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#1 HardDRollins


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Posted 14 April 2012 - 07:24 AM

So I have seen some people painting a base coat in odd colors like light blues or dark greens, when that is not the intended color and will be completely covered (I think this is called underpainting).

I was just wondering if someone could explain what the intension of this would be.

#2 All-Terrain Monkey

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 11:54 AM

I'm afraid I'm not quite sure of what it is you speak about; can you link to any examples?

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#3 MonkeySloth



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Posted 14 April 2012 - 12:15 PM

This is useful if you use glazes as you're staining the under paint so the color will be slightly different.

Occasionally I under paint flesh in a grayish blue as it's what classical painters use, and I'm by no means very good at it, but it makes your flesh look different. Here's a recent example.

A way to make bone look aged is to get a off white as your under coat and then to glaze it with Reaper's Olive Skin shadow and work up to what you want.

For a quick rust you can stain with a dark reddish brown.

You can see both of this in a quick skeleton paint up I did the other week
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#4 HardDRollins


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Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:35 AM

I don’t think I could link any examples, I think the first time I heard it was in the dark sword painting DVD. It did not give an example but mentioned green horses (I may be wrong on this). There was also I another DVD I had seen where the blue gray was used for skin but I looked as if it was completely covered. If this changes the over layering paint\wash\glaze how would you pick the base color?

Sorry I am a bit vague and clueless on this it art school I had my hands in clay and to get color I needed to know the periodic table (I also have very poor colour sense)

#5 Hot Lead

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:02 PM

I think what you're referring to here are the two major methods to do underpainting, both adapted from the 2D painting techniques of the old masters:
  • Grisaille - the underpainting of a scene or human figure with a greyish undertone. (As Monkeysloth mentions.) The intention is to create a solid undertone to flesh colors while working out the lights/darks in the composition.

    The painter then glazes over it with layers of semi-translucent flesh tones (in oils typically.) The grey tones set the light and shadow values for the flesh without having to paint in all the darks and shadows using flesh colors.

    Think of it almost as tinting a black and white photo with colors.
  • Verdaccio - another classic underpainting technique that uses a greenish-brown (or greenish-grey) undertone to flesh colors. The theory is the green mimics the darker tissues underlying your skin (think a mix of blood vessals, muscles, organs, etc.) to set a tone for the lighter skin colors over the top.

    Again the painters would glaze with transparent oils to leave some of the darker flesh underneath.
I've seen mini-painters periodically use these techniques on minis on and off over the years. It's not necessary at the smaller scale we work in, but looks good when done well.

Another easier way to undertone is prime with grey primer. That tends to neutral out the colors you paint over the top of it, having a similar effect o grisaille. (Black primer has the same effect, but is obviously much darker and needs a lot of work to cover up.)
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#6 MonkeySloth



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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:35 PM

It's good to finally have a name for the technique as I saw some people doing it on another forum with their miniatures and didn't know what it was called. Now I need to try Verdaccio with green instead of blue.

I never thought I'd write this...but I agree with MonkeySloth on this one. ~ Adrift

#7 zemjw


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:10 AM

There's a video by Miniature Mentor that covers this (or something similar) - "The art of speed painting" by Thomas David, although they call it "zenithal highlighting".

I've been meaning to try it, but have never quite got around to it.

#8 HardDRollins


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:59 AM

Thank you for that, I will have to give it a go now that I know the intention of the technique.

#9 MonkeySloth



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Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:49 PM

Zenithal highlighting is different as it's about laying down two different base coats, one bright and one dark, and then you paint over those and you get some quick shading and highlighting pre-painted on.

The common way to do it is with spray primer. You first cover the mini in black primer then "dust" the miniature with white from the direction you want the light source.

I never thought I'd write this...but I agree with MonkeySloth on this one. ~ Adrift

#10 Wren



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Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:46 AM

I could have sworn there was a previous thread about underpainting, but I'm not finding it.

I think the intention of zenithal priming is to do a quick version of underpainting. You lay in the broad areas of shadow and highlight via the direction of the spray and three dimensionality of the sculpt. If you glaze over this, you WILL see a rough/spotty look in the gray areas where the white is spotted over the black. You can try to minimize that by hand brushing white/black/gray to smooth out the transition areas. That is what I did on this hag miniature, and though I spent quite a while hand brushing the under surface, there is still a bit of a rough quality. http://www.coolminio...rowseid=1284640. I have a partially painted mini with glazes over a straight spraycan zenithal prime I should take a picture of some time as it shows the blotchiness a lot more. Though it's a blotchiness I could probably live with on gaming minis. :-> I believe if you do the same technique with an airbrush, you can get it a lot smoother.

The mini I don't have a picture of is from a class with Eric Louchard. He posts here in the show-off forum under Elouchard, and if you search for his posts you'll find some minis he's done with underpainting and glazes with some descriptions about his technique. He also has a tutorial on his website. http://www.lonebrush...derpainting.htm Another painter has posted his experiences of trying the technique on CMON. http://www.coolminio...m/articles/1215
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#11 Mad Jack

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 10:38 AM

I did 02986: Eldessa, Necromancer in sort of a verdaccio style, although I had no idea there was a name for it at the time... Rather than trying to do the pale white coloring most people seem to do with it, I wanted more of a mad, feverish, dying look to her. I underpainted it with Olive Shadow (with a very tiny bit of Clear Green mixed in) successively lightened with first Linen White and then Dragon White, and then glazed it somewhat heavily with the Bright Skin triad. It gave it a very feverish look with some undertones of being undead.



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#12 Qwyksilver


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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:22 PM

Zenithal highlighting is different as it's about laying down two different base coats, one bright and one dark, and then you paint over those and you get some quick shading and highlighting pre-painted on.

The common way to do it is with spray primer. You first cover the mini in black primer then "dust" the miniature with white from the direction you want the light source.

Cool, there's a name for something I thought was just me being lazy with highlighting, shadowing and OSL attempts. :lol:

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#13 Pingo



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Posted 31 October 2014 - 03:55 AM

This is a classic technique in painting. You can see it in museums, often on old tempera paintings which have been harshly overcleaned (tempera was used mostly in the Middle Ages and in Greek and Russian icons, and by the Italians through the early Renaissance when everyone to the north had switched to oil paints). Stupidly vigorous action by earlier generations of curators has sometimes scoured away the surface flesh tones, leaving greyish or greenish skin instead.

In tempera painting especially (using the yolk of egg to temper the pigment), blending is difficult. Also pigments back then were rarer and harder to come by, so mixing colors could be extravagantly wasteful if the artist were not careful. Colors were often simple mixes given nuance by sophisticated layering.

Early artists found that a reddish pink flesh tone looked more realistic if it was laid translucently over a greenish underpainting, becoming nuanced and looking yellowish in places, while the green left to show through looked like cool bluish shadows.

(There is a modern theory that *all* tempera colors look better and more interesting over the chromatic opposite underpainting. It's an interesting approach, although it can become dogmatic.)

I haven't used this technique on minis much, but it's standard in my paintings. In my painting I usually do an umber grisaille, then paint the skin tones in shades of green and white, then glaze them with fairly lurid pinks which are toned down by the colors underneath into subtle and naturalistic skin tones.
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#14 smokingwreckage



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Posted 31 October 2014 - 04:32 AM

( as an aside: .... With miniatures it applies from the other direction as well. If you decide a colour is too pinky reddy, you can carefully glaze blue or green, especially into the shadows, to cool it off. Green orcs looking more like leprechauns? Deep red wash, very light.)

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#15 Bloodhowl



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Posted 31 October 2014 - 06:24 AM

Here are a few links to underpainting:







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