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I'm painting this Elf Thief up and I am having problems with getting this cloak to work. Let me show you what I've done and then explain my problem.

 

post-12251-0-39583300-1383867163_thumb.jpg

I like the idea of what I'm trying to do here, but the execution is poor. This billowing cloak is like a canvas and I want to do more than just paint it and highlight it. From three feet away, this looks pretty cool, but close up, it's rubbish. What I want is this purple with what looks like blue flames coming up the back.

 

I tried to wet blend, but it was rubbish. Would this work if I went in and made my free hand very fine and tidy? Would it work if I outlined the light outer blue in black? In a nutshell, does anyone have suggestions for how to make this work?

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What if you reverse the order of the blues and put the lighter one at the bottom then blend or layer up to the darker blue?

Flames are typically hotter (and therefore brighter) at the bottom where the fuel source is and the darker blues might transition better into the purple of the cloak.

I really love the idea of the flames on the cloak, I think it makes for a much more interesting and fun piece.

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I agree with Dan. That is the way flames work. I would outline the separation at the top too, with some color that would enhance both red and purple... they are so similat that now, the union looks like mud.

 

Like a thin yellow/golden line?

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I also agree with the others, swapping out the two blue colors to give it the more realistic flame. I'm not skilled enough to pull it off yet, but I've seen it done with normal flames as freehand by others using a lot of blending.

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I'd approach this as follows:

 

1. Paint the whole cloak purple, highlighting it all the way until the purple is done.

2. Block in the flames in Creamy Ivory, giving yourself a creamy "canvas" for the flames

3. Paint the flames base color and highlight it. You could leave a fine line of the ivory as a nimbus around the flames

4. Block in the flame secondary color in Creamy Ivory.

5. Paint in the secondary flame color and highlight it.

6. Touch up everything.

 

Creamy Ivory has a large particle size and works well to cover dark colors and acts very well as a back drop to get vibrant colors. Part of the issue I see here is that you are trying to do all three together instead of breaking each component into its own project. This is causing you more work and your losing vibrancy.

 

My 2-cents. Good luck.

 

Andy

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Thank you all so much for your suggestions. I put the dark blue at the bottom because I was thinking about how things should get darker as the cloak curls under, away from the light. I did the light blue at the top as that is where more light will hit the cloak. I'm glad to know that the idea is a good one, if I can pull it off.

 

 

I'd approach this as follows:

 

1. Paint the whole cloak purple, highlighting it all the way until the purple is done.

2. Block in the flames in Creamy Ivory, giving yourself a creamy "canvas" for the flames

3. Paint the flames base color and highlight it. You could leave a fine line of the ivory as a nimbus around the flames

4. Block in the flame secondary color in Creamy Ivory.

5. Paint in the secondary flame color and highlight it.

6. Touch up everything.

 

Creamy Ivory has a large particle size and works well to cover dark colors and acts very well as a back drop to get vibrant colors. Part of the issue I see here is that you are trying to do all three together instead of breaking each component into its own project. This is causing you more work and your losing vibrancy.

 

My 2-cents. Good luck.

 

Andy

 

This is most excellent and I understand it. It solves all the problems I was going to encounter in highlighting at the end and gives me a system I can use on this project and on others. Thank you ever so much.

 

The mini is going into Pine Sol to be stripped now and I'll start over.

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Aside from technique and color choices as the other folks mentioned, I suggest using more stylized and free-form shapes to represent the embroidered flames -- going in and out of the folds of the cloak instead of rigidly following the folds. They look more like stalagmites than flames.

 

Look up some reference images for other artists' renditions of flames -- cartoons, tattoos, logos, fabric patterns, etc. -- and try copying or adapting those shapes.

 

It might also help if you sketch your idea on paper first, maybe at double-size. Draw the cloak's actual shape (a trapezoid) a few times in ink on a sheet of paper, and then sketch a few different options for the flames in pencil. You can erase and redraw the pencil flames without erasing the ink outline. When you get a pattern that you like, paint it that way on the miniature.

 

Here is a figure that I painted several years ago, with stylized flames on his cloak in curves and crescent shapes:

post-2358-0-56401000-1384217743_thumb.jpg

I wanted the lines of the flames to look like gold thread on the red cloak. One layer of flames didn't look interesting enough, so I added a second layer of separate flame-tongues coming up from the hem. And I added some orange infill in the flames (stronger on the lower layer) to make the flames stand out from the upper part of the cloak and from each other.

 

I'll disagree slightly with item #1 in TaleSpinner's order of events in post #7 above. When I use light-colored freehand like this, I don't highlight the background color all the way up before painting the freehand, because the light-colored freehand often blends into the highlights. I stop at the midtone or first highlight, then add the freehand, and then add the rest of the highlights in way that still allows the freehand to be distinct -- taking some artistic license if it isn't necessarily accurate.

 

I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

 

Derek

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