Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Tip

With the dappling (mostly) done it is finally time to move on to finishing up the head and legs. We are almost there! I always do the head last on dapple greys whereas I would usually do it first on other solid colored horses. This is because there is so much fiddly work to do on a grey, I don't want to risk messing up the head in the meantime. (The head could certainly be finished off last on any color, it is simply my preference to do it earlier.) Before the video started, I scrubbed on a shaded layer of paint on the head to make blending the details possible. This was done in exactly the same way as previously shown, so we are just jumping straight into the details now:
  • Start by adding highlighting with a very precise small round brush. The highlights should go on the eyelashes (if the horse has light lashes), eyelids (don't forget under the eye!), around the nostrils, wrinkles can be created around the mouth, and any other spot that needs it. A lot of sculpting can be done with paint, and certain areas can be emphasized or fixed up a little with creative use of highlighting and shading. Just be careful not to go overboard or it will stand out saying "I am paint!" instead of just appearing to be natural shading.
  • Use a soft small round brush to gently blend the white lines in. Try not to over blend to a soft nothingness, but don't worry if you do. More paint can always be added, and sometimes it is better to overblend one part in order to better blend another highlight. On the flip side, blend enough so that the lines are not too stark! Practice is essential here, so do not get frustrated if the first, second or more attempts are not exactly as you want.
  • Next, add dark shadows between the eyelid and nose wrinkles, shade deep inside the nostrils, and anywhere else that needs it. Blend the black, and repeat with light and dark as much as necessary to get the highlights and shadows just so.
  • Now move on to the ears. If they have dark rims, use a small brush to paint around, and then shade the deepest part of the inside dark as well. My reference horse has some fuzzy white hairs inside his ears, so I am shading grey in between. The ears can be left dark too - consult your references. Don't forget to blend the backs of the ears!
  • Finish off the head with more hair texture anywhere that needs it. You can emphasize the grey on the nasal bones, perfect the hair whorl on the forehead, etc. Try to have some sort of hair effect even if it is just light grey and white in the lightest areas to simulate hair growth. With most of the horse hair textured, any spot that is not will look unfinished or not quite right.
  • When the head is done, fix up any areas on the body that still need work. Hair texture and dappling can be added at any time. If you are worried about ruining the work done on the head, you can always stop and come back when it is dry.
  • Finally, move on to the legs. I started this session with the legs already basecoated with 2-3 layers of shaded paint.
  • First, add black to the darkest areas, and stipple a little bit on over the white marks on the tendons.
  • Lightly go over the black with grey to add hair texture. You can go back and forth between black and grey until the shade and amount of texture looks right.
  • Add white according to your references. My horse has white on his tendons, insides of the upper legs, trailing down into the tendons behind the knees and in front of the hocks, behind the pasterns and around his coronet bands. These are very common areas to lighten, but not all horses grey out in the same way.
  • Touchups can be done at any time, but the body is now done! Tune in next week for painting the mane and tail!