Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Completing the Contrast Hat Trick

So, for the moment, we see stage #1 of the Contrast Hat Trick... value contrast.  It's the easiest one to achieve.  All it takes is really dark against really light colors.  Simple.  Sort of.

This is the second stage, color contrast... via color temperature.  This means making the cooled lava a cooler color.  I am mixing a subtle light blue into the black in order to do this.

Layer number one.  Comparing the value next to the outer ring shows that it's getting slightly lighter as well.

A little more.  For this point forward on subsequent layers, I will focus only on certain 'zones'.

With this next layer, you can see the direction I am moving in adding the extra lights to the cooled lava sections.

This shows that pattern, and the series of colors mixed.

Notice how the lighter parts are not 100% coverage on the cooled lava sections... just in certain places.

Now that I know how light the cooled lava is, I can go back into the lava itself to bring out the lightest lights.  This means fluorescent yellow, regular yellow, and even a touch of ivory.

I used flow improver to thin the mix, as the fluorescent paints tend to be quite thick.

Brightest lights added!

I went back in with the amber and fluorescent orange mix to take down any weird drybrush textures that may had cropped up.

I took this a little darker, especially along the edges of the lava...

I mixed up a black glaze to darken a few key areas on the cooled lava.  This was to accentuate contrast #1, but also contribute to contrast #3, which is the most tricky.

That is hue and saturation.  Obviously, the lava is super saturated, high chroma color.  Very pure and bright.  The cooled lava sections are, by their nature, grayed down (or toned down).

This is the most subtle way to achieve contrast.  It was one of the last things I ever mastered in my 2D painting.  Lots of practice.

Final result!  Regular studio style shots coming tomorrow!


  1. I recognize those brushes! American Painter from Michael's. I use the very same ones for rougher applications. (Perfect, as you demonstrate, for bases).

    1. Actually, those brushes are also perfect for minis! When they are pristine, they have a wonderful tip. Once that gets whittled down a bit, they are fantastic for my shaded basecoat technique. A little more use and they go to basing. After that they apply primer, glue, oxide paste, and so on. A great life for those brushes!