Monday, August 27, 2012

How to Paint White

After our RPG Friday night we were talking 40k.  Specifically I was asking Wade about his commission work.  Mostly to get a feel what I should charge for my own commission work.  During the conversation someone mentioned painting white can be hard.  I agreed it can be hard and provided some information how painting white can be easy.  Just have to make sure you plan ahead.

Here are my tools for painting white.  Wet pallet.  Container purchased from Blick.  Sponge, same place and Acrylic paper, same place.  Olde brush and Skull White.  Including paint whole thing should cost about 20$.  Dose sponge and acrylic paper in water.  Pour out excess.  Then place white onto wet paper.  Since I'm pulling from a Citadel paint pot the brush helps.

I've covered in previous WIP, works in progress.  Before doing yellow on Eldar I painted white so I would avoid having to put down multiple layers of yellow.  White is a different beast all together.

The only way I've found to get around putting down more than one layer of white to make it even is to prime the model white.  Then you can get away with one layer of white.  If you even need it.

Wet pallet.  Water, thinning paints.  As you can see the white is spreading out due to the water.  This is ideal.

Dab.  Dabbing paint means exactly that.  You load up your paint brush and touch the surface with the paint.  Touch and lift the surface with paint.  The intent of dabbing is to do only one pass while providing a solid coat of paint.  All of the Eldar skimmers you've seen painted were done with dabbing.  This is great for large surface areas.  Particularly when there is no detail to affect with thick layers of paint.  Not for smaller areas or areas that have detail you wish to preserve.

Layering, not as complicated as it seems.  Let's dis-spell the complication of "layering."

This is a panel I painted on one of my Falcons about 15 years ago.  You can see there isn't a lot to it.  If I remember correctly I used two different blues and mixed them together 3 times to get the different hues between the second from top blue and the bottom.  Top is Nightshade Blue.  Then Enchanted Blue after that it was mixed three times with some light blue.  As you can tell the technique to do this was extremely easy.  With downward strokes I painted the entire panel.  The top of the blue has little brush strokes where it didn't make a solid connection.  Then line by line moved down the panel lightening as I went.  Best contrast to see layering is the sunrise behind the Dark Angels Green grass.

This is layering.  Plain and simple.  Painting from a darker shade to a lighter shade while having the darker shade still visible under the lighter shade.

Now onto something relevant.  When painting Shining Spears I wanted to paint the spears white.  You can see how multiple thin layers of white does a great job.

First layer of white

First layer of white

Second layer of white

Second layer of white

Third layer of white

Third layer of white

Here's a pick of three different ways of laying down white. You can see here how three different ways to paint white look. Top is solid white.  Middle is dabbing.  Bottom is wet pallet white.

The quick eye will say middle, dabbing, covers grey and black evenly.  Others will say the solid white does an adequate job covering.  The discerning eye will notice the wet pallet white provides an even coat across grey and black.  When it comes to white you want even.  You don't want solid.  Because the more solid it gets the more clumpy it gets.  The more you dab the thicker white becomes.  You want to build up in layers.  That is why you'll read pro-painters say they did two thin layers.  Two thin layers > one thick layer.  Why?  Even distribution of colour and less chance of obscuring detail.  Say Eldar bulbs for example.

First layer

Second layer, damn it blurry.

Third layer, best pic.

This is where planning ahead counts.  As you can see in pic above.  White covers grey better than black.  Because wether we like it or not.  The underlying colour does effect colours painted over them.  You can see this in a Warp Spiders post.  Using black as a base will dull the colours painted over it.  White will lighten the colours.  It's easier to darken colours than to lighten.  You want to have a plan of how you will be laying down colours.  Should you put pink over red to darken the pick?  Should you put blue over grey to pale the colour further?  Most of your models these questions will go unquestioned.  When it comes to those special models you'll want to have an idea how it'll turn out.  Which unfortunately involves planning.

White like superglue will overtake/cover detail if you let it.  This is why you want white to be thin not thick.  Unless of course you want to obscure detail.  Some people are into that.  Multiple of layers of non-thinned white will lead to lumpy mess and uneven white.  Only thing I can say about that is experience.  It is the best way to learn.  Samuel can attest to that.

slainte mhath

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