Can't Argue With Contrast!

Have you ever heard "You could really use some more contrast on the  ____"? Yeah, me too. It's a horrible shouty-voice in my head that keeps pushing me to paint my shadows darker and my highlights lighter. I can't argue with the results, but it takes quite a while to blend smoothly. I'll get faster, but I need to focus on "seeing" how to incorporate more contrast in my figures. Previously, I'd see a model and think "Wow, that really 'pops'! How did they do that?" Now I understand that it's really about high contrast and using a wide range of dark & light values. While there's something to be said for being true to textures (for example, rugged leather won't contain nearly as many different values as a reflective silk), I want to experiment a little more. I decided to do a side-by-side comparison just to see how much I could push things visually. 

Here are the Reaper paints I used:

  • Brown Liner
  • Olive Skin Shadow
  • Linen White

I painted the entire section of upper leg wrap in Brown Liner and then painted the individual sections with "Olive Skin Shadow" as the base coat. I went back in with Brown Liner to clean up and differentiate the wrap strips. I mixed about three progressive shades in between Olive Skin Shadow and Linen White to achieve smoother blending, continuing to push all the way up to pure Linen White for the upper edges. In the back view below, you can see a big difference between the flat base coat and liner version I started with. You can't argue with contrast!