I have painted many Lord of the Rings figures in standard acrylic paints, but this Morghul Knight would be the first figure that I tried painting in oils!
For those of you who are more familiar with my process, you know that I begin with a thinned down wash of various darker tones over the entire figure. This has more to do with getting the surface ready for the subsequent layers of thicker paint than making shadows.
I have a number of oil painting live sessions, which I will link to later.
The entire surface is covered. While this looks like it was out of control, there is actually a great deal of precision, as I made certain areas more reddish brown, others more of a blue/grey, and so on.
You can get a peek at the future layers on the figure by seeing what happened with the base. On the left is the original wash, followed by more layers of thicker, more opaque paint. Keep in mind that thick paint sticks to thin paint, and vice versa. You will see me refer to this over and over in this article and on every live video!
Here's a link to the live session that I did right after painting this guy during a Hobby Hangout on Wednesday:
The same opaque colors used on the base were also placed on the figure. What I love about this part of the process is that those original washes remain wet, and allow me to mix wet into wet on the surface. Those original washes now combine with these new layers of paint to create shadow areas, more color transition, and so on.
Here are a few steps of paint application. I am not simply making each layer lighter, I am also trying to shift the color a bit. That is, sometimes more blue is added, or more ochre, etc. It is important to note that your brush strokes must be very direct and precise. You cannot "tap away" at the surface as you might with acrylic paints.
Since all the underlying layers are wet, you are picking up some of that paint each time you touch it. This remains on your brush, and will then darken or change your newer brush strokes.
Simply turning your brush over will show you that it has picked up some of those previous layers.
As always, I constantly alter the colors that I am using. This is much more similar to a 2D approach to miniature painting. You have no choice but to mix more of your own colors with oils, as there is not the gargantuan number of "every color in the rainbow" as you have with acrylics.
But, the whole point of using oils is to work and mix right on the figure, so you won't need all those jars of paint. You will be able to get all kinds of interesting and subtle variations.
At this point I try to work in blues ad greens into the armor plates as well as lighter colors and semi-highlight shades. The idea is to prepare the figure for some "weathering glazes", which will get some rust colors into those crevices.
As the work progresses, you can see that a lot of the initial shininess of those first washes has diminished. This is due to the thicker, more opaque layers. The key thing to remember with the oils is that you have time... don't rush! While they don't take ages to dry (especially when you use more white spirits to thin them down), you have many hours to work with them while they are wet.
Now it is time to add that rust! I took some Sienna and Ochre to make a few rust tones, and thinned that down quite a lot with the white spirits. While it seems crazy, these very liquid layers will act in much the same way as glaze of acrylic paints. Of course, you will have to exert a lot of control over these, as getting to cute with them will simply create a mess instead of oxidation...
Once those glazes were applied to the areas of rust, I mixed some very deep dark wash colors for the cloak and other parts of the armor that needed those deep shadows. The inset shows some of those darker lines added into the deep crevices.
The robes needed just as many color shifts as the armor, as once again, that is the whole point of using oils! Otherwise I could just do standard layering with acrylics. This means adding greens, purples, reds and other unusual colors into my still wet paint.
By using some "feathering" brush strokes with a cleaner, dryer brush, I can scumble the layers together at the edges and mix those crazy colors into what is already there. This will tone them down, and you will only notice the color shift when you are specifically looking for it.
This is the kind of subtle variation that makes a figure more interesting to look at.
You can also see that I have been adding some brighter highlights at this stage. I try to keep that kind of work until the later stages, because I need the "context" of all the other colors and values set in place to show me how far I need to go with those highlights.
Now you can really see all those variations, and that the paint continues the become less shiny. However, these newer layers that I have been adding need to be thinner, because of that "thick paint sticks to thin paint, etc." statement early in the post!
I went from very thin to progressively thicker layers, and now I must start to go in the opposite direction. These newest layers have to "ride" on top of many layers of wet paint.
In the next post I will show how this was finished off, along with some images of the figure on the base. I will try to do more figures like this on the facebook live broadcasts. Lots has been planned, and I have been prepping lots of figures for them.
Any support on the Patreon page is appreciated, as it allows me to do more how to articles such as this. It takes a while to write up the text and match it to the images taken during painting!
Here's a link: