Original upload date: November 3 2013
I was asked on the forums to explain how I paint my faces so I wrote a little guide:
Aella’s Guide to Painting Faces
Step 1: Clean and assemble your model as normal. I prime my Legion in white because of the pale flesh. When I paint darker/dirtier models, I prime in black.
Step 2: You can either start with a dark basecoat and highlight lighter, or start with a mid-tone and darken it. For my Legion, I start by basecoating with my main flesh colour (Rakarth Flesh). The important part here is to keep your paint thinned. Thick, clumpy paint is the easiest way to ruin a face.
Step 3: I add a wash to darken the recesses (Seraphim Sepia). In this case my wash also adds some warmth to the tone. This is fine for tabletop quality, but when I am painting to a higher standard I prefer to paint everything by hand to avoid wash patchiness.
Step 4: Highlight with the mid-tone (Rakarth Flesh). Often I see beginner painters skip straight from a wash to a top highlight. This skips out the middle colour and leads to stark highlighting. To get a smoother transition, reapply the mid-tone colour before highlighting the top layer. In this case I leave the dark colour in the recesses around her nose, and in her ears. Remember to keep your layers thin.
Step 5: At this point I paint the eyes so that if I mess up I can just repaint with my base colour for an easy fix. I paint black into the sockets and then two spots of white on either side of the pupil. Beginners often end up with a wide-eyed look. This is often due to not having a thick enough black line around the eye. The white dots must have black all around them to give the eye depth and avoid that wide-eyed stare. The pic below is of Annyssa after I filled in her sculpted eyes.
They are tiny! She will look like she is squinting. So I break the first rule of kindergarten and colour outside the lines. This will give us enough black to define her eye and avoid squinting or staring. Girls do this all the time in real life with the magic of eyeliner makeup.
Step 6: Highlight the raised sections of the face (Rakarth Flesh + White Scar). These sections include the tip of the nose, the cheekbones, chin and browline. Again, keep your paints thin. I use a different painting technique for skin than I do with the other parts of my model. Human brains are wired to recognise faces and so in my opinion, the skin and face are most important parts of the model. If the face is not quite right it can distract the eye from the rest of the model. The technique I use on my skin is called feathering. Coolminiornot has a pretty good description of it here. Basically you put paint on one part of the model and then pull it across the surface so that it gets thinner and thinner and shows more of the underneath layer through. You are effectively concentrating more pigment in some areas than others, as opposed to regular highlighting which involves lighter pigments painted over darker ones. The trick is to get it smooth, and it takes practise and time to get right. I save it for skin, and do quicker techniques on the rest of the model.
Step 7: Paint her lower lip with a shade of your choosing. I recommend mixing in a little of your flesh colour to tie it together, unless you are deliberately aiming for high contrast (e.g. Sorscha red). Paint a line for her lower lip, but do not paint her upper lip (unless you want her to look like a lady of ill repute). Instead add just two points of paint on the tips of the “cupid’s bow” (the pointy parts of the lip directly under each nostril).
Step 8: Highlight just the bottom lip with a lighter mix of your lip colour. This adds fullness to the lips.
Step 9: Add eye-colour if you wish. I usually avoid this for my rank-n-file females, because I think the natural look is better for marching off to war. I did however, get carried away on Annyssa. When adding colour to eyelids, I water my paint down and use it as a glaze. It’s runny enough to be a wash, but make sure you don’t have so much paint on your brush that it flows into the crevices to ruin your eyes. Add successive layers of the glaze and let the colour slowly build up.
Here is my finished Annyssa Ryvaal.
Thanks for reading, likes/shares/comments are appreciated!