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Darklining?


Ishil
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One of the lessons I have learned is 'darkline everything', and I do it religiously. For small things the darkline can be as large as the object itself, even though I take care and use a good brush.

 

On looking at some figures by the expert painters here, I notice that not everything is darklined. So this is a question for the skilled painters. Do you always darkline everything? Or just the most obvious separations between objects? Or is this really a technique for the less advanced painters to use and you grow out of it as you get better?

 

Ishil

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I think it's more taste than anything else, and darklining is just another tool in the box to get an effect.

 

It's pretty common. I blackline, which is even starker than darkline, because that's the look I want. Most painters darkline but with something less extreme. There's even a guy out there (French, I think) who doesn't darkline at all.

 

It's like non-metallic metals. For a while there, that was all the rage and everybody was talking about how if you wanted to be competitive you had to do NMM. But then some creative types started working with demi-metallics instead. Unless she's changed her opinion since, Anne (Vaitalla) mentions in Learn to Paint Kit 5 that she prefers this. And then some other people started experimenting with full-on metals and I've seen shocking results - and now we know that NMM can be good for an artsy feel, and full-on metals done right can give amazing scale realism.

 

Darklining is the same. Techniques, of all kinds, are just the bare bones stuff and every one is a tool in the toolbox. That's where the art of the whole hobby comes in, it's all in how you apply what you have at your disposal.

 

So in short, if darklining suits your style and tastes, then do it. You may discover inventive new ways of applying it. I mean, somebody else had to or we wouldn't know about any techniques. If it doesn't suit you anymore, then try what the french guy did. Maybe you'll like it better that way.

 

Lots of people told me not to blackline, and while I wouldn't say my skills are going to win any contests - I bet if I stopped being lazy and worked on other techniques to complement this part of my style I could totally come up with something different. Still cartoonish, to be sure (that is, after all, what I'm going for) - but with some refinement that could be a distinct look that's very different from what else is out there and still be competitive quality.

 

But I am very, very lazy.

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I used to blackline. Now I do not. I do make a point of delineating contrast points, but I do that in a variety of ways, most notably with brown liner or with a darker shade of one of the colors in question (clothing, etc.)

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I darkine around skin, and in contrasting light-dark areas, but not everywhere. I also use a dark brown, and try to make it super subtle. I like buglips' cartoony style, and have been contemplating experimenting with a heavy black line, on a mini or two.

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I don't and never have. I think it looks stupid to have a black outline around things. But that's been the popular style for many years.

 

I agree about the black, unless you are going for Buglips' cartoon cel look. But using a darker hue subtly often yields a nuanced effect that looks good.

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I agree with people that lining everything is definitely personal taste, however it is useful to do in moderation and most paint jobs could benefit from one or two small parts lined. So it's something everyone should consider trying out.

 

Take, for example, this thug I painted up a year ago (sorry about the strong blue background). The only places I lined are down the middle of the shirt (where the buttons are) and around the edges of the Lapel. It may not look like they were lined, but that's the point, I wanted the split down the shirt and the lapels to be defined as the like colors around them caused those features to be lost without the line. Before I lined the middle of the shirt that feature didn't really appear in photos.

 

post-6838-13211716938249_thumb.jpg

 

Sometimes (like on skin) when I want to do a line I try hide it and make what I'm doing not look like a dark line but part of the shade. I'll show you what I mean in this picture from my WIP thread (look around the ears, eyes, brows and nose).

 

post-6838-0-30032100-1343522229_thumb.jpg

 

When I shade I tend to use two colors and when I want to "line" something I bring in a third color thats darker and a little bit different color. In the image I posted I'm shading down from P3 Rusk sack Tan with various Reaper Browns. When I want the shadow to be defining (in other words a line) I'm using P3 Sanguine Base mixed with a bit of black. This is a darker color that will give more contrast and yet the purple will distinguish this level of shading from the rest very subtly so it looks more natural in my opinion.

 

I'll use both methods when I paint as each are good for different scenarios (straight liners are good for small areas and where you're shading something that's non-organic) but they're just my personal taste and style.

 

One last thing to add is never use straight black for a liner, black should be avoided as much as possible when painting, as it's just too strong of a shade and can make the lining look more cartoony (if you want that go for it though). You should use dark, dark browns, blues and red\purples (warm colors). Reaper sells three liners in the MSPs and they're great.

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It's an Privateer Press Ogrun from their Iron Kingdoms RPG line. It's OOP, which means if you shop around you can get him for around $8, but with the new IKRPG coming out next week the miniature line prices may go up as PP have said they don't plan on putting them back into production.

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That's a fine-looking thug you got there, Monkey sloth, but he could use some more strong lining! :devil:

 

And since Monkeysloth was good enough to share his fantastic subtle lining, here's my recent example of the complete polar opposite of subtlety:

 

 

So there's a whole heck of a lot of wiggle room when it comes to taste.

 

distance.jpg

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Apart from the torch, your darklining doesn't look particularly blatant, Buglips. I can't see anything wrong with that.

 

Ishil

 

It's only blatant because it's all blackline, which is quite a bit starker than most like to do. But as your reply shows, it's not necessarily a worse look - just different. More old school.

 

It's cool that a few other people think the look has its charms too, but I just do them this way because I like the look. I'd do it even if the unanimous reaction was that it was bad. Real bad. Face-meltingly awful, like looking at the ghosts from the Ark.

 

That'd keep people from touching them, anyway. :upside:

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