Monday, June 3, 2013

Liberi Warband - Part I

Fanticide, Liberi Warband (Centaurs)
manufactured by Eureka Miniatures and Alien Dungeon

Note: This is the first part of a two part painting demo.

There is nothing more challenging than painting horses.  Crazy am I?  Simple you think?  Well, that's where people go wrong.  They think that a horse is simple because it is brown, so they trust their memory of what the horse looks like.  At that very moment the memory becomes faulty; unless of course you raise horses or are an equestrian, then I'd trust your memory. Horses are not merely brown, neither are trees for that matter, and one would do better just to admit a faulty memory and look up what a horse should look like.  The internet is awash with images of horses, or you could get a very nice book like Bob and I did.  Pick out your horses, make a painting plan, select your paints, and get started.

I am painting 45 Liberi Centaurs for two customer orders.  Because 45 can be a daunting size I have chunked it into three sections for variety and sanity's sake: plain, Mustang, and Appaloosa horses.

Picking Out Horses
The internet holds hordes of horses, a plethora of ponies, a menagerie of mares, and a superabundance of stallions...yeah, you get the point.  Well, then why don't you use them!  Okay, okay, sure these are fantasy horses, centaurs to be exact, and one could argue that they could be any color your heart desires.  I'm here to tell you, "No, they can't.  It makes you look crazy."  Now, I'll go against that if you are painting horses with a My Little Pony theme, then fine, go for the jellybean pink and sky blue.  But, if they are meant to be real horsies I suggest you paint them as such.  Here are some of the images I was using as inspiration:

It is also important to match up mane and tail colors to the horses; well at least I think so.  Use the photos to do this.  Not all horses have black hair, some have off-white manes with brownish black tails.  Take the little bit of extra time to get it right and it will pay off in the end result.

Make a Painting Plan
Its like I always tell the students at school, make a plan before you write, know the steps you want to take and the direction you want to go before you even start creating sentences.  That theory applies here, too.  When doing something as complex as Mustang or Appaloosa horses you need to designate which figure is plain, Mustang, or Appaloosa; and which figure is getting what colors.  So, as you can see in the image below, first, I separated the figures into three categories and kept the leader figures separate.

Then, secondly, I have written the names of the internet images that I want to use as inspiration with the corresponding figures.  I do this on my painting mat (paper towel) because it is easy and when I'm done I can flip it over to the clean side or just throw it away.  I want variety within each order, I don't want to repeat colors or patterns too much so it really is essential that I think this through before beginning.

 Pick Out Your Paints
Starting with grays first on the left, I have an array from black to a mid gray.  Cel-Vinyl makes a step-down system of colors so it takes the guess work out of a base, middle, and highlight color.  In this case you might forgo the middle color and just go with a base and highlight.  On the right end are whites.  For a true white look I went with a Gray 5 (which I forgot to photograph) and a highlight of White.  For an off-white or very light taupe I used Dheneb Stone with a highlight of Stencil.

This second set of paints are for the brown horses, of course.  I need a deep brown, a red brown, and a camel or light brown.  They are used in order  Burnt Umber base with Brown highlight; Brown base with a Light Brown highlight; Light Brown base with a Light Brown 10 highlight.  If I wanted a very dark brown I could use Raw Umber (not pictured) or Black as a base and then highlight with Burnt Umber.

Get Started
Once you're all set up begin painting by blocking in the larger color or the color that is easier to paint over.  A lot of times it is difficult to paint whites over other colors so I chose to paint the white areas on the horses first.  The horse images below are of the Appaloosa horses I was working on.  When you look at the images of Appaloosas they are primarily white with colored spots so it would be smart to paint the primary white color on first.

At this point I would also highlight the white areas.  So, if I started with a base of Gray 5 I will highlight with White. With Dheneb Stone I will highlight with Stencil.

Now comes the time to fill in with the other color and create the polka-dot pattern that Appaloosas are so well known for.  Don't be intimidated by the dot pattern, because it isn't a pattern.  Try not to be so precise, the spots shouldn't be circles, they shouldn't form a symmetrical pattern, and they shouldn't all be the same size.  Easier said than done, it just takes practice to get it not so perfect.

After that, go in and highlight the second color, even the spots; but not all of them, mostly just the larger ones.  You can do this by doing a damp overbrush with a small, flat headed paintbrush or you can pseudo-Dallimore it with a smaller size 2 brush.

As you may notice on some of the horses below there is a faint haze around the spots or where the brown/gray meets the white.  That's because I used a wash to make it bleed into the white.  If you look at the horse photos you'll see that the dots are irregular and a little blurry, they don't have crisp edges.  A little bit of water diluted paint or a wash that is a corresponding color can help achieve that, but be conservative with it because you don't want it to overwhelm the nice white fur.

I think that light brown one on the right hand side, it is unfinished in this photo, is my least favorite.  I was trying to imitate one of the horse images but it doesn't quite capture it, even when finished. 
Here are some close ups of a couple Appaloosa and Mustangs that I did...

Now, the final steps will be painting the flesh of the Indian portion of the Centaurs, the accoutrements, and weapons.  I will cover this in the next blog post sometime during the week.

Thank you for reading,


1 comment:

  1. So is that fingernail polish inspired by or the inspiration for the horses? ;-)

    Beautiful work! I plan on using your technique when I get around to painting my cavalry for Saga. I may even give it a go on the 15 mm horses of my FOW limbers. Then again, perhaps sanity will prevail...

    As my memory is quite short I know I'll have to visit your site often from here on out. I can't wait to poke around and see some more of your work.

    Nick usually blogs at Spotting Round.