Thursday, April 13, 2017

Style: Musings part 1

This post (and future ones titled like this) may not make a lot of sense to others. I'm trying to work through some painting style stuff. These posts are just me working through my thoughts.

After experimenting with SketchStyle so much recently, I've found myself at a difficult impasse. I need to somehow make the process my own by merging it with my existing personal style. SketchStyle was never the end itself, but rather another tool in the toolbox. My existing techniques carry a certain amount of me in them, and I want to preserve that. So first I'm going back to painting a model my "old" way, and thinking about the process very carefully. Specifically I'm painting The Claw from the Malifaux line. Two reasons there: it has lots of good texture that suits my techniques well, and it was already in my paint queue.

So at the stage of this photo, I'd only done 3 layers of paints. 3 on the skin (a thinned base coat, a wash, and a second wash), and 2 on the armor (2 washes). The washes are a common technique for me, and as I was doing this model, I realized there's two big factors in how I take steps: color selection and contrast creation.

Contrast creation is something I like creating by using washes over white primer. It's something I've done for several years now. Ever since I read a Brushthralls article about painting Bane Thralls using many layered washes. I like this because it creates contrast, particularly by picking up the texture of the model. I also like that it naturally creates some amount of irregularities in the coloration.

The color selection is something I don't really know how to explain properly. I tend to look at the hue when I'm picking a wash and try to answer questions about what effect I'm trying to add in. For example in this model, I used Greatcoat Grey over Gun Corps Brown for the washes on the bark armor in order to create a colder wood effect. This model has a backstory of being an aspect of winter in his Queen's court. The cold look helps reinforce that winter look. From here I'm looking at it and I now want to create even more definition to that armor, but I want to preserve the cold wintery look of it. I'm not entirely sure what I'll pick next, but probably something with a cool brown tone to it.

These things together have created a style that my friend Bryan referred to as a "watercolor style". I start with washes to create overall tone and mood and definition of the model, then go in afterwards and use thicker paint and two brush blending to force more shadows and contrast.

Pictured here is further work I did on this model. It's nearing completion. What I added at this point was 2-brush blending in some Coal Black to create deeper shadows. Coal Black is sort of a favorite color for me, and I like using it instead of straight black to create shadows since I feel like it adds more interesting color dynamics. I also added some glazes of Bloodstone in select places as well. Much of this was done to push a more dynamic contrast. The trick here is that I tend to use that mid-tone to further shift the color, and I use the coal black specifically for shadows. It isn't always coal black of course, but I do 2-brush blend the shadow tone into recesses as a part of my "normal" process. This is something that has suddenly come to mind to me as a key ingredient to my painting style that will need to somehow work with SketchStyle.

I'll probably come up with a test model to experiment with next for merging these styles. This mode was a nice project model for reflecing on my old style since it had limited different surfaces and great texture in those surfaces. This allowed me to stay more focused on how I was painting rather than what I was painting.

More musings later.

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