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I don't yellow so well...

Adept Legacy

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Well, it's simply not me to admit I have a failing, so I'd like to CLEAR one up as soon as possible.

After painting my town turquoise and red, I have come to notice that I have neglected one giant section of the spectrum.


I have some P3 yellow,

Vallejo Neon Yellow,

and Reaper Clear Yellow...


And absolutely no miniatures with satisfying yellow colour schemes. So I have an elf with a yellow cape, with bluish streaks through it, randomly.

I recently got the Clear Yellow and started to tint some of my transparents. Except now I have a set of fireballs that are themed like the cover of that offspring album that had Original Prankster... and the yellow is not see through.

And, I have one perfectly radioactive looking shield in Flourescent Yellow.


What did I do wrong? How do I yellow? >.>

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Yellow can be accented and shaded with various colors. Someone with better color theory than I will come along and explain eventually. I know for colors like palomino gold in reaper paint is nicely accented with very light glazes of russet brown, also reaper paint. As far as a bright fluorescent yellow....light oranges are nice.

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the best way to work with yellow is to shade with ochers or browns and highlight up to an off white.

Here's an example:


The base here is palomino gold with highlights of buckskin pale and leather white. The shadows are chestnut gold with a hint of intense brown.  The big players are the ocher gold triad.


Here's one I did earlier:


This one is a little different.  Here the colors are sun yellow, saffron sunset and carnage red, with a highlight of pure white.  It reads a bit more in the orange range.


But, you can be very creative when shading yellow.  reds, browns, ochers, even green or purple can make your yellow more interesting.


This one I used green to wash over the yellow as a shade, and I used violet to highlight the yellow on the leaves and the base.

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I am by no means an expect: So i would ask the simple question of do you water it down? Additionally, do it in layers. One thing i notice is people making a 1:1 ratio and then not being satisfied with the results. I am usually fond of a 1:2 ratio (paint to H20) at the minimum level but I normally do a 1:3. 

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I think the best way to use the clears are more of a glaze afterwards. They are such intense colors and I find I like to use them very sparingly, as a last pure bright highlight.  I've mixed a few of them with other colors, and I think the fillers or pigments in the other colors significantly tone down the intensity of the clear.  I'm not sure though, because I'm still experimenting.

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Get some different paints. Neon yellow is something I would only use as a highlight, and the clear yellow is slightly translucent so you're not getting good coverage. You want to get yellows that have some other opaque pigment in them, so you can get good base coats with rich color.


Sun Yellow (9008)

Marigold Yellow (9007)

Chestnut Gold (9073)

Palomino Gold (9074)

Buckskin Pale (9075)

HD Golden Yellow (29808)


If you aren't already, lay down a layer of white first, especially if you prime black or have a dark color underneath the area you want to be yellow. I really like the Palomino gold triad as a base for yellows.

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Once upon a time yellow was Cadmium Yellow, a chromatically brilliant, absolutely opaque yellow with terrific coverage.


Its only problem was that it was toxic as hell.


While less toxic formulations were developed, the sad fact that artists are a minor and relatively unimportant sliver of the worldwide industrial market for pigments means that the disaffection with cadmiums has removed the brightest, strongest yellows (and, for that matter, oranges and reds) from common access.


So what we have are other pigments, which tend to be either brightly colored but with relatively poor coverage (such as the Arylide Yellows), or covering decently but of a softer, less bright color (such as Reaper's Palomino Gold, which is essentially Iron Oxide Yellow or a kind of Yellow Ochre).


So in order to paint yellows we need to find a working compromise between the dull pigments with good coverage and the bright ones with poor coverage.


There are a lot of workarounds for this, and here is one of mine:


I generally do this by putting on an undercoat of one of the dull yellows mixed very pale (a mix of Palomino Gold and white would approximate this) and glazing over it with one of the bright yellows. I've been doing this for decades anyway, since I mix my own paints from scratch and I never liked the idea of handling dry Cadmium pigments. It makes a pretty decent yellow; in fact, I sometimes find that mixing a pale dull yellow and then glazing over it with very thin layers of even a normally dull yellow produces a surprisingly bright yellow.

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Corporea's technique is what I use, only I'm nowhere near as good as her. Yellow-browns to shade and towards the middle tone, ivory or bone white to highlight.


Pingo's technique is also what Les whatsisname uses when airbrushing: the "zenithal" or "shaded primer" techniques, as well as Les "airbrush candy" technique, are all derived from the artistic technique Pingo describes.


If fast results are what you're looking for, I would basecoat with Palomino Gold, wash with a very thin chestnut or preferably Army Painter Ink "Soft Tone", drybrush with a cream or ivory colour of your choice, then apply a thinned bright yellow as an even glaze. That should give you a decent start; but that's just a guess, I haven't done a straight yellow recently. But definitely you want to get most of the shading and highlighting done UNDER the yellow layers.

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I made the mistake of starting an undead army with red and yellow as the main colors. The good thing was that i had Liquitex cadmium yellow light that covered nice...if you didn't properly thin it. When i got back into painting a few years ago i needed yellows...every Vallejo and GW yellow i could find was crap. Either poor pigment coverage or the pigment had separated in the bottle and turned into a solid mass. I managed to find an off brand hobby yellow that covered well and glazing with my ancient GW yellow ink added luster if needed. But based on the success i have seen people have, i would get the HD Reaper yellows suggested, start with a near white base and treat it as a brownish yellow.

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