Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Advanced Freehand Banner Painting

This is my second post related to doing freehand work on banners. The first one can be found here: On Freehand Banner Painting.
 This example is much more involved than the last one, and it therefore took considerably more time to complete.
The model in question here is my Orctonnian Battle Standard Bearer.

The first thing I did was to browse the web for ideas, with a few general ideas in mind. I knew that I wanted to have a checkered background, with gold around the edges, and with a boar as a centerpiece.
 After digging through Google Image searches for a while; I happened upon a picture of a really kewl looking boar patch (the sew on kind), that was the exact stlye I was looking for.

I created a digital version of the image I had in my head using The Gimp (an excellent piece of free image editing software). The checkered background and edges were drawn in with a pen tool. The boar was then overlayed onto it. I ended up digitally cutting off and reversing the boar's head; in a style similar to that seen in the fluff imagery in the Bretonnian book.

This whole project was rather intimidating to me, as I'd never done anything nearly this involved. That feeling caused me to procrastinate it quite a bit. The secret to getting past that was to force myself to do just a little bit (10 - 15 minutes) each day. At some point, I saw it start to come together; that's when my motivation was really sparked

The first step was to basecoat the banner blue.
  Then I painted on an outline for the boar. That was so I wouldn't bother adding red squares over places that the boar would cover. I knew the preliminatry boar outline would end up getting painted over quite a bit, but I wasn't concerned with that at this point. I was just trying to save myself some time by not adding details that would later be covered over.

Next I added the red checkers over the blue background.
 After that, it was time to highlight the checkers. I did all of blue ones first, then I did all the red ones.

That step was rather time consuming, and required extreme care to not lay paint over the square-next-door that was already highlighted. One tip here is to keep a few sharp ended round toothpicks around. If you do get a little paint of a different color on a finished square; get the tip of the toothpick wet, and smudge the offending paint off. If used minimally, this is a great way to clean up small mistakes.
After all the checkers were highlighted, it was time to put the boar outline back on. I couldn't really tell where the original boar had been, so I had to recreate it mostly from scratch. That's despite being very careful while painting the checks, and trying not to get much paint on the original boar outline.

The boar was painted to match the concept art I had created. I had to make changes in some places. Those were done to keep it from looking too busy, and because I couldn't always get a good angle on the banner with my brush.
The colors used on the boar's body were as follows. It was basecoated Scorched Brown. From there it was highlighted with consecutive layers of Graveyard Earth, Kommando Khaki, and Bleached Bone. The final highlight layer was done with White.

I did the boar's eye red, but left it darker than the red checkers in the background. That was the only way I could think of to distinguish it.
 The tongue was done with pink tones. It was basecoated the same color as the background checkers (Scab Red). The highlights on the tongue were done with Tentacle Pink, whereas the background checkers were highlighted with Dwarf Flesh. The tongue turned out substantially different color-wise, and is well distinguished from the background.

The tusks and hooves were done in metallic tones. This was intended to tie them in with the fringes around the banner. The colors used on the metallics were Tin Bitz, Dwarf Bronze, Burnished Gold, then Burnished Gold mixed with a tiny bit of Mithril Silver.
That's about it for the freehand portion of the banner. It was definitely one of the more detailed painting challenges I've attempted, and I'm glad it's over. This thing took more hours to do than I care to admit!
I think one of the keys to the success of this project was coming up with the initial design. Because I had that, I never felt too lost regarding what my goal was. Without that design, this thing likely wouldn't be anywhere near complete yet!


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