Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Tip

This week's tip is the beginning of the long awaited dappling tutorial! If you haven't watched the previous dapple grey videos, I suggest you do so before watching this one as many of the earlier techniques are still used, but are glossed over here. Let's get started!
  • Work in sections. This process takes a looooong time, and the paint will start to dry on you before you can get a whole lot of dappling done. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since tacky paint is more resistant to blending and accepts roaning/grainy effects better - great for a dapple grey. I like to do the forehand on one side one day, then the hind the next day, the same thing for the other side, and then the belly and what I can of the legs last. So in all, 5 days for just the dappling basecoat.
  • Begin as before by blocking out color areas. Scrub the paint on so that it is so thin if you were to touch it, it would only stain your finger. This thin layer is there to help blend the dapples in later.
  • Next, grab a small round brush to begin sketching in the dapples. One that holds its point well, but is not new and super sharp will work the best. (For smaller scales, you do want to use a more precise new brush.) Only use a little bit of paint at once. Using too much paint causes spread out indistinct dapples and the extra paint is hard to get rid of. You can always add more!
  • Lightly dot and stroke the paint on, paying close attention to dapple grey references. Note what size and shape the dapples are in each specific area of the horse. Blend as you go, but be careful not to overdo it, since dapples should "pop" a little rather than fuzz out in the darker areas.
  • Start in areas that have notable dapples and get their shapes and spacing worked out before moving on to filling in the rest of the coat. Doing the hair whorls at first helps to prevent crowding too.
  • Move around to different sections and take frequent short breaks to prevent getting into the trap of painting organized dappling.
  • When all of the dappling is done (it took about 4 hours for the hind section in this video), go over the coat with a the stiff roaning brush and a little bit of white paint. This will set the dapples in and add some irregularity to the coat and build on the previous grainy, hairy look.
  • Finish off with the same technique and a bit of black paint in the darkest areas. Use a smaller brush where necessary to get around the dapples.
  • The dapples look pretty nice in this first coat, but come back next week to see how to finish them off and really make them look great!


Carol H. said...

I love the roses on that model :-)

Mel Miller said...

Thanks Carol! :-D

afleetalex18 said...

Omg. That looks like it took forever! I love a good dapple grey and that one is spectacular! You're using oils correct? I've always wanted to try them but they seem hard. So I stick with pastels for now.

Mel Miller said...

Thanks! Yes, this is all oils so far. They really aren't very hard to use and get something really nice looking the first time, especially with darker bays and chestnuts. It is harder to get good results with very contrasty colors, and it is true that the technique I'm using in the dapple grey videos is advanced. Actually, I figured out this particular technique after using powdered pigments for a while! So, your skills with pastels can certainly transfer over. :-)

Erin said...


Did I get him!?!?

Mel Miller said...

You did! Congrats Erin!