After sharing pictures of Alice I got some questions on how I managed to paint her dress in such vibrant blue. I never really thought about it, as I do really like the bright colours but I don’t think I have a particular way to ensure that bright effect. In a way, it happens quite naturally.
So instead of writing a tutorial, here are some tips & tricks that I use to help create vibrant colours:
I like to start with a white primed mini. One might argue that the white undercoat by nature will help the colours pop more, but I don’t think that is always true. As long as your basecolour is opaque that won’t matter. I do think it is easier to make it opaque. Especially with some colours, like red or yellow covering a white primer is just faster.
I like to start areas that I want to be particularly bright with the midtone, the colour I want it to look like when you look at the mini from a distance. Obviously painting a bright colour is easier if your midtone is bright by nature. Go for a saturated colour. The blue in Alice’s dress for example is Andrea Blue by Vallejo, which is very bright. Also, make sure the basecoat is completely opaque.
Try to avoid using too much brown in your shades. For shading reds a little brown is still fine, but for many other colours it will start to look muddy and not bright. I like to shade with deeper shades of the basecoat. For Alice, this was Dark Prussian blue (Vallejo). Also, to make the colours stand out, you can try to use complentary colours in the shadows. For example a purple (because there is red in it) can help pop blue colours a bit more. In golds, painting purple in the shadows also helps bring out the yellow tone.
I like to highlight bright colours with a brighter variation of the basecoat, or simply by adding a bit of white. But too much white will desaturate a colour, therefore I hardly ever go to pure white for these specific areas.
After shading and highlighting it helps to make glazes of your basecoat and paint those on top of your highlights in particular. You will notice that it will instantly brighten up!
Another trick is to use a special paint, for example Reaper clear bright paints as a glaze. They are bright by nature, but are very transparent. Just always be careful that your glaze colour does not differ from the underlying colour too much, or you will get streaks and muddy-ness.
Just one tip for this: Don’t use them! They are hard to control. And especially if you use brown or black washes things will get muddy. Safe those handy things for bases or perhaps when you paint metals, but not on areas you want to be bright. The only exception is when you use the washes in a controlled fashion, only in the deepest crevices, but I personally would avoid that.
Unfortunately I have never used inks before, so I cannot give tips on that.
Well I hope this little sum-up gives you some insight in my methods. Again, this is just how I like to paint bright colours. I’m sure there are many other ways to achieve the effect 🙂
I hope to see you all soon in the “bright” future 😛