Wednesday, March 16, 2011

RtC: Underpainting Trial

If you picked up No Quarter #34 and read Matt DiPietro's article about underpainting, you may have found yourself curious just as I did. Well, I decided to try this technique out. Now I need to at a disclaimer here: This is the very first time I've tried this specific technique, so my execution was less than optimal. In the past I used to prime models black and then drybrush white to get an idea of surfaces. This process was new for me. With that caveat out of the way, let's see my results.

First, I started with my freshly primed Feralgeist. I chose this model due to it being a good candidate for multiple wash layers. I followed the article as closely as made sense. The grey coat covered probably 80% of the surface, and the white coat covered probably 30%. My first note here is that doing light shots of primer like this left some graininess that I'm not used to having when I do solid coats. No matter, it seemed to have little effect on the final product.
First, I did a wash of P3 Carnal Pink, probably about 1:3. It was thick enough to give a strong tint of the pink to the entire surface. At this point I definitely noticed that the underpainted coat has a noticeable effect on the pink wash layer.
Next, a thinner wash of half P3 Carnal Pink and half VMC Pink. This was probably at about 1:4, with a drop of flow aid thrown in for good measure. At this point, the underpainted coat is becoming less obvious.
Now a wash of just VMC Pink, at roughly 1:5 with a couple drops of flow aid in there. Again, even less obvious of the underpainting.
Now a wash of half VMC Pink and half P3 Beaten Purple. About 1:5 with definite flow aid added.
Ok, I have no idea what happened with my camera here. This step was where I went back and re-higlighted some areas with slightly thinned (1:1) P3 Carnal Pink to bring some surface back to a brighter shade.
Next, I did a very controlled wash of P3 Beaten Purple and some VGC Violet ink. This was something like 2 parts paint, 1 part ink, 3 parts water, 2 parts flow aid. By controlled wash I mean that rather than washing the entire surface, I just washed the recessed areas that I wanted to darken.

It is at this point that my step-by-step comes to an end because...
... Where'd the underpainting go? Ok, perhaps my wash technique was not entirely the best option here. The article really only does 1 or 2 washes on top of the underpainting, and they tend to be darker colors. So I'll admit, my test is probably not entirely reflective of the way the technique should be employed. In any case, here are my takeaways:

1) Underpainting via 3 primer coats (and necessary black painting the recesses) takes time.
2) The technique definitely works better with just a couple washes.
3) Taking the time to underpaint definitely gives a much better sense of where to highlight, particularly if you follow the zenithal highlighting methodology.
4) This is not particularly compatible with my own painting style.
5) I'm glad I took the time to try it out, and hey, my Feralgeist went from blister pack to done in 2 days, which is a record for me! (I'll post the final model tomorrow)

So, will I use this for my War Hog? Probably not.
Will I use it for select future projects? Very likely yes.
Do I recommend other people try it out? Absolutely! See if it works for you! Trying out new techniques is what it takes to step up your painting.

Until next time, paint like you have a pair!

1 comment:

redmanphill said...

It is interesting but it is not something I would really use. Its too hard to control over an entire model and still get decent results. For instance on a warjack I just can't see that working very well.