Monday, October 26, 2020


I managed to finish up Adriana tonight, which was a little surprising. I'll admit it's probably partly because I'm very ready to be done with this project. 

I'm disappointed with the texture on the coat. I needed smaller dots and more of them. Am I going to go back and fix it? Nope. It's a lesson for next time. I'm still really pleased with her face and hair, and her shirt is fine. This figure definitely looks better from the front. There's not much going on on the back. I probably also should have used a different color/texture on the inside of her jacket; realistically it'd be lined with something. 

But in any case, it's done! Time for new projects!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Adriana: Even More Coat

 I got farther with the texture on Adri's coat. I've got all the stippling on. The next step will be to glaze over it, which will tame that down a bit. One of the nice things about texture shading is if you don't like what you've got, you can just stipple more to adjust it.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Adriana: More coat

 I've mostly been working on a commission piece lately, but I finished it last night. I've got a couple more of those in the queue, is long past time to get this lady finished, so I'm going to focus on that for a bit. I did some more texture shading on her coat tonight, and will be continuing with that.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Gnome: Hair, Shirt, Pants

 I wanted to paint tonight, but I didn't have the energy to do anything serious. So, I went back to the gnome guy I used for the face tutorial. I finished off his hair and mostly finished his shirt, and then base coated his pants and the sash.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Adriana: Coat, Continued

 I got back to working on Adriana's coat. This is adding shadow stippling in another section.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Tutorial: Faces and Eyes

I was asked to do a tutorial on faces and eyes, so here it is. I got pictures on my phone as I went through the stages, so the picture quality is not awesome for a number of them. Hopefully it's enough to get the idea across. 

Let's start with the colors I'm using, with the top highlight on the left and the deepest shadow on the right:

Note the value range there. It's not white to black, but it's a lot. Contrast is important all across a figure, but on the face you're trying to highlight some pretty small details, and it's also likely to be a focal point of the figure, so it's particularly important there.

So here's my figure with the base coat (that's the middle tone above) in place. I've also based coated his shirt and hair. I'm not going to finish them in this tutorial, but having some color on them makes it easier to photograph. It also looks weird to have the face floating in a sea of white.

In the process of putting on the base coat, I realized that this figure didn't cast properly; the end of his nose is missing. That's OK, we'll try to fix it with paint. It's also worth noting that this figure has relatively large eyes - thank you, Derek Schubert!

With the shadows and highlights, you want to define the features of the face - the eyes, cheek bones, nose, and mouth. So I'm going to lay in my first round of shadows, placing them to help define those details.

What I've done here is add shadow in the following spots:

  • The line between his lips
  • The the indentation just below his lower lip.
  • Along either side of his nose, and the line underneath it.
  • Filled in the entire eye socket
  • Around the outside of his face, where his skin meets the hair. Because of the way his head is tilted, I put a wider shadow area on the right side of his face. It would be more in shadow because it is tilted down. 
  • A roughly triangular area under each cheekbone.
  • This figure has sharply sculpted creases going from the bottom of the nose to the corners of his mouth, so I placed shadows there as well. You want to be careful with this one; it's easy to overdo it and make the face look very craggy, which ages the appearance of the face.
  • Bottom of the chin and the parts of his neck that are shaded by the chin. I was generous with the darker color here because the area would be mostly in shadow.
  • The little divot that's the inside of his ear.
The issue with the nose shows up more here - don't worry, we'll get to it! But notice how the features are starting to stand out a little more.

Next is the second round of shadow.

There's the second round of shadows. I placed these darker shadows in the same areas, just not quite as widely, so they'd fit within the area defined by the first shadow. That's what helps make the transition from color to color smoother. There are exceptions to that; the eye is fully filled in with the darker shadow.

Next go the highlights. These go where light will hit his face. It's also where we're going to start dealing with the nose. 

I put highlight areas in these places:
  • The top of his cheekbones
  • The curve on the front of his chin. Normally this would go in the center, but since his head is tilted, I placed it at the point in the curve that is facing upwards.
  • The spot above his lip and below his nose that's facing more or less upwards
  • His ear lobe. If his hair wasn't covering it, I'd have placed a highlight on the top of his ear as well.
  • The top of his nose, and a small dot on either side of the for the bump of the nostrils. This is where we start hiding the defect of his nose. I've place the highlight right down the middle, just as I would have if his nose wasn't missing the end. I'll have to over exaggerate that highlight, but having the light stripe there will help convince the viewer that there's a full nose there, catching light from above.
Then I moved on to the second highlight, which once again went to all the same places, just narrower within the area defined by the first highlight. I missed getting a picture of this step separately, so the next pictures include his lips and the first part of his eyes.

I was very generous with the brightest highlight on his nose, and you can see it's not perfect, but does hide the flaw. 

For his lips, I mixed a dark red with the first shadow color. Unless you want your figure to look like it's wearing lipstick, you don't want to use red straight up. Lip color is not usually that saturated on its own. Mixing it with a darker flesh tone will help keep it more in tone with the skin. I just went over the bottom lip with my red/flesh mix. His top lip is in shadow, and doesn't need additional color. That's true for most figures. Once I had the bottom lip colored, I mixed some of the color I used for it with the first highlight color. That gave me a lighter version of the lip color to use as a highlight. All I did there was put a small line of lip highlight color along the middle of the lip. 

For his eyes, I got a slightly off-white and used it to fill most, but not all, of the socket. I left a little bit of the dark shadow color showing around the edge. That leaves some lining around the eyeball, which will make it more visible when it's done.

Next was finishing the eyes. I also added the eyebrows here.

Next, the irises. I picked an iris color that was going to compliment other colors on the figure. In this case, I used a brighter green to play off the green on his shirt. Using a color that shows up elsewhere on the figure helps tie everything together, and will also help make the eyes show up more. 

Because of the way this guy is posed, I want him to be looking to his right. So rather than center the iris in the eye socket, I put it all the way to the direction he's looking, and left some white on the other side. Next is putting a bit of black for the pupil, which I put in the right corner of his eyes. 

Last is a small dot of white in each, to simulate a reflection from the surrounding light. This helps make his eyes look bright and shiny, and draws more attention to them. Our eyes are effectively coated in liquid all the time, so they're going to be shiny relative to the rest of us. What's below are the final pictures for his face.

Interlude - Face Tutorial

 I was asked a few weeks ago to put together a tutorial on painting faces. Today I finally got around to painting the sample figure for that. Here he is:

I'll finish this guy off eventually. Yes, he is a good candidate for OSL, but I didn't want to worry about that while doing the face, so I haven't planned for it in that shading and I probably won't do it.

Keep an eye out on the tutorials page for the tutorial itself.