Vampire and Undead Flesh Doesn't Have to be Difficult
I was asked, not so long ago, about painting vampire or undead flesh; this was in reference to the Vampire Count Coven Throne that I had previously painted. I have a few different ways of painting vampire/undead flesh but this is the way that I've chosen to do it recently.
A lot of the time I'm looking to make vampires or undead creatures look recently dead and cold but not necrotic or decaying. Additionally, I don't want them to be confused with an ice or frozen creatures; yes, that comes across my table often. So, what to do?
When the Coven Throne came out I liked the purplish hue that their vampiresses took on. I never did find out how they did it; I admit I didn't look too hard though. I assumed it was layering with Hormagaunt Purple and perhaps Astronomicon Gray but...I didn't feel like doing all that Dallimore work.
So, I came up with something I could do quickly and with few steps...
It starts very simply, base coat all flesh with Fair Shadow from Reaper. Fair Shadow is rather creamy colored with a hint of pink, as are the rest of the tones in the triad.
You'll notice that, in the base coating process, I'm not neat and tidy; you don't have to be. After base coating and a thorough drying period wash with a light purple. Bob and I mix our own. You'll see in that first picture that the purple is rather bright and light; this helps with the undead appearance and coolness without becoming icy looking.
Next, after the wash dries thoroughly, use the Fair Skin Highlight and apply highlights. Apply the highlights to brow arch, nose, cheekbones, jaw, chin, breasts, collar bones, shoulders, arm muscles, fingers, knees, fronts of thighs...etc.
If you have trouble thinking of where you should highlight I suggest looking at photographs of models in swimsuits or lingere because the lighting glistens and hits the high points.
If I'm feeling overkill I'll use the middle tone, Fair Skin, and then do the Fair Skin Highlight...but I didn't choose to use that on these figures. If the Fair Skin Highlight doesn't appear dead enough you can alway use white to take it a step lighter and then use that as a final highlight. I do that sometimes.
These lovely ladies are from the Seamus set of Malifaux figures.
I like to give my zombies that milky, undead eye without pupils.
Seamus is actually alive, so his skin is colored differently with Golden Shadow skin and Golden Highlight with a reddish-brown fleshwash.