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Really great start to this tutorial Corporea, I love to see how others slop their paint down, especially on things like the skin/eyes. Please keep going as I'm definitely following this thread.

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Ok... continuing on with the shading...


This is almost like a lining process.  I don't usually line, but I will use my shadow color to do a modified lining, where I soften the edge of the line with a damp brush. 


I guess there are a few different ways to make smooth blends and I should talk about those.  I tend to combine techniques when I'm painting and do what's easiest at the time, but for this tutorial, I just stuck to glazing to make it easier.  Quite often when i lay down my basecoat, I will do it with my shadow and my flesh at the same time.  So, after I've done a single base coat of flesh, I'll go back and do my next layer like this:  Get some flesh on my brush put is down on say the cheekbone, then rinse my brush quickly, pick up a bit of slightly thinned crimson and blend it into the flesh.  I  thin the shadow color because it's generally more intense than the flesh and will overtake your flesh quickly.  I do this with a single brush, quickly.   If I'm not painting to "super shiny standard" I'll even do this with un-thinned RMS paint, because they do already have some flow improver in them.  Otherwise, I'll thin with tap water.  Our water is not too heavy, but some folks will use distilled water to be safe.  I don't have a ratio, because each color is different, so I do it by "feel."  I know what degree of transparency I want.  Honestly, I don't think this can be imparted via text.  I think it can be demonstrated with video, possibly seen in pictures, but is probably best either learned through trial and error or taught via face to face classes.  I learned it the hard way through practice.


Now, here's why I'm less helpful to most painters.


This is my trusty palette.  I put a drop of paint on it, then dip my brush in water, get most of the water off, use what's left to slightly thin the paint on the tip of the brush and apply it to the mini.  There's no ratios involved; I mix my colors on the palette as I'm painting, usually just enough as a time to do the area I want... so I'm horribly unhelpful for any engineers or statisticians out there.  Sorry in advance.  I think I've got a system worked out, so trying a new one might increase my painting time and decrease my skill level until I figure it out... :down:



This picture is designed to show 2 things.  First, turn your mini around different angles, to make sure you hit all of the areas you want and don't miss any spots to shade.  Second, there are some places on the face that are always shadowed unless your light source is coming from below.  Such examples are under the nose, under the ears, under the chin, and underneath anything that would be blocking light such as a hood, helm or hair.  So-I've put some crimson under the chin, but only on the left, because of the tilt of the head and because I've arbitrarily chosen the light direction source to be from the top right.  (I'll show a pick of this later when we do highlights.)  But still, messy and we'll clean up later. Again, if I'm not photoing each stage and want it to be "perfect" my layers take a lot more time.  Also- these are just our darkest shadows.  We're going to go back later with the rose for the less intense shadows.  I always line the edge of the face with my darkest shadows, even if I don't keep all of them later, because I want to mimic the way the skin curves away from the light.  It also gives a good contrast for hair, especially if you use a lighter hair color.


5. Step 5: lips.


This step can be done at any time.  I've simplified our palette, so have chosen to do the lips in our shadow color (as well as the eyeshadow later on) and since I'm working with crimson now, lips it is!  I paint on a nice un-thinned crimson and make a rosebud shape.  If you get too large a shape, just go back with flesh and touch up.  (I did! :blush: )  I'll tackle the highlighting on the lips later.  Sometimes I'll line the lips in a darker color if I'm feeling ambitious or want the vamp look.


Break for lunch, back soon!


Edited by Corporea
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Ahh!  Life is much better with a few calories.  Moving right along.


Quick touch up- put some flesh on the nose to cover our crimson along the bridge.



Step 6: Highlighting.


*Disclaimer- highlighting with pure white is actually kind of hard.  Um... yeah... probably should of thought of that... sigh.  Ok.  White thins poorly on occasion.  If you're having trouble thinning white, don't panic.  mix it (pulls random ratio out...) 2:1 with something pale like your flesh or use a cream to highlight instead.  Seriously though, as long as you don't get it too thin, it will behave nicely.  It responds poorly to fiddling.  So- set it down, feather the edge and leave it the heck alone until it dries.  Treat it gently.


So for this step, we're going to put white down on our areas that we want to be the lightest.  Simply put, that's the tip of the nose, the cheekbones and to a slightly lesser degree the space just above the eyebrows.


Thank you, google image volunteer #1:




Apply white in a thin layer on the cheekbones, feather the edges with a damp brush, allow to dry.  This is layer #1  I also put a dot of white and blended it on the tip of the nose.



Do it again!  And while we're at it, put a bit on the other cheek.  The other cheek is more in shadow, so less highlighting on this side.



And I think this was 1 more layer on the cheek and then the forehead first layer.  Sorry to combine, but it was getting hard to take pics in between.  Do as many layers as you want to make it look smooth.


Hmmn... hard to do the forehead when i don't have eyebrows to help guide me, isn't it!


Slightly overzealous on the right there, so took some of my flesh to trim them down.  I put them slightly above the forehead ridge, but you can place them wherever you want to help define an expression.  This is a fairly neutral placement, but the slightly higher placement will often open the face up a bit.  Wren told me she usually doesn't paint the eyebrows, but puts a darker shadow right underneath the brow ridge, so there are many ways to do this.



Don't neglect the chest area.  Here I've put a bit of white on the chest.  This will probably also be model-dependent.  Some have more cleavage visible, so require more highlighting.  First photo is wet, second is blended then dried.  See how thin the layers are and how very little difference in color each layer makes?  One of the things that really can't be cheated is good thin layers.  Try to put it on too thick and it won't look as smooth.


Wow- work got busy and delayed this one... probably more when I get home for the day!

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Whew.  Back to fun.  Now where were we...



Another chest layer:  Wet then smoothed and dried.



I put one final layer on the chest, glazed a bit of flesh in between the white.


Step 7: Mid shadows, aka time for porcelain rose to work it's magic!


Here I've put some porcelain rose on the nasolabial folds and the philtrum (the cool names for the stuff right above the lips)  Then I did the sneaky focus trick to make it look smooth- kidding.  But seriously, sorry about the occasional blurry photo.  All I did was smooth the rose like I did with the shadows.



Same thing but with the forehead and cheek- wet then smoothed & dried.


Step 8: Back to the lips!


A bit of pink in the center of the bottom lip.  If you look at faces, the top lip will usually be shadowed and the bottom lighter in the center (depending on light, of course, but it's a good general guideline)  next a bit of pure white blended into the center of the pink.  Feel free to fiddle with this step as much as you like.  It usually takes me a few tries to get the blending I want on the lips.



Step 9: Let there be light!

One way to add interest to a miniature is directional light.  It helps refine your highlights and shadows and adds some depth and realism.  It can also be use to do some cool effects.  Now as you can see, we've done some basic shading and highlighting without a true light source thus far, but in order to keep going, we need to pick one.  I vote top left.  At this time I will not be entertaining other suggestions since the pictures are already all done!  So, as you can see, the whole left side of her face is nicely lit, and the rest in shadow.  This technique of using a bright light can really help you plan where you want highlights and shadows.  If ever you're not sure where to put paint- cheat and use a bright light.



So- this means we need more white along left cheek and side of the face.



And the forehead.



And a bit more on the nose and right cheek.

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This thread is amazing. Also, I'm absolutely positive I would not be able to do this on a regular-sized miniature. I just can't see that detail - even with magnification.

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Fantastic tutorial Corporea,  this is really helpful to me as a new painter!


Question:  Say I wanted to have her appear to be wearing makeup,  would I line her eyes with say blue or pink instead of walnut?

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Thanks all!  I had fun doing it!  For makeup, I'd probably still line the eyes with a dark color.  Reason being- eyelashes tend to be a dark lining around the eyes.  Many women will wear mascara to increase the darkness and intensity of the lashes, especially if they have a lighter hair color.  Also, some women also wear silly  things like eye liner.  The idea behind this is to draw attention to the eyes by increasing the contrast between the skin and eye.  So, while you can paint the eyeshadow on, you're still going to want that contrast.  I think blondes may actually wear brown mascara rather than black, so playing with colors is always cool!  Actually- last night I added some eyeshadow to our giantess, so I'll get those photo's added up soon.


For smaller models I don't usually get quite as much detail, never fear!

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Alrighty, face-painters, we're back for more layering!  I took another look at our giantess the next day and decided to tweak a few things.


Step 11: More smoothing, aka Nitpicking.



This is me smoothing out the layers on the chest on the left and the right.  I used a few thin glazes of rose, then flesh in the center.  Not much of a difference, but it looks better to my actual eye.



I put a bit more crimson on the leftmost part of the cheek to darken the edges.  Then I smoothed out the bright spot on the nose with white then more flesh.  I may also have done something else... pictures starting to blur together...  I think I put another glaze of white on the forehead just above the eyebrows.



Here I took some rose and added a layer of eyeshadow- it was easier to draw a straight line from this angle.  Then I darkened the area right above the walnut liner with crimson.  You could do any color eyeshadow- I'm just keeping it simple.  Blue or green would probably look cool with these colors.



I smoothed out the shading on the right side of the nose with rose and added a hint of crimson to give a bit more shadow. I then touched up the eyebrows where I lost some color to glazing.



Did one more layer of white on the chest and reclaimed some shadow between the breasts with rose.


And then I got tired of painting this particular face and called it done, aka abandoned!  I went ahead a painted the hair around the face to illustrate what contrasting colors can do to the colors we've already laid down.  I'd recommend painting the basic hair in before finishing a face to this degree just to avoid damaging the face.  However,  a damp brush used immediately will remove any stray brushstrokes.



Enjoy!  Feel free to ask questions.  I could probably put in some different eyeshadow colors if that would help the learning process.

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The tutorial is amazing, and I just wanted to emphasize that last tip you mentioned:  "a damp brush used immediately will remove any stray brushstrokes."  This has probably been the best trick I ever figured out, and has saved me a lot of frustration.  Especially since my skill level is not that amazing. 

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Yes, the old eraser brush move has saved so many hours of touch-ups. One of the most important reflexes you can develop is keeping a second brush as an eraser, or quickly rinsing your painting brush to erase mistakes.

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Excellent tutorial, Corporea! Being a solo painter, I love being able to see how others approach the same problem.


I find painting skin to be like adolescence. It starts out kind of awkward and blotchy, then, with care and patience, it smooths out into something beautiful. Hmm...anyway, you get the idea.  ^_^

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