After the first two parts of this tutorial, in which we tackled the painting of a horse and also a face, it’s time for the third part. I’ve been asked several times, both at shows and over the internet, about my methods of painting the colour white. Having a figure with a white tunic gives me the chance to go into a little more detail of how I paint my whites. Again I emphasize that this is MY method of painting white. I’m sure that there are many talented painters out there who have their own different methods. And as long as the end result is what you’re looking for every method should be considered good enough. So it would be wise to experiment with other methods and colours to see what works best for you.
Although, as I said before, there are many painters using different methods, I’m almost certain that if you ask all of them how they do it, most of them will tell you one common phrase. And that’s ‘never start with pure white’. I cannot agree more. In fact I only use pure white for the last and extreme highlights. With some mixes I use it’s not even included in the base mix! All the base colours I mix to paint whites will never give you the impression that I’m actually going to paint white, because they are rather dark and look drab. For this particular mix I used the following colours: A39 Beige + A4 Japanese khaki + Ivory (Vallejo) + a dab of black. As you can see from the photos the result is rather odd looking and does not give the impression that it’s going to be used to paint white. The colour to water ratio here is 1: 1 and the base colour is laid in normally making sure all is well and evenly covered.
I use three highlight steps to get to the pure white stage. All the highlight colours are laid in, in the usual manner. Approx. a 1:5 ratio is used here. Although the highest highlights in pure white are also applied, these are retouched after the shadows have been laid in. Having used a rather dark base colour, two steps of shadows will be sufficient. Again the shadow colours are shown in the photos. A higher ratio is used here. At least 1: 8. With the shadows laid in it’s time to underline all the details. For this I use the darkest shadow colour but in a thicker consistency. Last step of the procedure is the retouching of the highest highlights in pure white. Even here the consistency of the paint is a little thicker so as not to take anything away from the brightness of the pure white.
And there it is. My method of painting white. Final touches will be the addition of some weathering. But that will be tackled in the future. Until the next time… Happy painting!!
Copyright © El Greco Miniatures, 20/11/2006 - 2020
Figures provided courtesy of El Viejo Dragon Miniaturas.