Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Prodigious Gloat

As promised in my last post, here's a quick tutorial on how I did the skin tones on Prodigious Gloat, the ogre player for my human Blood Bowl team, the Synnetowne Abbey Manglers.

This is a simplified and customized (and less skillfully and less stunningly executed) version of the method found here. You want a trip? Scroll down to the comments to see how John Effin Blanche answered my question about Winsor & Newton inks!

I've altered the above procedure for a ruddier, more flushed result, but the same basic method can be applied to any variety of wacky color schemes with good results.

The first step is to mix up a base tone. For this I used a mix of about 1:1:1:8 (or so) Primary Red:Cadmium Yellow: Dark Chocolate Brown: White. The key to a good base coat is to make sure that it's pale enough. This can be really hard to judge...I almost always end up worrying that I've added to much white, but it's never the case.

You can see the base coat on the top half of Gloat in the picture above. The legs and feet are already on step two, which is a general wash of diluted W&N inks in a mixture of 1:1 Crimson Red:Peat Brown (this mixture is designed to represent the areas on the skin where the blood is visible, which is useful to keep in mind when designing less conventional schemes. The contrast of hue that it adds really makes the effect work.) If you do not use inks, you can make a passable wash by diluting your desired acrylic color with water and matte medium (Liquitex matte medium is a nice value brand available at craft stores), though you might have to apply a couple more coats to achieve the same vibrancy.

A final note on W&N inks: these suckers do not 'set.' If you go over them with wet paint, they will bleed and run. This can be a real pain if you aren't expecting it, but it is also something of a boon for blending if you know that it's going to happen. It basically allows for easy as pie wet blending, which makes for a really nice effect for all kinds of things.

Once the wash has dried, go back in and reapply the original base coat as the first highlight. You should notice the red/brown mixture seeping in a little from the recesses.

Now simply begin highlighting while increasing the proportion of white, and keeping the mix thin with water and matte medium. I tend to work on a wet-palette, which means I can keep a pool of my base color next to a pool of white and gradually form a gradient between them. That way if I need to go back and fix something, I can easily return to taking paint from a darker portion of the gradient.

After that, it's basically just a matter of continuing to highlight until you think the overall tone is light enough. Above you can see I'm probably on my second or third highlight. (I work quick with more dramatic steps than most; blending is not my forte.)

Once I'm nearly satisfied with the highlights, but before the final layer, I go back with a very dilute red ink and glaze over the boils, lips, nose, and nipples. After that dries, I go ahead with the final highlight, bringing everything into balance.

I called it done at this point because the Gloat looked plenty flushed and sweaty; however for a more pale/sickly/eerie effect I will often go in and apply a very faint glaze of blue mixed with brown to the raised areas. The idea there is to have the fleshy or fatty areas contrast with the reddish bloody areas. In this scheme, that means contrasting warm and cool colors, though it could easily be the reverse when painting something a little more...imaginative.

Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions, by building up your query in delicate layers in the comments box, just down there.


  1. Cool! I have also experimented a bit with w&n inks on this dwarf I'm painting (very slowly mind you) and have experienced the same problems with w&n inks. I think the liquitex inks work better in that regard, when mixing with matte medium they don't bleed the same way. Antimatter uses liquitex inks and has some tutorials posted on LAF.

    I got some Daler Rowney inks too recently but haven't used them enough yet to have anything to say about them.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Interesting! Thanks for the tip. In my experience, Liquitex products tend to be very good quality for the money, so I'll have to pick up an ink or two next time I see them. I bet they're available in single colors too--one of the major disadvantages of W&N. I'll see if I can track down those tutes, and let me know how the Rowneys turn out!

    3. These are the ones I got bookmarked although I think he did more: