Quick Tips: Eyes, Triadic Colour Scheme, Cloth Patterns

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Painting the Asandris Nightbloom figure sculpted by Bob Ridolfi appealed to me because she is a great representation of a low to mid level character, the type of character I’ve played most often in role-playing games! Asandris is available as one of the free bonus selections with $40 US (or equivalent) purchase from the Reaper site, or you can purchase her directly. I’m going to share a few work-in-progress pictures and some tips that would be useful to painting her or many other figures.

July blue front2 600Other views of the finished paint job are found at the end of this article.

The Base

I used a mixture of materials to make the base. I have some base texture press moulds, like those produced by Basius. When I have left over epoxy putty, I use it in a press mould. I cut off some of the integral base of the miniature with a pair of flush cutting shears and glued the remainder to the plastic base. I glueed pieces of cobblestone texture from a press mould around it. Then I applied superglue and dipped the base into a mixed-size gravel mixture. I built up a few areas with additional applications of glue and gravel. To add a little more variation, I applied some fine sand texture paste in a few spots. I over-did the glue and gravel stage a bit for my original intention of having it look like an overgrown road, but at least it looks like a nice mix of earth and rock textures.

July metal baseThe grey parts are the epoxy putty cobblestone pieces, brown is the gravel, and white is the fine sand texture paste.

Colour Scheme

I decided a simple, classic colour scheme would be a good fit for a simple, classic character archetype like this. I chose to use the red-blue-yellow primary triad. Any decent colour wheel should generate triadic colour schemes. One of the challenges with getting familiar with colour schemes and using a colour wheel is that they generally refer to very bold saturated colours – cherry red, royal blue, sun yellow, would be examples of a red-blue-yellow triad scheme with saturated colours. But bright colours like those didn’t really fit my vision for the character. When a colour wheel/scheme talks about a colour like ‘red’, it means the entire family of red – brick, blush pink, terracotta, red-brown, all of those would be considered ‘red’ colours for the purpose of fitting into a colour scheme. So I picked colours that were weathered and worn examples of blues, yellows, and reds to use. I used slightly more intense versions of those colours on her hair, lips, and her jerkin to try to focus attention to the main area of interest – her face. The belts, scabbards, and wood staff are desaturated yellow browns to keep them from drawing too much visual interest.

July wip7 front 600You can see that the base echoes colours used on the main figure to tie everything together and help it appear lit by the same light source.

Don’t leave out the base in your colour schemes! I dabbed colours used on the miniature or mixed from those main colours on various sections of the base to tie it in with the figure as a whole. I used red browns from the jerkin shadows, yellow browns from the wood and belts, and mixed a green from the yellow and one of the blue colours to use on the base. I also glazed some dull blue colours and a bit of yellow here and there on the stone sections. You can also use one colour from your colour scheme within other colours. There’s a little bit of red brown shading on the staff to give the wood a little more depth.

The Eyes

Painting eyes on gaming scale figures can be a real challenge! One thing that can make it a little easier is to paint the eyes looking off to one side instead of aiming for a straight ahead gaze. This can also add a bit of interest or personality to a figure. Here I think it helps give her a little sense of being in motion, as if she had been looking off to the side and has just shifted her gaze before turning her head to look back in front of her.

July blue face cuClose up view of the eyes painted off to one side.

The Cloth Pattern

I wanted to do a little something with her dress. Sure she’s an adventurer, and a low level one at that, but she can still enjoy a little personal decoration as most of us do! I had the inspiration for the pattern from character clothing in the Lord of the Rings Online game.

355px Dot LeafbottomI wanted to try to create an effect like the pattern on the skirt above.

I started off by using a stipple brush stroke to add the highlighting and shading to the dress. The stippling technique can be used to create a range of results. I have used in the past with a very small brush, uniform application, and a LOT OF DOTS to create textures like this. With a more dynamic range of colours and applying a lot of dots I you can get something like Madame Delia’s dress. You can apply it more loosely with a larger brush to get hammered metal or scuffed leather effects that work particularly well on larger figures like giants or busts. I used a brush stroke along these lines for the leather on Asandris’ jerkin and boots. In the case of the dress, I was going for a rougher woven look, so I used a smaller but not super small brush and applied the stipples somewhat haphazardly. This is one of the techniques that is I find challenging to explain with words and pictures, maybe some day I’ll be able to show it on a video. There is a bit of a WIP example on the Madame Delia link above.

July dress test combo 600Dress pattern tests.

The underlying fabric look was just one element of the pattern. I also had to create the diamond shapes or criss-crossing lines. Here I was on less familiar ground, so I did a couple of tests on another figure. Painting flat lines with the tip of the brush as on the above left did not result in the look I was after. It might work well for more of an embroidered decoration look, or a strongly woven pattern like a tartan, but it didn’t fit with the soft woven pattern I was aiming for. So I experimented with doing lines of stipple strokes on the above right. That looked like more of a woven effect to me, so I used that technique on the figure.

July wip4 front cu 600In this picture you can see the base fabric texture stage on the sleeves, and the addition of the diamond pattern on the skirt.

Additional Views

July blue face 600

July blue back full

July blue right 600

 

Paint Colours Used

For the most part I painted from darkest colour to lightest, though there were a few areas where I added additional shadows such as the hair and the staff. To save time I use paints straight from the bottle as pre-mixed layer steps whenever I can. So it would be entirely possible get similar colours using a smaller set of paints and more mixing. I am not suggesting you need to have all these paints to paint a simple colour scheme like this!

NOTE: Colours in italics are out of production. Colours in bolded italics are currently out of production but are available for preorder in the ReaperCon HobbyBox. (And will be available for sale outside of the boxes on the main Reaper website closer to ReaperCon 2020.) Turkey Brown will likely be available to purchase again during the next Winter holiday season.

Skin: 9224 Redstone, 89542 Shoanti Sienna, 9494 Gnome Flesh, 89540 Taldan Pink, 9487 Yellow Mold

Jerkin and boots: 9307 Red Liner, 9235 Red Shadow, 9223 Redstone Shadow, 9224 Redstone, 9225 Redstone Highlight, 9494 Gnome Flesh. Glaze with 9663 Big Top Red.

Blue cloth: 9229 Worn Navy, 9230 Soft Blue, 9056 Templar Blue, 9231 Heather Blue, 9057 Ashen Blue, 89529 Hobgoblin Blue. Diamond pattern: 9317 Moonstone Blue, plus a little white.

Belts and scabbards: 9199 Russet Brown, 29829 Golden Brown, 9429 Rich Leather, 9075 Buckskin Pale. Glaze 9691 Turkey Brown on belts and scabbards. Glaze 9074 Palomino Gold on side pouch.

Staff: 9429 Rich Leather with a dab of 9231 Heather Blue to dull it down. Then add 9075 Buckskin Pale for highlights. Added a bit of 9199 Russet Brown for shadows.

Cloak: Base of 9109 Ruddy Leather. Washes of 9307 Red Liner, 9685 Corporeal Shadow, and a little 9066 Blue Liner in the deep crevices. Then highlight up with 9109 Ruddy Leather, 9305 Tarnished Copper, 9232 Bright Skin Shadow, and a touch of 9306 New Copper. 

Hair: 9429 Rich Leather, then 9199 Russet Brown for shadows. Highlight up with 61101 Terra Nova Tundra, 9074 Palomino Gold, 9075 Buckskin Pale, 9039 Pure White. Glaze with 9095 Clear Yellow mixed with 9247 Saffron Sunset.

The greys of the non-metallic metal steel and stones on the base were mixed from colours used on the figure. Mixing a little bit of colour used elsewhere on the figure into standard neutral grey paints would work as well.

Madame Delia

If you like the work I do on this blog, please consider supporting it via my Patreon.

Reaper Miniatures has already released the Madame Delia figure in metal. She is also going to be made into a Bones figure as part of the core set of Bones 5. (Late pledges are available.) that is currently running. So I thought this would be a good time to share my paint job on this terrific figure.

Madame Delia - face viewI do hope to add a base to her some time soon!

I jumped at the chance to paint this figure. I’m a fat woman, and it’s nice to every now and then paint a figure that looks a little like me. But much more importantly – look at her outfit! I often implore Reaper’s art director, Ron Hawkins, to include more figures in fancy dress or historical costume, and this certainly fits the bill, so how could I resist? I’ll talk a little more about my approach to painting the clothing below.

Madame Delia - back view

Madame Delia is based on fantastic concept art by Izzy ‘Talin’ Collier, which you can enjoy below. She was brought to three dimensional life by the talented sculptor, Bobby Jackson. Although I expect that she will see game use as a noble, a merchant, a mayor, and many other ideas, she was designed as a specific character in Reaper’s Dreadmere setting, and has a backstory by Ron Hawkins and Joseph Wolf. I painted her to match the sketch and the character notes. 

Madame Delia Sketch  1Concept art for Madame Delia by Izzy ‘Talin’ Collier.

In the world of Dreadmere, Madame Delia runs a punchhouse called the Drowned Waif. The brothel caters to exotic tastes and employs performers of diverse background and appearance who have a great range of talents. Its proprietor has a fondness for excessively elegant gowns and accessories. She also has a predilection for the drug hagshair, smoked from a long ivory pipe. (Such habits are an unfortunate consequence of living in the tumultuous area of Dreadmere!)

Delia right 400

My vision for Delia’s appearance was one that was dramatic, but not too over the top into garish. Taking a cue from the feather fan, I went with a peacock colour scheme and motif. Since Delia is a lot of woman wearing a lot of fabric, I wanted to paint at least two noticeably different types of cloth to prevent it from feeling like too much of the same thing. I picked a dark blue-green for the cloth of the main dress. Years ago I experimented with a colour and texture like this with a very quickly painted test figure. This seemed like an opportunity to try to execute the idea to more of a display level style of painting.

Test cloth elf cloakThis quick test figure was done in ~15 minutes using a synthetic brush.

To paint the cloth, I started with a fairly dark basecoat colour over the entire area. Then I highlighted up by stippling tiny dots of various shades of blue, green, and teal. To paint these, I used a smaller than usual sable hair brush with a very fine tip. I painted one value level of dark shadow with a very dark blue and dark green, then three or so value levels of highlights. For each level I used two to three paints of roughly the same value (how dark or light the colour is), but different shades of blue/green/teal. Then I glazed over the cloth with a thinned down and very transparent coat of a dark blue-green in the crevices, and a lighter one on the peaks of the folds. The level of contrast between the darkest values and the lightest ones is noticeable, because contrast is important to make things look three dimensional, but it’s not super extreme. Rather I’m using the texture to add some visual interest and create the appearance of a rich velvet or something with a little shimmer.

Madame Delia - back left viewI love those slashed sleeves so much!

By comparison, the lighter green cloth draped on top of the main dress has much more extreme contrast between shadows and highlights. Here I was aiming for a shiny silk type of look, so the crevices shade down to almost black, and the highlights are a yellowy off-white. To add further depth and richness to the shadows, I painted a thin coat of one of the deep red colours from her hair into the darkest shadows. Since green and red are colour complements, this adds a bit of additional contrast even though it isn’t immediately obvious to the viewer’s eye. Whether steel or cloth, materials require a large range of contrast between the darkest and lightest values to appear shiny. The overall midtone value of the draped fabric is lighter than the main dress, so it is set apart from it in terms of colour, texture, and value. There is a third cloth material, as well. I painted the cloth seen through the slashed sleeves and lacing to appear as a pale linen type of fabric, which is pretty matte and so has a much smaller range of contrast between the shadows and the highlights.

Madame Delia - Front view

There is a lot of green (and blue) on the figure, so I tried to balance that out with my other colour choices. Delia seems like someone who would dye her hair, and I decided on a not-natural burgundy type of redhead choice as that seemed like something that would look good with the green, and also fit someone who enjoys looking dramatic. I used similar colours for the gems and her makeup. Green or blue eyeshadow seemed clearly over the line into garish, but a little bit of a deep pink for her eyeshadow and some matching lipstick and blush seemed like they would fit. I used a touch of reddish-purple in the shadows of the gold and ivory to help tie those into the main colour choices, as well. And of course peacock feathers for her fan!

Madame Delia - back right view

Madame Delia is available for purchase in metal right now. Or you can get a copy in Bones by making a late pledge on the Bones 5 kickstarter. It is my understanding that the figures in the core set, which Madame Delia is part of, will be made in the newer Bones Black material that is a bit stiffer and nicer for detail than classic Bones.