s Bones 6 Kickstarter: Tales from the Green Griffin, which is happening right now! A random selection of one of the five figures is still being added to most Reaper Miniatures orders. One of the five was included in the swag bags for AdeptiCon, and there may be other giveaway opportunities where you can obtain one or more of these figures. If you are interested in these figures but are not able to receive a free one, or you’d like to ensure you get all of them, they are included in the Kickstarter core pledge level. I expect that they will go into retail sales channels at some point after the Kickstarter pledges have been fulfilled, but it will be several years until that happens.