Starting to paint figures.
I have been adding figures to my models to crease the look and feel. I have practiced and now I am satisfied with my style and way of painting figures. I do not do it the most artistic way. At first I sat with a book and webpages open to figure painting tutorials, painting with a base color and two or three shades lighter, and darker to try to create depth and detail. It was an excercise in frustration, especially the figure faces. I painted over and over the same figure until the paint built up and destroyed the detail, and I was left with what looked like a manaquin. They were flat and lifeless. So I searched out videos on YouTube. Surely my brethren model builders had some shortcuts and tips. Everyone has their own style. I took what I liked from one person and disregarded what I thought was a waste. Finally it came together in a simple way to give me a look that I like. Finally I was able to paint the dreaded iris of the eye, first with a toothpick, and eventually with a 0000 brush.
Here is what I have learned about figure painting. I was using Model Master Enamel Paints, and that was a mistake because they are too thick and get gummy. I changed over to Vallejo Acrylic paints and you can get them much thinner and blend them easier than enamels. I also love the fact that Vallejo Acrylics do not have any offensive odor. I also spent a bit more on brushes to get Windsor Newton Cotman line 0000, 1, 2, and 4 size brushes. What a difference!
More about the face. I have learned a simple way to get a decent result on the faces. I use a primer coat, then base coat of Vallejo Dark Flesh mixed with either Brown Rose, or Red Leather depending on what type of flesh I want. I use darker shades for the rough looking tankers. Then when the base is dry, I Drybrush Vallejo flat flesh on the center of the face, starting on the brow and going in downward strokes to the chin. I paint the eyes with German Grey, and eye brows the same color as the hair. I use a darker version of the base flesh for lips. I use a dark wash to get the shadows, it flows right where you need it to be into the lower surfaces. Using a wash for shadows is much easier than using three shades of dark, especially on a 1/35 scale figure.
I gave up trying to use three shades of highlights on the body of the figure as well, and cut back to using a base color, and highlighting with a lighter shade by Drybrushing. I use the same dark wash method to shade the body as I do the face. I am painting mostly tank crews and infantry assault troops. I want to be somewhat realistic with my effects. That means the figures are dirty, haggard, and weary to the bone. They are in a fight for their lives and look it.
Like I stated above, I do not use these methods for artistic results. I use them because I can get a decent look. There are many ways to paint these figures, and my way is certainly not the best or most artistic, it is what works for me. It makes me happy in the hobby I enjoy and I have none other to please, but myself. I hope this may help those of you who are intimidated by figure painting to try to add another dimension to your models with the addition of figures. It takes practice, but the rewards are worth it.
wishing you all the best,
3 additional images. Click to enlarge.