Jump to content

Flesh wash help, please


Recommended Posts

There have been several comments, both here and on other forums, that my minis have needed more highlights/shading to make it "pop". It was suggested to use a flesh wash, but I think I'm doing it wrong.


I'm working on a mini (Anastacia 2070) for my daughter, so I want to do it really well. I'm using Tanned Skin for the shadows, Rosy Skin for the basecoat and Rosy Highlight for the highlights since I'm wanting it to be fair-skinned.


First, I tried my usual approach of washing the mini with the shadow color and working my way up to the highlights. Once the highlights were done, I gave it a wash (12:1 water/paint) using the shadow color. Once dry, the highlights were gone and the skin looked dirty. I stripped it, painted it the same way and then washed it, only this time I used the basecoat color instead of the shadow. This caused the shadows to lighten and the highlights were lost.


I stripped it again, this time doing the basecoat, blocking in the shadows and then giving it a wash with the same ratio using the basecoat color. This washed out the shadows, making them lighter in color. I tried to repaint the shadows, but it wasn't coming out right. So, I've stripped it yet again; however, before I start in on it again, I could use a little help, please.


I've done some looking around for how to do this, but I can't seem to see what I'm doing wrong.


Could someone please tell me what I'm missing? Is there some step that I've overlooked?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 13
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Reaper User

There are people far better at this than I am, but I'll throw in my $.000002 just in case.


You could try "brown-lining" all of the lines and crevices before doing your basecoat, leaving a dark outline in the nooks and crannies. This is what a lot of the more expeienced painters do, but I haven't been able to make it work well yet, largely due to shaky hands.


If you do a wash, try this: Do your base color (probably your shadow color), then pick a slightly darker color for your wash. Add your midtones and highlights after the wash dries. (and don't forget to lightly Dull-Cote between layers ^_^ ) That way, you're deepening your shadows before adding the lighter colors, so the wash won't dull them down. Also, you might want to add some very, very small highlights that go up to an ivory or off-white.


If you've got a figure that a) you can afford to strip over and over, and b) has a lot of skin to practice on, you might want to experiment a couple of times before tackling the more important figure.


I hope this helps, at least until a real painter can straighten things out! :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

It sounds like you might be overthinning your paint. Which brand are you using?


I find that if I use too much water instead of flow improver for the MSPs, I get the sort of effect you describe, though with MSPs I reach that point at around 4-6:1 water:paint. A flow improver will help this some.


I find that at this point in the development of my painting skill, I'm much better off doing one of two things - As in my recent post of Lucinda, I basecoated in a liner color, then carefully highlighted up with white, so that I just left a line of the base color at the edges, and the base color tinted my highlights when they were done. I've also found that adding the darklining (1.5:1 water:MSP liner) after the fact works well too, and I use both depending on the situation. Thus endeth my discourse on lining. Now to answer your real question.


I find that I can't wash over a whole area without dulling my highlights. Here's a sequence of paint that I use for flesh:

1. White primer

2. Paint the whole flesh bit the midtone from a flesh triad, let's pick Rosy Skin this time.

3. Wash with Dark Skin

4. Re-highlight most of it with Rosy skin again.

5. At some point, paint the eyes and mouth and whatnot.

6. Highlight with Rosy highlight

7. Highlight with Linen white, but carefully.

8. Darkline, as described above.


Does that help at all?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First off, stop stripping the minis!


For skin, I will basecoat with my shade color. After this, I'll darkline with a thinned down brown liner. I'm not overly careful when I brownline either, because afterwards, I'll clean up where I was sloppy by painting with the shade color. From there, I'll highlight up.


I don't use washes very often, but when I do, I frequently cover up places I've already painted. This just means I'll have to go back and fix the places which were affected by the wash that I didn't want. Losing your highlights from washing/glazing isn't really cause to strip a mini. As long as your paint is reasonably thin, you can paint alot of layers without losing detail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also be careful that the color you're washing with isn't too dark, or cool/hot relative to the flesh tone. If it is, it will dirty the flesh color, and look out of place.


If you are using MSPs, try sticking to the fleshtone triads as this makes it easy. For a shading wash, I often use Burnt Sienna as a base ( A red-orange brown ). YOu can then mix it with black to make it darker, or tone it with other colors to change racial skin tones. Chestnut ink, and flesh shade ink are also very burnt-sienna-y colors.


The nice thing about burnt sienna like colors as a wash is that they unify the skintones as a whole, and are still dark enough to shade the recesses (especially if you add black).


If you take burnt-sienna (or similair browns ) and add white, you get a good flesh tone base. And this is exactly what it's used for in painting. It's such a handy color.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok...I can try to toss my hat into the ring here too, I guess. :blues:


(click me and make me bigger.)


Is this kinda what you are experiencing just before stripping the mini?


If so...This is using to dark of a stain/ wash and using too much ov it, evectively "varnishing" the recesses of this barbarian.


I use inks...but i water them down and ad a dot of pigment from my paint to them. Seems to work out ok most of the time. I use the ink washes to take the edge off of extreme highlight and layering catastrophes. (Happens more than you would think.) So I will primer...then a wash to bring out detail. Then base coat and 1 hi-light. Then a dark wash. Then 2 hi-light. Then a light wash(watered down.) Then another 2 stager, then a light wash.


How I do it. Not Law, not sayin' it is right...just what works for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much to everyone that replied. It's great that you took your time to help a new guy out. I know I keep saying it, but I think it's important that all of you know how great it is that you help out and how much it is appreciated.


Talin: I'll always take any help or advice I can get. I tried dark lining first; unfortuantely, I tend to go over it (accidently) in places while painting the flesh color. When I try to fix the lining, I paint the skin. Then it turns in into a back-and-forth thing where I'm lining, covering it up, lining again, covering it up. You get the point. I wasn't aware of using Dull Cote between layers. What does that do?


This mini does indeed have a lot of flesh to work on. Seriously, I will paint a mini soon that actually has more clothing or armor (or both) than exposed flesh.


Frosch: I'm using MSPs. I know it comes with flow improver, but it was my understanding that for a wash, you want it extremely thin; the suggested ratios I've seen are 10 - 12:1. Your approach looks good, so I'll give it a try. (Lucinda looks great, btw)


flynn: Is stripping them a bad thing? I assume you saw my reply to Talin, so you know about my Adventures In Lining. However, I hadn't tried covering with the shadow color and highlighting up. That definitely gives me some ideas. As for the layers, I know that I can apply a few without losing detail, but I tend to apply a lot of layers. It seems like the more I learn, the harder it becomes and requires so much more paint.


Crusoe the Painter: I also like the Burnt Sienna. I find it's great for darkening flesh tones without having to use black. I am using MSPs, but my collection of paints is growing slowly since I can't afford to buy too many at a time. In fact, most of my MSPs are the little sample pots, so that's the only reason I actually have a selection to choose from. I will keep the flesh triads in mind though. Thanks.


Redhandstudios: Kind of. I probably should have taken pictures to show what was happening (note to myself to do that in the future). I know that each person has their own way of doing things; that's why I'm trying to get as many different points-of-view as I can. I can either try it one way or combine different ways to make my own or whatever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do it simpler, and find it gives me the results I want. I simply basecoat with the midtone, do an all over wash with the shadow (which tends to darken everything), then I highlight with the base color and work my way up, and then at the end I'll blend it all in with a thin glaze of the base color to smooth things out.


I have a real nice Marilith that shows this, but I'm having camera issues so it might be a while before I have a pic to show what I mean.


Generally I'm of the school of thought that simpler is better so I try to find methods that produce good results without an overwhelming expenditure of time and effort.


You can also modify this to base with shadow, highlight up, and then glaze with a midtone to blend things together.


Diff'rent strokes, lemme hear ya sing it! :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know how this work for others but my method for skin calls for me to base coat the entire area with my Shadow. I then Dark Line, fix my dark line with my shadow color, and then high light up from there. I don't wash skin I can't keep it from looking like the mini rolled in the dirt. Well Unless I want that look. I am not excellent at this; still very much amateur at technique and painting, but it’s the best results I’ve had so far. Now I am working on the patience to work with thinner paints so I don’t get the grainy texture to my Mini’s.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buy a jar of Ceramcoat Burnt Sienna from your local Joanne's/Michaels then.


Works just as well for washes.


The other thing too, is that the higher areas will get a bit dirtied by the wash, that is inevitable. So you'll come back and clean them up later with the base color again.


Or starting from white primer, wash the flesh ares with dark tone, and then paint up to the high areas. That way you won't care if the wash got on the high areas, it'll be painted over! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the mini that I mentioned in the first post. Maybe this should be in the WIP area, but I'm putting here because I'm needing help with the flesh tones still.


Here are the steps that I've done so far:


Washed with Tanned Skin/Dark Brown (10:2:1 water/TS/DB)

Basecoat of Tanned Skin (1:1 water/paint) and leaving the dark lining - 2 coats

1st highlight with Rosy Skin/Tanned Skin (3:1:3 water/RS/TS) - 2 coats

2nd highlight with Rosy Skin/Tanned Skin (3:2:2) - 2 coats


That's where this is at now. There's still a couple more degrees of highlights to go, but it just seems to be coming out wrong. Yes, the top picture is a bit dark. I tried to lighten it up a bit, but it was washing the color out (still figuring out my photo program). And yes, I tend to be a bit messy with the paint. But, as some of you have probably seen, I do a pretty good clean-up job.


Anyway, if someone could perhaps give a bit of advice as to what I'm doing wrong, I'd really appreciate it.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...