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Hi everyone. I've been thinking a lot about color while painting recently. It's been a major motivation for some of my more recent projects. I wanted to talk about some of the things I've been doing and hoped that some of you would share your thoughts about color choice as well.
First of all, my paint collection is fairly modest. Probably around 50. But I'm a firm believer that you don't need a ton of different paints. I add paints periodically to fill gaps - especially colors that I find myself struggling to mix well (purple continues to be a struggle and I need some better options).
I love the Reaper Triads - they're a great way to expand a collection and get colors that behave well together. Also a great way to teach newer painters the philosophy behind layering. For awhile I was running with the philosophy that I wanted to avoid mixing more than two colors at once. Especially because it's harder to duplicate. I was using the triads a lot as a guide while painting.
However, I have recently pushed away from using triads. I have been playing around with more limited palettes. Not exactly the 3 color challenge, but just really considering whether or not I need to grab a new bottle, or if I can mix what I want using something I already have. With this philosophy, the triads clash. So I definitely find myself grabbing the midtones most often.
I've been thinking of this as "mindfully limited palette." Sometimes I grab the colors I know I want ahead of time, other times I'll grab a new color as I go. Typically this involves a black and a white and then 5 or less unique colors. Often a red, blue, yellow, and brown. Though not necessarily the purest versions of those colors. I might choose a greener blue. Or a brownish red.
There's two ways I've been playing with this. One is by leaning into a more monochromatic palette. I have found it really fun and challenging to try to imagine the setting a mini is in and reflecting that environment in the color choices of the mini. It's also a fun challenge to make many different shades and tones using similar colors. This is what I had in mind while painting this Ice Witch, and Swamp Skeleton.
The other way I have been playing with these limited palettes is to try for a more unified tone, but not necessarily monochrome. There's a painting theory behind a "mother color" where you mix a bit of one color into every other color on your palette. While I haven't gone that far, I have found that reusing colors, even in different mixes, helps unify the piece. Just like balancing colors across the mini. I don't have as many good photos of this, as my best examples are the most recent minis I've been working on - really pushing color variety while using limited paints. This Kobold is sort of like that, though he definitely is a bit more monochromatic. I'll have to come back and add my more colorful examples.
What kind of color theory and challenges have you been playing with to motivate and push your painting? Please feel free to share photo examples. This has been a major source of excitement and motivation in my painting recently and I feel it's really improving my results. I would love to see what everyone else is doing!
77107- Svetlana, Frost Giant Princess
I painted her entirely with two colors, plus white.
I found a long time ago that one could get a broad range of colors, from brilliant blues and firey oranges to soft greys and a deep violet near-black simply by mixing different proportions of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna with white.
So she's not quite a monochrome, more of a duochrome. It was a fun exercise.
The pictures are mostly taken from a low point of view to give a human's-eye look up at the giant.
There is a companion to this figure, 77106- Boerogg Blackrime, Frost Giant Jarl
So Doc had mentioned (I think in "Minis we'd like to see") about how he'd like to have a purple paint for his hat. It made me think if I had a paint, what color would it be?
Feel free to list your choice or other Forumites. I'll try to keep this post updated with the suggestions.
Oh and Anne feel free to run with these
Stanky Sock (White/Yellow)
Ludo Fur Brown
Friendly Rock (grey)
MissMelons's Melons (Green) You were expecting a different color?
Sith Saber (Red)
Ninja Kitty (pinkish purple)
Raven Shadow (Dark Blue)
Barbarian Rage (Red flesh wash)
I tried painting some minis without WIPs and found myself having a hard time keeping track of what and how much I had done. So I'm back, although these may be sporadic and really slow to update. We'll see.
Anyhow, after painting a lot of tiny figures for the January Bones Beauty Pageant, I decided to move in the opposite direction and tackle some of the big figures from Bones I to clear out room for Bones II.
So I am painting dragons. Five of them, if you count the Frost Wyrm. Each one gets its own thread, though, since I don't know how I'm going to progress through them.
First up is Deathsleet, which I am thinking of painting in iridescent colors over a black underpainting. I was inspired by this beautiful version of Reaper's gryphon.
First, I primed the figure with Reaper's Brown Liner, which as has been discovered, makes a fantastic first layer on Bones figures (I am keeping the wings separate for ease of painting).
Then I painted the figure black.
The other dragons I'm painting concurrently are Ebonwrath, the Fire Dragon, the Shadow Dragon, and the Frost Wyrm.
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