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Way, way back in junior high school I recall an art teacher telling us that all skin tones were a combination of white, yellow, red, and brown. I've never tried to paint anybody with really dark skin, but for the figures/pictures I have done playing around with those four colours has always worked.

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Way, way back in junior high school I recall an art teacher telling us that all skin tones were a combination of white, yellow, red, and brown. I've never tried to paint anybody with really dark skin, but for the figures/pictures I have done playing around with those four colours has always worked.

 

See, and I do them using white, yellow, red, and blue. Which just goes to show that all rules are made to be messed with when you're talking art...

 

--Anne ::):

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Anne,

 

That's fantastic information, thanks!

 

I know there are conversion and equivalency charts stickied at the top of the forum, but has anyone ever undertaken to equate the RMS with some of the standard oil colors, like phthalo blue, Davy's gray, titanium while, alizarin crimson, sap green, etc. etc. I know that those colors vary somewhat between manufacturers, but it would still be nice to have it as a further reference.

 

Unfortunately this is almost impossible. You can succeed to a point--I've tried it in the past and what you will keep running up against first are two contradictory rules regarding the characteristics of hobby paint vs. artist colors.

 

1. Hobby Paint is, at this point, always made to be as opaque as possible (coverage) even if it sacrifices of clarity of hue.

2. Artists' paints are made to be as true to the pure pigment as possible, and the coverage factor thus varies widely according to the base coverage of the pigment in question.

 

Now, remember when you read the above that transparency is PART of what makes a color look like itself, and the most transparent medium is oils. If you take out an Alizarin Crimson oil paint and try to match it with a base red acrylic model paint, you will be endlessly frustrated. You will NEVER be able to match that incredible bloody vibrant intensity with acrylics (at least not as they stand currently...you never know what science will do down the road). So what it comes down to is getting close, as you say, and when I thinned that Alizarin Crimson oil and thinned MSP Clear Red, they came close, so that is what we've got. If I tried to take an Acrylic Alizarin Crimson tube paint I could probably find something to tweak, but I'm betting that thinned it would still look mostly the same.

 

Now, the second thing fighting you here is that these two worlds of paint use, in many if not most cases, very different pigments. There is no way in bloody blazes that you are going to find a real Cadmium Red ever produced by Reaper because we care what happens if a little kid gets a hold of a bottle of our paint and decides it's a cocktail. The same goes for many other pigments used by classical artists which are very bad for you if ingested or inhaled. Instead we use what we'll call "chemical concoctions" which are pigments formulated by a colorant lab to be very close to those actual pigment colors. Some actually are the same; our white is a Titanium White, our black is a Lamp Black, our blue is a Pthalo blue (green shade; we also use a red shade Pthalo blue in some colors). But our two yellow pigments are organic concoctions, one of which might kind of be similiar to Cadmium Yellow Light--but it isn't cadmium, so it's not the same, and it won't act the same, quite, as that pigment, especially when you're mixing.

 

Finally, the THIRD thing fighting you is financial limitations leading to lack of variety. You go to an art supplies site and you see a hundred colors of paint using all sorts of pigments. Reaper? We got TEN pigments. Yep, everything is made from those ten. In most cases, with the companies we work with, we couldn't get more if we tried; they maybe offer two or three more colors than we use. That's a big difference between working with an art company (MUCH more expensive and thus impractical--have you seen what they charge for a tube of Cobalt Blue these days? Criminal!) and the organic colorant companies who are in the business of making a small number of pigments for the greatest utility in mixing. You should have seen it a while back when I was trying to find a product through our suppliers--I wanted a Burnt Umber pigment. No one knew what the heck I was talking about. Burnt Umber! Mainstay of artists for literally centuries! Can you imagine the looks on their faces if I tried to ask for Rose Madder or Sap Green?? It's just not in their world.

 

So, thank you for asking a great question, and letting me go into "explainy-mode". ::): Hopefully this clears some of that up for you!

 

Bottom line: best way to get a true artist-color for miniature painting is to see if Liquitex makes one in that fluid paints line they worked up a while back, if that's still around. Or learn to use the tube paints, but you'll probably need to mix 'em with a medium of some sort to get them to play nice at the level we thin them to.

 

--Anne ::):

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Absolutely spot on! I would also suggest painting historical figures. Vallejo makes the base color, but after that you are on your own. I've really found this has stretched me because now I start looking for good colors to darken and lighten military colors, and white and black don't always fit the bill.

 

See now, and here I'm the crazy girl who likes to mix her own feldgrau. In comparing actual German uniform fabric (yes, Ed actually has some in his office!) to Vallejo, I actually found it a little lacking. The closest I could find was a center line between Vallejo and Polly S/Testor's. So that's what our Field Grey in the new Pro Paints line is. :;):

 

Most of the serious historicals painters I know mix their own hues based as closely on uniform samples or reference books as they can find, but of course with dye batches and weathering it'll all be off anyway! :lol:

 

The point being, yes you are absolutely right, painting historicals can exercise your mixing skills and your sense of color and contrast, especially since you are usually working with limited palettes of a more muted nature than most of us are used to. ::):

 

--Anne ::D:

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Very interesting posts! I was curious about the pigments/process Reaper uses to formulate the paint. When I first started painting minis I thought I could use some of the acrylic tubes I had leftover from school (variety of companies mostly student grade with a few better quality ones at least for the stronger primaries, Winsor Newton, Liquitex etc). But I found that comparatively to paint formulated for miniatures, I really felt like I was fighting the tube paint to get good consistency. It's also good to know that Reaper paints aren't toxic! ::): I remember in class our teachers were really adamant about watching how we'd handle the paint (don't get it on cuticles etc -absorbs faster into the skin). It's pretty toxic stuff. I really got into the Pre Raphaelites at one point and wanted to learn some of their methods. They would prime their canvas with Lead White, because it was highly reflective of light and thus cool to use with oils, made the colors really seem to glow. But it's so hazardous to health it can not be bought anymore I think and the closest comparable thing was Flake White (which still has alot of lead in it). Anyways long story short, I would definetly look at what's in the paint make up if going to use acrylic and/or oil paint intended for canvas use.

 

Having used the mini paints, there aren't many cases where I would head back to my tube paints. But everything is trial and error. Also I was curious, but haven't done a test yet myself (been meaning to..) of how lightfast mini paints are. I haven't seen noticeable change which is great and I'm sure also that spraying with some sealers will help slow down that process of fading. I do know that some types of acrylic and oil paint are extremely fugitive due to the pigments, (react really badly to sunlight) and will fade quite drastically from what the original color was. It's been a while and I'm still foggy from no coffee, but I'm pretty sure Alizarin crimson and manganese blue are like this among others. So I suppose that's something to look for as well if you are planning on using the tube kind. Ok ending ramble :blush: I was happy to see posts about paint makeup!

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Also I was curious, but haven't done a test yet myself (been meaning to..) of how lightfast mini paints are. I haven't seen noticeable change which is great and I'm sure also that spraying with some sealers will help slow down that process of fading. I do know that some types of acrylic and oil paint are extremely fugitive due to the pigments, (react really badly to sunlight) and will fade quite drastically from what the original color was. It's been a while and I'm still foggy from no coffee, but I'm pretty sure Alizarin crimson and manganese blue are like this among others. So I suppose that's something to look for as well if you are planning on using the tube kind.

 

What? Another Anne who's interested in paint chemistry? Can the world handle two of us? :;):

 

Re: Lightfastness:

 

I did actually research this at length a year or two ago and I think I may have made a post on it somewhere, but can't find it now. ::(: In a nutshell, though, the colorant companies we use for our pigments make them for industrial coatings and house paint companies as well, so they have a relatively high lightfastness (you'd have to put 'em in full sunlight for months or even years to see any change for most colors). It does vary by pigment and I remember that the most fragile in this regard was the Magenta (violet).

 

With normal storage, out of direct sunlight, you should not see variation. I've got minis that have been sitting on a shelf in my room or my husband's, near to a window but not in direct sunlight for a couple years and they haven't suffered (I imagine that the actual UV hitting them is quite low).

 

I did find out an interesting fact about paint fading while I was researching, and that is that it actually does NOT actually change the color! UV light instead causes crystallization of the pigment and the crystallization gives the appearance of a faded color. ::): Other things that affect color fading are the degree of moisture or pollutants present in the environment, the pigment density and particle size, and whether the pigment is organic or inorganic in nature. But now we're really getting into chemistry. :;): And we're also getting off-topic...so I'll be quiet now!

 

Any more questions on skin tones/mixing thereof?

 

--Anne ::D:

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Any more questions on skin tones/mixing thereof?

--Anne

 

 

I have one about the 6 color system used to train artists to understand color mentioned on the W&N site:

 

http://www.winsornewton.com/main.aspx?PageID=272

 

Let's say I have two yellows, two reds, two blues set up like they show it.

 

What do I do with it?

 

Just paint as usual within the parameters of the six colors?

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Hmm if I was going to try this I might use a warm and cool shade of each to see what kind of colors I could get from using them, at 1st combining just within the temperature and then mixing and matching. I haven't tried working like that with just primaries before on a mini, it would be an interesting experiment. There is an interesting article on paint 'temperature' and painting skin here (has been posted elsewhere on here, just seemed useful to repost) http://spanish-team.com/foro/viewtopic.php?t=4096 where the painter was using warmer shades for highlighted areas and cooler shades for the shadows to accentuate the "3D" aspect of the mini. Also I have seen alot of tutorial articles where the painters were trying to use some techniques that are similar to oil painting, using very thin watery layers, to create a richer variety of color going on. In that regard using unusual colors for shadow areas or as accents can help the figures' flesh, hair, etc appear more visually interesting.

 

@Vaitalla, Yay Anne Power! ::D: (I was kind of a noob when making a forum name hahaha! Sort of similar to my Morrowind saved games.. everyone in my house had exotic character names and then there's 'Anne the Wood Elf' ).

Also you are absolutely correct about the pigment not being the culprit with regard to the fading! There was a National Geographic articel a ways back on the restoration of the Sistene Chapel, and they wouldn't have been able to do that if the pigment itself was altered. It was also pretty crazy how bright the original colors were!

 

Sorry I sidetracked abit initially in this thread, the coffee was still brewing :;):

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I have one about the 6 color system used to train artists to understand color mentioned on the W&N site:

 

http://www.winsornewton.com/main.aspx?PageID=272

 

Let's say I have two yellows, two reds, two blues set up like they show it.

 

What do I do with it?

 

Just paint as usual within the parameters of the six colors?

 

That's a more complex question than you think. :;): Did you follow their advice and go to the color mixing section of their website? Here's a link if you haven't. ::):

 

Now, that posted, the purpose of working with a six-color palette is to teach you to get more comfortable with mixing color. The only way to do that is to play with it! So if you are going to play with six colors I would start mixing colors--first two together, then a different two, then a little more of one into the other, then a little less of this or that...see how many colors you can produce. How are they different? Can you see how the different pigments interact? Now start mixing two and than adding in a tiny bit of a third. How do the characteristics of the paint change now? How dark can you get with just these hues? What is your dark color like? How light can you get? Could you actually paint a mini this way? Grab a cheap test mini and apply the colors you're working with to get a feel for opacity and texture. Cheat and nab a bit of white and work with tints of the colors you've mixed. Thin them down and see how the color alters. See if you CAN paint a mini this way!

 

Even though the website gives you a six-color system (they are trying to give you a sense of how to mix a clean secondary color and the difference between green-shade and red-shade blues, for example), you can do the same thing with any three paints. This lesson is of value if you can take the time to look at what you're doing, to examine the qualities of the paint--which yellow mixed with which red makes a "cleaner" orange? Which red mixed with which blue gives a purple with greater coverage? Which colors are the most transparent?

 

And how is this stuff useful? Well, when I go on vacation and I want to take some painting stuff with me just in case, I put together a sandwich baggie with maybe a dozen colors in it--and I can mix everything I need from there. What if I need to touch up a mini and I've only got access to a paint line I'm not familiar with? A bit of mixing and chances are I can match the color I need, near enough. Most important, the stress and doubt are gone from paint mixing, and I'm free to follow my artistic instincts and just play. :;):

 

--Anne ::D:

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I don't have anything to really add since I'm a paint noober but this thread has be fantastic to read.

It's given me some great stuff to practice and work on. I just got my first batches of RMS paints and I really love them so far.

I have some of those other (Not sure if I'm allowed to mention youknowshop and whatstheirfacellejo paints) paints and they are very nice as well but so far I have to say I prefer the color of the RMS. I especially enjoyed when Anne goes into "esplainy mode". Very informational! Thank you!

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Not to derail the thread, but Sinister Brain, feel free to mention any product from any manufacturer whatsoever. Heck, Reaper allows and gives prizes for any company's miniatures at their convention in May; feel free to talk about anything regarding the hobby you feel like ::D:.

 

Thanks for the clarification. I always try to err on the side of caution. Some companies just don't care for that kind of stuff in general chatting. Since I'm new here, I thought I'd be safe. Don't need to Reaper Gods/Goddess' to hurt me.

Sorry for the minor derail, please continue! ::D:

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Update: I heard that orange is the base for Asian Indian skin but I haven't tried it yet.

 

Here's a link to a good video with skin mixing a few minutes into it, by the Andrea paint & figure company.

 

Whoa. WAY too much paint on that brush when he starts to apply the color to the skin areas!! And paint right over the ferrule, too. Kids, don't try that at home...

 

Instead, after mixing/thinning your color, rinse your brush off, assuming you are even using the same brush to mix as you are to apply...which I don't, but some people do. Form it into a nice point. Then dip your brush only halfway (at most two-thirds) into the paint before applying it, and dab a good bit of the color off before touching brush to figure. Otherwise, unless you're an expert (and sometimes even if you are!) the paint will be more likely to go out of control and get into places you don't want it.

 

That tutorial doesn't come off as very basic to me. I think a beginner duplicating that consistency of paint plus the load on that brush would be likely to run into issues and the paint up over the ferrule just makes me think of bad painting habits forming.

 

On the other side, the little series of color plus color equals skintone x is nice.

 

--Anne

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