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Seeking advice for really complicated colour schemes


lexomatic
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One of the things I'd like to do when I get good is do a (few even) mini inspired by some of Erte's illustrations (for a google image search introduction see the link on "illustrations").

It's going to be really complicated, I feel.

I'm not going to be tackling this anytime soon, but I thought I'd ask people who do, or have done really complicated stuff for some advice.

 

Something like these would be a serious goal for me to work to (images linked from this site)

erte3.jpg

 

erte6.jpg

 

erte14.jpg

Edited by lexomatic
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On something like those you would want to keep the transitions clean. You're dealing with some distinct high-contrast colors very close to each other.

 

If I were doing something like that I would treat each motif and transition a little like an eye. Painting eyes also deals with high-contrast elements which must be kept distinct from the surrounding color. So very fine brushes, maybe punched-up contrast, and slow, careful application.

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Perhaps black line any pattern you choose? I'd definitely plan the pattern out ahead of time on paper. Simplify it as much as you can. When painting on the mini itself, consider a white primer, then draw out your pattern in black or a dark color, then fill in each color section with a base coat, and shade after that. Are these woodblocks? If so, remember that each color with a woodblock is laid down separately, allowing for nice clean crisp lines of shading. Very different from the usual blending we do with miniatures. Great idea!

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Are these woodblocks? If so, remember that each color with a woodblock is laid down separately, allowing for nice clean crisp lines of shading. Very different from the usual blending we do with miniatures. Great idea!

I think these are hand drawn and inked illustrations, but I never looked into how Erte worked. After looking it up, he painted with gouache. The thing I'm curious about is if it's possible to create depth with shading and highlighting. I'm wondering if you could have a similar effect to some of the above images with lining in different colours depending on the location on the mini? Does that make sense? So maybe using shades of a colour for lining, and darken it for areas that are supposed to be deeper, and lighter for areas that are closer? Though I guess in some cases above the just used a dark or light line so it would stand out. I'll probably have to experiment a few ways on the same mini.

I'm definitely not going to even consider planning this until I have eyes "down," and I have no idea how long it will take, but it's so much fun to think about.

I guess the other issue is what would be a good mini to try with.

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To get that really sharp transition between colors, I'd start by underpainting in a shadow/liner color, then add the brighter colors on top, leaving a very thin dark-lined edge. Done carefully, you can get a better appearance of sharpness. (This is basically what Photoshop's sharpening filters do, btw.)

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I think the biggest factor may be the surface area you're working with. If you have a large banner or cloak, you'll obviously be able to include more detail than if you're working on a loincloth or small shield. Just for comparison, try shrinking those images down to the size where they'd fit on your "target area", and see which details stand out vs. which details blend together. That will help you figure out how to simplify the images, but still achieve the effect you're after.

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