Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Tip

Welcome to the last tutorial in the dapple grey series! It is difficult to see the detail being painted in the video, so take a look at the shading in this picture (click to embiggen) and note where the dark and light areas are shaded around the braid in addition to the natural mixing of colors in the greying hair. Don't go overboard with the shading, or it will appear that the mane color itself has blocks of color on it. Keeping that in mind, let's move on to the video and recap:

  • Begin by basecoating the entire mane and tail in a dark color (if the hair is to be dark or medium grey) or a light color (if the hair is to be mostly white). Use a large brush for the bigger spaces, and a small brush with a good sharp point for the tighter spots. Make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies!
  • With the basecoat on, start adding some medium grey, leaving the deepest parts of the braid black. (If this were a very light mane, you might paint white or light grey over a medium grey basecoat, leaving some grey in the shadows.) Also leave a bit of dark paint along the line where the unbraided portion of the mane meets the braid.
  • Repeat this step, but with lighter greys and whites. These initial coats do not need to be very carefully painted (but obviously taking care not to get paint anywhere it doesn't belong) as they are just there to create some tonal guidance and act as a shaded basecoat to do the real work on. Do make sure to apply the color blocking in roughly the correct areas however; use references to get the greying pattern right.
  • With the basecoat in place, grab a very sharp and tiny round brush, and begin painting "hairs". Paint several layers of alternating light, medium and dark (in any order that best suits you), taking care to keep the natural variegation in color while adding some shading and highlighting to make the braid pop instead of blending in in one boring mass.
  • Be sure to get right up under the braid and around every bit of mane and tail. Details should be viewable from any angle.
  • Remember to take breaks! This process takes several hours and trying to do it all in one go usually results in sloppy and uneven work.
  • Try doing some wet on wet and some dry painting. The acrylics look a little different depending on which method is used, and you may find that one or the other, or both works best for you.
  • This method of shading does wonders for braids with no sculpted detail, and can even work to give a bit more precision to a simple crosshatch sculpted braid. But be careful, as overdoing it can easily cause a distraction instead of having the intended effect of unobtrusive realism.

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