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Hey all. I've been collecting and gaming for a while now, but I'm still definitely at the level of amateur painter. I have most of my tyranids painted up in a very basic color scheme (enchanted blue skin, black glossed carapace dotted with goblin green), but I want to up the ante. I've decided to do some highlights on my Trygon, and possibly even a wash (which I will experiment with on gaunts first, thinking about either black or green wash). Anyway, I sat down to do the highlights, but when I started painting them, I realized that they just looked like I had made a mistake and hit it with the wrong paint without bothering to fix it. They just stood out way too much. So I have two questions:
1. Is Ice Blue too light for the highlights? If so, what should I be using instead?
2. Where should I paint the highlights? If I was painting armor plates, then I wouldn't have a problem with it, but as it is, I have no idea where they should go.
I await the advice of the brush-masters.
Any chance you'd wanna post some WIP pics to let us see whatcha got goin' on? It always helps to see the color scheme.
1. Ice Blue isn't necessarily too light. The shade of the hue you're working with is more a matter of personal preference and the effect you're trying to achieve. It might end up that it's just not the hue (the pure color) you're thinking of. Sometimes we think something will look good and it just doesn't end up blending together so well. I would encourage that you keep working with Ice Blue in this context, as I believe you'll learn a lot.
That being said, mixing Enchanted Blue with Ice Blue, and keeping your paint thin would help for sure. Do you thin your paints at all? Just curious, I know two great painters who don't really thin their paints, so I won't judge! I would start with mixing 1:1 Ice and Enchanted and seeing where that puts you. Mixing into the base color will always give you a good idea of how well the two colors will work together and will also give you a more gradual transition to the eventual lightest layer of highlights, so it will not look as harsh. If you think the 1:1 mix is too harsh still, then try 1:2 Ice and Enchanted. Once you get something that looks pretty subtle but notable, you can add lighter and lighter highlights all the way up to your lightest color. This works particularly well for organic looking areas (flesh) opposed to the hard lines or armor.
2) This takes practice. Flesh and flesh-like areas (naturally curvy reflecting the underlying musculature rather than the hard lines of armor) are a little more difficult. I would start with all the ribs. They're pretty easy. All reference photos taken from the official photography of Games Workshop.
Look at this picture closely. Simply put, on the ribs, there are subtle highlights along the top of each rib. On the areas below the main ribcage, you can see that they've picked out all the little nubs that are higher than all the others.
A simple way to do all the arms and claws is to highlight the areas around all the recessed areas (the washed purple areas in the photo) with your highlight color. I even believe extreme highlighting (as you would do armor) would look good around all these little areas.
For broad areas of flesh like on the tail, you can do some pretty broad highlighting. For this you can do progressively thinner bands of color as you work up to the highest color. In your case, you already have the whole thing in Enchanted Blue, so take the broad area you'd like to highlight, mix up some 2:1 Enchanted:Ice. Paint the area, leaving bands of Enchanted on each side. Then repeat this process with mixes of 1:1, 1:2 and then pure Ice Blue. Here's a quick diagram of what I mean:
Well that's all I've got regarding your 2 questions. A note on the washes; once you decide which color you'd like to use (I would use Asurmen Blue or a mix of Asurmen Blue and Badab Black - Asurmen Blue is quite dark already), I would wash the entirety of the Enchanted Blue areas. Then, I would work back up to Enchanted Blue, leaving the washed blue only in the most recessed areas (you can see this is what 'Eavy Metal did with Bleached Bone as their base, and Gah.. gah... *looks up name* Leviathan Purple as the wash). THEN do all your highlighting as described above.
Hope this helps