Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The 5 paint pot Challenge

Well hello folks!

Todays' article is about a small idea I had: because I was travelling for the whole month of April  had a limited amount of equipment. So I decided to try to paint a piece using only the primary colours and the values (black and white).
This led to a rediscovery of aspects of colour theory that I had taken for granted. It also broadened my understanding of the interaction of paints and the basics of reactions and possible complimentations between colours.
Another part of the challenge was to buy only the five pots of paint, everything else had to be found or scrounged or borrowed. This in itself proved quite interesting as I will explain.

I set out to try this idea on a simple model I found while tidying up the stacks of miniatures I have accumulated over the years: an old Citadel Ghoul.

Here is what I started out with:

So a metal ghoul, a couple of age old files, a wooden building block, some milliput and a craft knife: the bare essentials!
So after preparing the model by filing the mould lines and resculpting the necessary areas with milliput I was faced with the problem of fixing the model with no superglue. I therefore cut a groove the same size as the foot bar into the base and then fixed the miniature into place using milliput, after it had cured the model was securely cemented to the base.

Using the spare milliput I made a simple cross to decorate the base, and squashed a few balls of putty over the base to give it a bit of a variation in sufaces.

I also created the mound in which the cross would rest when the piece was assembled finally after painting.

Then came the flocking. In keeping with the challenge I scavenged in boxes and found all this stuff!:

useful stuff: spare scalpel blades, an old tube of only just still usable PVA glue, sanding paper strips and broken plaster.
This broken plaster was perfect for flocking, and actually I quite like the texture it gives:

I finished cutting and sanding the cross, and all was ready for undercoating! With no undercoat at hand I headed for Vent Divin in Strasbourg and managed to convince the shop owner to lend me his undercoat cans. First of all I sprayed the piece in black, and then I used the Vallejo grey primer and concentrated the bursts on the model while trying to avoid hitting the base too much.

Ready to paint!
 I must say I'm not convinced by that grey primer, but the challenge implied that I would have to discover new products and techniques so this was a welcome discovery.

Now to the painting!!!

Unfortunately I could not take many step by step pictures as my battery was running low, so I will mainly tell you what I discovered during the process.

1) any colour can be created using the primary ones. This is of course theorectically possible, however it is much harder in practice. It tokk me half an hour to find my base flesh tone: skin is pink so red and white yeah? NO! You start with a 50/50 red/white mix and this doesn't look right; you add more and more white and it still doesn't look right. So then it hits you that maybe yellow and blue play a part in this, you play around with tiny amounts of these two colours added to your huge puddle of pink and progressively out comes a flesh tone, FINALLY!

2) The harmony of the piece is easy to create because of the extremely limited palette of colours. However continually using mixes you used on another part of the model, either to shade or highlight, makes for an even more harmonious piece and saves you a lot of time and confusion trying to recreate yet another odd mix from five paints.

3) glazes are your best friend! I used more glazes than usual on this skin to camouflage uneasy transitions and give depth to the piece using the limited range of starter paint pots.

4) the wet palette once again proves its' amazing usefulness by ensuring that you do have enough flesh colour for all the time you are working, instead of having to remember a recipe and recreate it every ten minutes.

There we go for the insights! An exercise such as this one can be the theme for the Studios' Colour Theory Course!

And here is the the finished piece

I will try this exercise again in the future, but with a more complicated piece: a challeng is not a challenge if you think it will be easy!

Keep on enjoying your hobby!