Concept of Applying Color and Paint

by Alex Castro

This system may sound complicated, but like everything else it requires practice. Once you develop it, you’ll never go back.

Concept of Applying Color and Paint:
As a rule we paint the flesh parts first. There is a priority order: apply paint the way you get dress-skin first, underwear’s, shirt, pants, jacket and jewelry.

Concept of Whole:
You must work on the entire figure; otherwise the work has a tendency of appearing fragmented and loses continuity. For example, you may wind up with a head and neck that doesn’t match.

System of Two’s:
If you work on one eye, work on the other, breast to breast, arm to arm, etc. This provides continuity and balances the figure. This system develops the piece evenly.

Light & Shadow :
You need to establish light sources. Use “true” color bulbs in conjunction with fluorescent lighting, which brings out the color pigment. This provides a consistent view of colors. With this combination you get consistency in color whether the figure is viewed outside or inside.

Light Source:
It is the manipulation of an external source, projected on the surface of the figure, not permanently painted on the miniature itself, which allows artist to suggest the best illumination for creating depth. The light source is divided into two areas: middle tone, where the color of the object is most apparent, and the highlight which is the brightest section in the area of the middle tone. The highlight is closer to the light and distinctly lighter than the middle tone.
The area turned away from the light is the shadow area and is also divided into two tones: shadow accent and reflected tone. Shadow accent is next to the middle tone. The reflected tone is light that bounces off other objects or off the background and back to the subject. It is important to remember that reflected light is never as bright as the areas in the light.

Cast Shadow is a shadow cast by one form or another. It is darkest where it abuts the object that casts the shadow. As the cast shadow recedes from the object, the tone grows paler, softer and more diffused. The darkest tone in the cast shadow is comparable to the shadow accent, while the paler tone would be comparable to the reflected light.

Three Tone Systems:
Take one color and tone it up and down creating three colors. For example take a color and add white to make it brighter or add black to make it darker. You get 3 tones-dark, medium and light. The middle tone is always the base tone (show picture). Ex. If you are painting a dark blue shirt, give the shirt a wash with the darker blue, so that the dark blue falls in the deep relieves areas. The foundation of the shirt is in original blue (base), which forms a transition between the base color and the darker color, that doesn’t create any sharp edges giving it a smooth appearance. Take a lighter blue and dry stroke or spray the high areas. Respect and understand the details on relieves. Don’t clog them up. Any reflection or accents that occur are purely natural.

Gray Tones & Half tone:
This brings me to the subject of gray tones and half tones. Gray tones contribute to a well-painted figure. They emphasize and define in particular the flesh area, darker areas and shadow areas. Once they are established the transition between the other colors is more subtle and gentler. It assists in defining the planes of the face by emphasizing darker areas and assisting in the transition of one color to another…
Secondly, the concept of warm and cold tones and the balancing of two tones in a figure can express a change of emotion. The manipulation of these tones make a figure appears to be more life-like. These must be manipulated and must be a consideration in the application of paint in an accurately painted figure. If you can’t express emotion through warm and cold tones then you can’t fully express yourself. It is important to know the relationship between warm and cold colors.

The half tone is a gradual value of color. Value that is mid-range, Gray tones has other uses such as veins, 5 0’clock shadow, and showing stress around the eyes. When you look at a figure that doesn’t have the appropriate balance of gray and half tones, it loses its realism and lacks a certain dynamics.

Written by Alex Castro

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