12th March 2016
Onto the hair…
John Frost had quite dark hair in real life, hard to say whether it was actually black – I suspect it was a dark brown colour.
So for the hair on this one I’m going to start with Vallejo Model Color German Camo Black Brown. BTW I was watching some of Dave Younquist’s figure painting tutorials on YouTube a while ago and he kept referring to “Camel black brown”. Took me ages searching the web to realise it was “Camo” not “Camel”! The problem is, in my head I will forever think of it as camel black brown.
The camo black brown was thinned with water to a layer consistency (like melted butter – not runny like a wash).
Then applied in several layers to the hair and moustache. The same was applied to the eyebrows, but here the brush was dried on a paper towel before applying the paint (you don’t want runny eyebrows) and was applied in small light strokes as if to paint in each eyebrow hair in a slightly diagonal angle. You don’t want to just paint each eyebrow in a single horizontal stroke otherwise it will look too “Gypsy Wedding”.
Here’s the eyebrows and tache shaping up. The shape of the eyebrows is taken from old reference photos of John Frost.
You can see that the right hand edge of the left eyebrow (your left) has gone a bit Gypsy Wedding. That is easily fixed by using a bit of the flesh base tone to feather in the square edge of the eyebrow.
Here’s the corrected eyebrow along with a little more work on the tache.
To give the hair a bit more interest and contrast, Citadel Nuln Oil (black wash) was carefully brushed into the grooves in the hair. I didn’t want to just wash the whole area of hair otherwise the wash would dull down the camo black brown even more. I did apply the black wash all the way around the hat line of the hair though to try and create a bit of shadow.
Next I mixed up some light grey and applied it to some of the high points of the hair detail. The idea here is to create light and reflection. I find this tricky as it’s easy to just make it look like he has grey hair. Initially the highlights were way too strong, so a quick glaze over with very thin camo black brown knocked the effect back a bit.
And finally for this stage of the hair some bright white highlights were added to the edges of the moustache.
I’m not totally happy with the hair, it still looks a bit boring to me at this stage. So I might give it some more work later when more of the figure had been painted. I find that as you paint more of the figure, it gets easier to see areas that still require a bit of work. You can always go back and titivate something if it needs it later.
Now for the hat…
For the red beret I’m going to try Vallejo dark red with a spot of blue.
This is the palette that I will be using for the hat…
The first colour to go down is the purple that was mixed from the dark red and blue. This is right of centre on the palette below. This has been mixed to a glaze using Citadel Lahmian Medium.
To the right of the purple is a muddy brown colour, this is the purple mixed with black to create a shade tone that I will use for the shadows.
To the left of the palette is a bright red – Citadel Mephiston Red which will be used also as a glaze to colour the hat, and above that is a pink that will be used for highlights which was mixed using the Mephiston Red with a little Andrea flesh tone #3 (1st light).
Here’s the first coat of purple glaze on the hat. I’m using glazes rather than layers so that the pre-shading shows through.
The purple glaze was looking to be a bit dark on its own, so I switched to applying glazes of the bright red.
After 3 or 4 glazes of bright red, the colour is getting more to where I want it and the pre-shading is still visible.
Next onto the shadows. For this I used a thin glaze of the darkened purple. Just a case of carefully applying the dark glaze to the shadow areas. As always being careful not to create any tidemarks.
As the shadows developed I darkened the shadow glaze with a bit more black. I made sure that there is a shadow around the badge, this will help it pop out later.
It’s worth saying that you have to be careful when darkening a colour with black, otherwise your model can look very monotone. To darken the red it would be better to add a dark brown the mix, or if you’re into the technical side of art you could add a complementary colour such as a dark green to darken the colour. Don’t never use black though (sounded a bit hillbilly there), there are plenty of times where a little black can get you where you want to be, just don’t always use black for shading.
With the shading looking Ok, I moved back to the bright red glaze to go back over the mid tone and highlight areas. This was to being a bit of the colour back that was lost by shading.
Next it was onto the lights. This is a similar process to the face highlighting. Starting from the mid tone progressively lighten the tone and apply it to the highlight areas.
Here the highlights have been added using the pink tone shown in the palette.
And more highlights – it’s a gradual process to build them up…
And with the highlights looking ok to my eyes, I added some really light highlights with a very pale pink to add a bit more contrast.
With the hat done it was time to do the rim of the hat. For this I’m using Citadel Abaddon Black as it dries to a more satin finish than Vallejo.
Here’s the hat (pretty much finished) although I will give it a matt coat as it has a satin sheen to it. It needs to be totally matt as it’s made of wool.
And the rim of the hat has been blacked in. The rim will need to have highlights added to it with white to stop it looking like a boring old slab of black.
The cap badge I will do another day…
Next update, highlighting the rim of the hat, and moving onto the torso.