This past week I completed my study in non-human skin tones. I was a little intimidated at first to paint such an "exposed" mini, but I knew it would be great practice in painting the female figure and a large-scale modern weapon. I wanted to give her a tribal, futuristic feel while making her weapon & leather bags a bit more "Old West". I made a few time-costly mistakes along the way. Here's what I learned:
- Test out your paint color on a section of the mini first
I went through about 4 different colors trying to find a good pink/purple. My first try was way too hot pink. My next color mix turned out like Pepto Bismol. Once I scrapped the pink idea and used purples as a base, I found a color mix I liked.
- Start with a muted tone and build up your color from there (personal preference)
Since Pepto Bismol pink wasn't what I was going for, I started with a muted lavender (Reaper's "Dark Elf Highlight") and mixed up some pink tones up from there. I also added in some darker purple pigments (Reaper's "Clear Purple") for the shadows.
- Don't "reset" your palette halfway through
In the future, I will mix & apply skin tones all in one sitting. Maybe I just apply the base coat and initial shadows or maybe it's the base coat, shadows and highlights-- either way, I didn't keep it consistent. When I left my palette out too long, it dried up and the paints became unworkable. When I went back to mix them, they were just a bit off and I basically had to rework each section I'd already done. Which brings me to my next point...
- Keep that paint color journal and write the mixes down immediately
If you're anything like me, you get excited about painting and think, "Oh I can recreate that spontaneous, complicated mix of color proportions". Then a few hours goes by, you change your mind, you re-work it... and, in my case, if I've waited until the next paint session to record it, there's just no way I can remember it all. I'd rather have it on paper rather than floating around in my brain-- here's what my journal looks like:
- Go in with a plan
It was difficult for me to visualize where exactly the highlights would go, especially on her backside, and I think I could have gone both lighter & darker in the end for more overall contrast. I wasted much of my time trying to make shadows fall in consistent places and reworking the blends over and over again until I'd realized I'd been painting a butt for an hour.
Without further ado, here she is!
What am I most proud of? The blending on her face and her eyes: