Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Painting faces

Painting faces

Welcome to my tutorial on painting faces. Faces are one of the most important aspects of a miniature as it is often the focal point and the component that tends to add the most character to a model. Faces can be tricky to paint but once you get down a few basic steps and get the hang of using glazes to add warmth and depth to the skin it becomes much easier to get good looking faces for your miniatures.

I begin with a black base coat and paint following these steps-

Start with a coat of Bugman's Glow. Water the paint down a touch to ensure it flows nicely and doesn't clog the fine details. It may take multiple coats but that is much more preferable than one thick coat.

Next up is Cadian Flesh Tone. You're aiming to cover all of the previous coat,  making sure to get into all the crevices such as under the brow and nose. Again, this may take two coats.

Now it's time for the highlights, the first of which are painted with Kislev Flesh. The aim with this stage is to pick out the raised areas on the face. These are usually the brow ridge, the nose, the ears, the sides of the head, and the lips. Use a detail brush and take your time here. Thin your pat so thinned that it's hard to control about but not so thinned that it's hard to control.

Using some slightly thinned Screaming Skull, carefully paint thin lines on the eye brow ridge, the nose, the lips and the ears.

Now we're going to tackle the eyes. Painting eyes on small miniatures is naturally a difficult skill but with some practice it becomes easier everytime. The trick I've found is to block in the recess of the whole eye area with Abaddon Black, as you can see above. Make sure your paint is thinned so that it flows nicely into the area but do not load your brush with much paint as you'll need as much control as possible over the application of the paint.

Now comes the tricky part. Using watered down White Scar and a fine detail brush you need to put a small dot of white in each corner of the black of the eye, leaving some black remaining in the centre to give the impression of pupils.
Take your time here and don't worry if you slip up, just paint in the black ( remember to thin it) again and have another go. This does take some practice but it is by far the easiest method I've found for painting eyes.

Also here is a good time to add some very fine white highlights to the raised areas of the face.


With the previous steps complete you should now have a good looking face and it's fine to stop there and call it done. However, and this is my favourite part of painting faces, if you wish to add some more depth and warmth to your painted face you can go a little further and add some glazes. This is how I use glazes when painting faces-

Load up your brush with some Bloodletter, wipe of the excess with some tissue, and gently paint it onto the areas where you want to add some warmth. I usually go for the nose, the bottom lip, the lower cheeks, and the crease in the brow. The glaze goes on really thinly which is good as it allows you to build up the colour saturation that you are happy with.

Repeat the process except this time use Guilliman blue and focus the glaze around the lower eyelid and also the lower part of the model's nose.


Now that the face is completely finished the only thing left to paint is the hair. I've gone for a dark brown but you can use this process for any colour of hair you want by replacing the paints I use with the colours you want for your particular hair colour.

First thing is to base the entire area with Dryad Bark, being careful to avoid spilling onto any of the skin.

Next you want to applying Gorthor Brown over most of the area, leaving the darker colour to show through in the recesses of the texture of the hair and braids, and also at the line where the hair/beard meets the skin.

The first highlight step is with Baneblade Brown and these highlights want to be focused on the ridges where the detail is raised such as the braids on this models and also the mustache.

The final highlight is with Karak Stone and is once again applied to the raised areas, focussing mainly on the ends of his braids and the mustache. 

The very last thing to do is to block out the metal rings holding his braids together with Leadbelcher.
And with that the face of the model is finished.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful and any and all comments/ criticisms are welcome.

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