Written by Fabio Ricci
HELLO! I want to show you my painting process and decisions for this beautiful bust from Ox Head minis, The subject represents a Hyksos woman, my goal with this painting process wasn’t to paint something extremely realistic but I wanted to do something much more illustrative and colorful, which is more appealing to my own personal taste. I hope you’ll find useful insights, enjoy it!
THE REFERENCE Whenever I start a new project, I always try to search for some inspiration, it’s very important to have an idea in your mind of what you want to paint otherwise it will be easy to get lost. Searching on google you can find a lot of different valid alternatives that can inspire you. Personally, I selected an image of Nefertiti. Eventually I decided that my light source was warm and according to that I decided my colors
COLORS Here it’s the selection of colors used for the paintjob, I personally love to paint with Heavy bodies colors, I love their creamy consistency and because they’re a little more satin, I usually combine them with matte colors like Scale 75 artist, turner acrylic gouache and kimera kolors, in this way the satin finish will be much less disturbing and it will help enriching the skin tone.
A ZENITHAL HIGHLIGHT is first applied - an Imaginary light source which is above the head of the model, as if the model would be outside on a sunny day with the sun and the sky would illuminating her.
I begin this by priming the model with black primer (AK Interactive) and then I airbrush with white for bringing the volumes out quickly.
I wanted my light source to be concentrated mostly in her left side of the face, so I made a quick little map that would inform my painting.
I don’t want an extremely accurate result, but it’s an important stage that would help me to identify the volumes of the model. In this way we can have an idea of how the model would read under the light source.
PALETTE It will be impossible for me to tell what exact color I’ve used in a specific area of the paint-job, most of the work comes naturally by mixing pigments together, in the photo you can see the final colors, they’re mostly orange and red browns for the mid-tones, achieved by mixing cadmium red medium with Indian yellow unbleached titanium and white, for a reddish variation of the skin tone I added more red and less yellow to the mix, I also reduced the saturation a little by adding ultramarine blue if the tone was too intense
You can notice that there are also 2 blue tones in the palette, being the skin that warm I wanted to add a touch of cold colors in the face for balancing the overall look of the model. Both tones are achieved by mixing ultramarine blue and black with arctic blue from scale 75 plus white.
FIRSTSTEP AsageneralruleIstartedwithamid-toneandwheneverImovetowardsthelights, I will use the tones I selected in the lights square, same principle applies for shadows. You’ll see that the process will not be very linear because I constantly try to search for some minor changes during the process.
FIRST SKETCH Here you can see the first sketch, usually when I work on a model, I always try to advance all the elements together, in this way I can see if they’re working or not and it could be easy during a sketch state to adjust if needed.
Right now, I quickly blocked some colors for the skin using mostly Indian yellow plus unbleached titanium plus white for the lights, then I respectively try to adjust the mid-tone and shadows, blocking colors in this way will allow me to have a quick idea of the skin without rendering it too much. At this stage I still wasn’t sure with the color of the dress so I decided to try that blue but eventually it will change too.
ADDING LIGHT I tried to push the highlights of the skin even more, after doing that I always blend the colors in between mid-tone and lights and mid-tone and shadow.
ADJUSTING VOLUMES I blended the colors a little more and I also realized that I needed to push the light area of the face, when painting faces, understanding, and giving proper light to each volume s is one of the most important parts for a successful painting. These volume principles are applied in every part of the model.
At this point I still was exploring some ideas, but I liked to leave her right side of the face with a little more shadow compared to her left side.
PROGRESS AND CLOSE UP Here you can see different tones of the skin with a closer look.
I extended the light area in the face and the overall volume reads much better, I also rendered more the volume of her shoulder and nose. Another thing I’ve changed is her dress, at this point I decided that I wanted to achieve khaki color, so I used mostly unbleached titanium and Indian yellow for the color of the dress, at this stage I noticed that the shadows of the dress were still too desaturated. For the lips I tried to use a more magenta color mixed using violet and ultramarine blue plus red.
I realized that I wanted to add a little more saturation in the skin, after blending eventually you’ll lose a bit of saturation and I wanted to maintain it. I slightly changed the color of her right side of the face, and I pushed the lights in that area too, you can see that the face seems more connected. In her right side of the face I mostly used the mid-tone brown orange color
The work was mostly done, here Irendered her face more to make sureto achieve enough contrast and drivethe attention to the face, I increasedthe light area in the face even more, atthis point is just a matter of reshapingthe volumes when necessary, adding more saturation with some glazes andpushing the lights again, for the dresshere I decided to use a gray greenfor the shadows, mixed with Indianyellow, ultramarine blue, black andwhite. I also pushed the light in the neck area,and I started to paint the hair a little,for painting the hair I try to focus thelights just in the curves of the hair, inthis way it seems a little more realistic. The colors I used in the hair are mostlygrays and for the lightest part I’ve usedthe same color I used in the skin tone;in this way we connect the ambiancewith every single element of the piece.For the hair bend I used a sand brown, shaded with a red brown. You can see that I applied that subtle blue light even in the hair bend, in this way it’s much more convincing and it breaks the warmth of the skin.
On her right side of the hair I tried to use bluer tones, following that subtle blue light I applied on that side. I also added more blue tones in her right side of the lips too. For the eyes I used a warm brown and I placed the highlight with yellow plus a lot of white.
I also tried to draw some little cast shadows in her forehead near the hair and also in the neck area and the near the nose too.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any doubts or if need a general advice for approaching the model.
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