Julie Guthrie mage face detail

The Solis Media
Guide to painting miniature figures

CONTOURING

 
   
  The Idea  

Julie Guthrie Ranger

A ranger from the Ral Partha range of Julie Guthries Fantasy Personalities

JG Mage, showing cloak contouring

A Julie Guthrie Mage, we think....
A Citadel Dwarf from many moons ago....

A fire elemental or Djinn, from where I cannot remember...

The basis to this technique is to build up paint from dark to light, accentuating the shadows and relief of the figure. It works well on baggy clothing, especially cloaks, but can look false on large areas where the contours stand out too much (use shading for those areas). The technique works well for faces too, given a little practice. I usually use a mix of shading and contouring for my figures.

How To Proceed

Start with a dark undercoat, in a shade that will work well with your main colours. Allow this to dry before continuing. For the really dark shadowy areas, mix some of your undercoat with your top colour. Use this to paint over the whole area except for the darkest places. When dry, paint a slightly lighter shade on the same areas, leaving a contour of the darker colour below. Continue with this aproach, working your way up to the areas of highest relief with the lightest colour. Bear in mind that highlights may be lighter than your main colour too, just as shadows are darker. For example, a red cloak will have dark brown shadows moving through maroons to the main red, with oranges, pinks or even white to bring out the highlights.

You dont have to use the really dark undercoat colour as your shadow colour all the time. Even though I routinely undercoat dark, I often use a base colour on top of the undercoat that is quite light by comparison, but only in the relevant areas.

This technique can result in a thick paint coat, so apply the medium with care. If you dont allow a layer to dry properly, it can 'infect' the next layer (hey, thats the shading technique creeping in!) or worse still, pull away leaving ripples, tears and roughness in your otherwise perfect paintjob. Beware.

You can buy the Osprey Publishing book on figure painting from Amazon in the UK or USA - Click the flag to jump straight to the book!   

 

 

 
1999 Solis Media    
faces | flesh tones | gallery page | shields and banners | HIGH IMPACT
15mm examples | Preparation | Dry brushing | Shading | Contouring
Ink Washes | armour | fur and feather | Flags and Banners
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