Monday, December 28, 2015

Mantic Elf Dragon Lord WiP: Part 3

In this post, Ryan paints up the light brown on his dragon, adds some freehand on the wings, and paints the eyes of his Mantic Dragon Kindred Lord and gets it ready for his rider.

This is part three of a WiP project for the Brush With Death: Texas contest. The contestants are challenged to paint up a model from Mantic Games, straight out of the box, with little to no modification.
Part 1 of the project, the assembly/prep, can be found here.
Part 2 of the project, where I paint the red and dark brown, can be found here.

Light Brown

Light Brown Layer 1 - 2 drops SS Camo Black Brown, 3 drops Cobra Leather, 1 drop Bloody Red, 2 drops water

For the first layer of this, I've gone with lighter shades than I did for the dark brown. As you may remember, cobra leather was used as the midtone for the backs of the wings, so this layer is already started halfway as high as the darker side! Similarly, I used Bloody red for the tint rather than generic Vallejo Red because it brings the tint brighter.

Light brown layer 1, left side

Light Brown Layer 2 - 1 drop SS Camo Black Brown, 4 drops Snakebite Leather, 1 drop Bloody Red, 2 drops water

If this layer seems like a subtle change to you - just swapping one drop of SS Camo for 1 of Leather - you're spot on.. It allows a deep brown darkest shadow layer similar to the top wing layer. I used this almost as a second base coat; if I was going to ink wash the scales between the base coat and this layer, it's a good way to step up your highlight a shade while staying close to the base color. In truth, I think I was worried the base coat was a hair too dark, so I attempted to recreate it with something a hair lighter.

Light brown layer 2, left side

Light brown layer 2, right side

Light brown layer 2, left wing detail
The right wing is going to be very tricky to highlight because almost all of it is out of our direct light source, but I'll talk more about that further down.

Light brown layer 2, right wing detail

Light brown Layer 3 - 3 drops Snakebite Leather, 2 drops Medium Grey, 1 drop Bloody Red, 2 drops water

For the third layer, I jumped away from subtle and started leaning heavily towards my go-to color for bone midtones, Vallejo Model Color's Medium Grey. It's a great grey/light brown mix, and is on pretty much every model I ever paint, somewhere.
Light brown layer 3, left side
Light brown layer 3, right side

Light brown layer 4 - 1 drop Snakebite Leather, 3 drops Medium Grey, 1 drop Bloody Red, 2 drops water

Again, the transition between these layers is subtler.

Light brown layer 4, left side
As I'm writing this I'm realizing just how backlit the right side angles are; I'm sorry for that! The interior of the right wings were tricky because they are in shade - because of the way the model is positioned, the wing just doesn't receive as much light as the other side. It makes for boring photography, but interesting technical challenges - most of the light the wing is lit from is reflected off the ground, so your highlights go in different places.

Light brown layer 4, right side

Light brown layer 5 - 1 drop Medium Grey, 4 drops Pale Flesh, 1/2 drop Hot Orange, 2 drops water

Another layer-subtle-harsh transition jump. Now that we're down to the last two layers, I tend to spike the contrast a lot more and rely on brush control and slightly thinner layers of paint to preserve transitions through opacity change.

Light brown layer 5, left side
See how the model is starting to look "finished"? Now that the majority of the model is highlighted and not black, all of a sudden it starts to pop into place. It's a neat optical illusion with high contrast painting. The trade off is that it can cause painter's block pretty easily - if you aren't seeing results until the final two layers, the process can be quite frustrating!

Light brown layer 5, right side

I took a better shot of the right wing interior here after my earlier revelation about lighting. Because the wing isn't being lit from the primary overhead light source, the places on the wing that are highlighted are actually those that would be the darkest if it received direct light. Because this wing's lighting should be coming from light coming off the ground, the tops of the wing interiors (the parts facing the ground) would be darker than the portions that are perpendicular to it.
Light brown layer 5, right wing details

Light brown layer 6 - 2 drops Pale Flesh, 2 drops white, 1 1/2 drop water

This was the hardest layer of the light browns to paint - it was thinned less than the earlier layers (which were all 5:2 ratios of paint to water), so I had to rely much more on brush control to ease the transition between layers. Fortunately for me, only the tips of the claws and horns, and very slight places on the wings needed this layer.

Light brown layer 6, left side
Light brown layer 6, right side
I also went in with this layer and the previous, and added some scratches to the model, to show either old injuries that had healed, or places where the wing folds in on itself when it collapses down.
Light brown layer, right wing detail

Model complete through the light brown layers!

Freehand reds

 When researching vein placement inside bat wings (my initial concept for the model was to do semi-translucent wings, to make them seem really thin), I came across the following picture. I thought it was so neat that I dropped my concept, and decided to go with a natural-camouflage motif - dark brown above, light brown below - as discussed earlier. As part of that, I decided the top wing shades would be given natural camouflage to match fire - if a dragon is flying over something, he's probably lighting it on fire! This would serve, in camouflage terms, to break up the outline of the wing and make targets above the dragon less certain of where the dragon's wing ended, and the ground began. Thus the dragon would take less attacks at the thinner membrane at the end of the wing, and more on the meatier joints, where a grazing hit would not knock the beast out of the air.

Inspiration found online
Sadly, I rapid-fired through this freehand too quickly to take really detailed WiP shots. I did, however, note the colors used!
Layer 1: 2 drops Dark Fleshtone, 2 drops Gory Red, 1 drop Bloody Red
Layer 2: 2 drops Leather Brown, 2 drops Bloody Red
Layer 3: 1 drop Leather Brown, 1 drop Hot Orange
Layer 4: 1/2 drop Leather brown, 1 drop Hot Orange, 2 drops Gold Yellow
Layer 5: 1/2 drop Leather Brown, 2 drops Gold Yellow, 1 drop Moon Yellow
Were I painting actual fire, I would have a sixth layer of Moon Yellow and White, but since this is natural camouflage, I don't want it giving the illusion that it is producing light.

Left wing, top freehand
Right wing, top freehand
I knew that one of the best Freehand painters in the GT scene, Edward Oh, had committed to this project and was doing something with a banner - his specialty - so I knew I would have to include at least some freehand to compete with that show of skill. This flame (and the texture work on the wings) was the start of my response to that challenge.
Closer shot of the left wing freehand, rotated out of the light source

Closer shot of the right wing freehand, using some glare to show that a lot of the texture is painted on the model

A dark look at the model, showing how the flame camouflage resonates with the color of the scales, but still distinguishes itself.

Finally for this portion, I painted the eyes. These were a very simple rapid-fire set of Hot Orange, Gold Yellow, and Moon Yellow. The eye slits were done with a 1:1 mix of Black and SS Camo Black Brown, and a tiny dot of white was added to the top of the eye (just barely visible) to show light reflection.
Close-up of the face, showing the eye

At this point, the only thing left to finish on the dragon is the harness for his rider, and a tiny surprise in the middle of his chest plate! However, you'll have to wait until Part 4 to see how that (and the model) turns out!

95% done with the dragon portion!

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