Julie Guthrie mage face detail

The Solis Media
Guide to painting miniature figures


Updated 28 June 2000

Nearly finished Ogre
The Tatoo Ogre

The Ogres back showing tatoos
The Ogres Face detail showing tatoos

Anuver ogre, from 1988.... EezArd.

OK, since we are talking about skin colour, please note we are talking about FANTASY figures here. Green, Blue, Black, Red or White, its all just paint to us. We do not condone racism in any way. PERIOD.

Skin Problems?

Painting flesh tones can be a problem sometimes. Most pre-mixed flesh colours are not that great from the pot. Paint it on your hand - is it the same colour??? So what do we do? Well, for pale to medium brown skin colours, I use a mix of dark brown and tan, with pink, yellow and white to reach the highlights. For darker skin tones I add maroons to the dark brown base coats. Dark skin is a real problem for me, since the contrast between darkest and lightest tones is limited. You can use glossy varnishes to make highlights shine, but I cant say I have achieved really good results yet. Luckily, most figures have a limited amout of bare flesh showing. See the faces page for good tips which you can apply to the body muscles or hands too. You can add great tatoos with sepia, blue and black ink. wait for them to dry, then seal over with thin ink washes for an ingrained, permanent look!

Examples Big figures such ar ogres and minataurs (its traditional for these chaps to run round in states of undress) are great for on-figure mixing. I use a dark undercoat and build up areas of mid tone with tans and browns. These are blended into the shadows with ink and water. I try to achieve a realistic (?) look so I add ink washes over the highlights too, and then scrub them out with a dry or damp brush where needed.

This Citadel Ogre (started in 1988 and still not completed!) is a good example. First a mix of dark brown undercoat made from Tamiya flat black (XF-1) and Armoury Chocolate brown acrylic. I let this dry completely. Mix some tan with the chocolate brown, and paint it on all over the flesh. Whilst wet, add some flesh colour straight from the pot (this was citadel colour) to the muscles and blend into the previous darker tones. Keep the brush moist but not dripping. Work quickly before the paint skins over. Carry out the same principle again, with the same flesh colour and gradually work the highlights up lighter. I added some deep red to the mix and worked that into the face and sun-burnt areas too. I then let this figure dry fully. Next add the tatoos. These are blue/black ink applied with a fine rotring pen or brush. Wait 'till they dry FULLY. To seal them into the skin, I applied a thin wash of sepia (I think - a red brown will do) ink, and worked it into the crevices and deep areas with a touch of dark brown paint added. I then mixed some thin pale flesh colour with the ink and put a glaze over the figure. The nose and ears were reddened up again as they had lost some colour. Finally the figure is varnished with a satin finish.

Make sure you let dark colours dry before going over them as they can mask other colours or go muddy. This is very important when using inks washes and also before varnishing. Dont use old varnish, and dont apply any varnish too thick as it can go cloudy.

(notice the poor painting on the green cloth - its the first few coats of green before any blending. I need to shade it with some ink, and make it more olive drab in tone. Oh well, one day......)

These orcs have been contoured and shaded. A mix of styles that allows me to maximise contrast on these dark figures. I chose a dark skin colour with ashen highlights as we used these in a Middle Earth campaign.

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