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GuyWithCoolBackpack

Need help improving my leather

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Could anyone point me toward a good guide for leather? As you can see by my latest attempt my leather is pretty underwhelming. At least part of this is that I don't have a lot of good colors to mix. I have an overabundance of good leather base colors, but nothing to shade my browns down save for walnut brown, which is so strong it might as well be black. i've had some luck with lightening my leathers with fleshtones, but for the most part I'm pretty directionless when it comes to what paint I want to put where. Shiny leather, matte leather, and *especially* tiny leather like the belts and bags that everyone seems to have.

 

Thanks!

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I'm in the same boat for this as you are!

So I'll be watching this thread. XD

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I don't have a guide, but I can give you a few tips.

 

First, leather comes in all kinds of colors, but most people think of it as a dark brown. You've got more of a tan going on there. Not that that can't work - I've got both dark and light going here.

http://www.coolminiornot.com/310869

 

For the most part, I just base boots/belts/small bits with a dark brown (P3 Battlefield Brown in my case), then use a black wash to create quick shadows and use a lighter brown for quick highlights.

On a larger surface, you need to do a little more blending/mixing to keep your transitions smooth, but it can be done with a dark and medium brown, or even a dark brown and white in a pinch.

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Walnut brown can be great for shading leather. I actually prefer that to black ( unless the desired look is black leather). The thing with walnut brown is that you can mix it with lighter browns for a less contrasting shade.

 

Walnut will make a great wash shade but it might be too dark to use unmixed as an opaque shadow color depending on your other colors.

 

What are the lighter colors you are using?

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Coat d' Arms sell old-school (1990s) Brown Wash, which is a translucent brown ink. It's a reddish brown, quite intense, fairly dark. It doesn't act like recent "out of the bottle" shading washes. It stains the surface it's painted on. Over a bone or other very very light brown it can make a nice, intense, leathery brown with a bit of depth and sheen, like oiled leather.

 

So, in short, consider using a red-brown ink of some sort.

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Coat d' Arms sell old-school (1990s) Brown Wash, which is a translucent brown ink. It's a reddish brown, quite intense, fairly dark. It doesn't act like recent "out of the bottle" shading washes. It stains the surface it's painted on. Over a bone or other very very light brown it can make a nice, intense, leathery brown with a bit of depth and sheen, like oiled leather.

 

So, in short, consider using a red-brown ink of some sort.

 

Inks can be great for shading but there are a couple things to be aware of before covering an area with them.

 

1) Don't use a good natural hair brush. The ink isn't friendly to them.

 

2) Pure ink can produce a very deep shade but dries to a very shiny finish. Its frustrating to have your deepest recesses dark yet shiny. While experimenting with old Citadel inks, I found that adding a mixture of matte medium and water to the ink helped a lot with the shine issue.

 

About the only ink I still use undiluted these days is chestnut over metallic gold.

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Walnut brown can be great for shading leather. I actually prefer that to black ( unless the desired look is black leather). The thing with walnut brown is that you can mix it with lighter browns for a less contrasting shade.

 

Walnut will make a great wash shade but it might be too dark to use unmixed as an opaque shadow color depending on your other colors.

 

What are the lighter colors you are using?

That's part of my problem, I don't have any really good leather highlight colors. Or at least, nothing that is clearly designed to be 'leather highlight'. I still have my Paizo gift certificates from ReaperCon, and a nice leather highlight color (or two) is on my wish list, but at the moment i'm just guessing at things. I've been using Linen White (in small quantities) to bring up the color a little, and I've had some luck by using Tanned Shadow, but nothing that makes me think I've cracked the code.

 

And I'll agree that Walnut is better than black, because shading with black is almost never the right idea, but it's just *so* dark. I'm still relatively amateur when it comes to mixing colors and managing my paint consistency, and it's hard enough to get the color right when the shade color is nearby. When it's that dark, my shadows just tend to look so dark as to be kinda fake.

Edited by GuyWithCoolBackpack

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I find that a dark background with warm red-brown highlights works reasonably well. In some cases I've brought it up to almost orange.

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If you want a semi-gloss effect, you'll need to push your highlights and shadows farther and make the transitions smooth, but faster than normal. For a gloss effect, farther and smoother still.

 

For colors, if you have a medium brown and walnut brown, just mix them for shadow colors. For highlights, mix your brown with orange, yellow, light green, or a combination (depending on the effect you want). A wet palette works well for this, as it allows you to see what you're getting* before it goes on the figure.

 

* Caveat: Some colors are very different from their dry color when wet. You'll need to experiment a bit, but it's not difficult.

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Are you shading my mixing drops of paint together? If so, it can be hard to keep the dark color from overpowering the light color (because you'll need a 4:1 ratio or more). Instead, put down a drop of each a little ways away from each other on your palette, then grab a brushful of the dark and mix it into the light. Repeat as necessary to get the color you want.

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I don't know if there is a leather painting code to crack.

 

Personally, I would go look at real world examples of leather, look at how light flows over it, how and where it highlights and with what colors, how it discolors and shades in wrinkles and worn spots, and how large pieces of it look different from small ones, how tooled leather is treated, etc. I would recommend sitting down with a leather garment in front of you and trying to paint it, even just as a quick exercise on apiece of paper.

 

Only then would I try to recreate leather in paint on a mini.

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So looking at what you've done here are some suggestions. You, like almost everyone here, are afraid of darker shadows and brighter highlights. The color of your leather is irrelevant. Pick a color that looks right to you and then paint it. For a basic brown leather I paint mine RMS Intense Brown, shaded with Walnut Brown, 1st highlight of Oiled Leather, and a 2nd highlight of a mix of Oiled Leather and Leather White. Mind you I'm futzing with the blends and mixes but this is a good start.

Here are some figures I entered in the RCon painting competition this year and the main critique on my leather was highlights didn't go far enough. But this should give you some samples of leather to help you along.

Edited by psyberwolfe1
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Walnut brown can be great for shading leather. I actually prefer that to black ( unless the desired look is black leather). The thing with walnut brown is that you can mix it with lighter browns for a less contrasting shade.

 

Walnut will make a great wash shade but it might be too dark to use unmixed as an opaque shadow color depending on your other colors.

 

What are the lighter colors you are using?

That's part of my problem, I don't have any really good leather highlight colors. Or at least, nothing that is clearly designed to be 'leather highlight'. I still have my Paizo gift certificates from ReaperCon, and a nice leather highlight color (or two) is on my wish list, but at the moment i'm just guessing at things. I've been using Linen White (in small quantities) to bring up the color a little, and I've had some luck by using Tanned Shadow, but nothing that makes me think I've cracked the code.

 

And I'll agree that Walnut is better than black, because shading with black is almost never the right idea, but it's just *so* dark. I'm still relatively amateur when it comes to mixing colors and managing my paint consistency, and it's hard enough to get the color right when the shade color is nearby. When it's that dark, my shadows just tend to look so dark as to be kinda fake.

 

If you are working with a really limited paint selection then its time to get creative. To get started from basic colors you will need just a basic medium green and plain old red. Start with a 50/50 mix and tweak it from there. The more red you add the more reddish brown you will get. Add in some of your walnut to get a shade tone to the base mix and add a bit of the linen white to get a highlight. Experiment with the mixing ratios and do small amounts to test without wasting too much paint.

 

For variety toss in a dash of orange if you have it. If not then mix some red & yellow and make some. As long as you you have white, black, and all the primary colors you can make anything you want with enough experimenting.

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There are so many different ways of painting leather that it's hard to suggest a specific formula - it all depends on what you're trying to achieve. But...

 

That's part of my problem, I don't have any really good leather highlight colors. Or at least, nothing that is clearly designed to be 'leather highlight'. I still have my Paizo gift certificates from ReaperCon, and a nice leather highlight color (or two) is on my wish list, but at the moment i'm just guessing at things. I've been using Linen White (in small quantities) to bring up the color a little, and I've had some luck by using Tanned Shadow, but nothing that makes me think I've cracked the code.

 

 

You don't need to worry too much about having specific paints for highlighting, just try adding some white (I usually use Tusk Ivory) to your mid tone.

 

 

And I'll agree that Walnut is better than black, because shading with black is almost never the right idea, but it's just *so* dark. I'm still relatively amateur when it comes to mixing colors and managing my paint consistency, and it's hard enough to get the color right when the shade color is nearby. When it's that dark, my shadows just tend to look so dark as to be kinda fake.

 

Try watering your Walnut down to a thin wash; it won't be too dark then and should give you a nice shade.

Edited by Furongian

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So looking at what you've done here are some suggestions. You, like almost everyone here, are afraid of darker shadows and brighter highlights. The color of your leather is irrelevant. Pick a color that looks right to you and then paint it. For a basic brown leather I paint mine RMS Intense Brown, shaded with Walnut Brown, 1st highlight of Oiled Leather, and a 2nd highlight of a mix of Oiled Leather and Leather White. Mind you I'm futzing with the blends and mixes but this is a good start.

 

Here are some figures I entered in the RCon painting competition this year and the main critique on my leather was highlights didn't go far enough. But this should give you some samples of leather to help you along.

 

++ to this.

 

Personally I find that I like to shade brown leathers with dark purples, reds or just browns then highlight up with flesh tones. Final highlights can be either a leather white or something like fair skin highlight or golden skin highlight (sometimes I mix these as well).

 

The other thing that's nice about leather is if you're painting it worn then you don't have to be awesome on your blending as the you want it to look rough to look natural.

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