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Daggermaw
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PostSubject: painting black leather?   Fri 5 Jun 2009 - 17:30

Has anyone ever come up with a good way to paint black leather?
I've tried a few different processes but haven't really come up with anything that i like.

First i tried basecoating the mini black then drybrushing a very little bit of a dark grey to highlight the leather, but it just kinda ends up looking like the leather is dusty and not light reflecting from the highlights.

Then I tried to paint the area a dark grey and wash it with a black wash, but that just ends up looking like grey cloth with dark shadows.

So how do you paint black leather?
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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Fri 5 Jun 2009 - 18:35

Daggermaw wrote:

First i tried basecoating the mini black then drybrushing a very little bit of a dark grey

Never works. But everyone has to make that mistake to see why Smile

Daggermaw wrote:

I tried to paint the area a dark grey and wash
it with a black wash

That would be grey leather, not black leather...

Daggermaw wrote:
just ends up looking like grey cloth
with dark shadows.

Exactly.

Daggermaw wrote:

So how do you paint black leather?

The good news is that you went to the task like an intelligent person who understands his shading techniques.

The bad news is that unfortunately black is a bitch. It requires a different approach, and there IS NO QUICK FIX for blacks. You will have to face the sad reality that your fingers will hurt and that it will take TIME.

My solution: avoid painting blacks whenevery you can. For when you really can't do without them, there are several scenarios:

1) For a regiment, if the black areas are small enough, and only needed for contrast, don't shade them. Find a strongly pigmented black, paint them last, so that they form neat borders with the other colours and proceed to the next regiment/miniature. I do this for my regiments, because I shaded white on my bretonnians once (as tedious as black) and almost went crazy over that regiment... I have been "lazy" with blacks ever since, because it's just not worth it at this scale.

2) For individual miniatures, where you need a shaded black, the only solution is grabbing your thinnest brush, and slowly and carefully highlighting only the outmost elevated regions of the leather (= top of the folds). Usually 2-3 highlights are enough, because your strokes should be so thin that you cannot place any more that would be noticeable.

2 things are important to keep in mind here:

a) The changes in colour can and should be steep to create depth, i.e. A thin line of super-dark-greay, then a very thin line of medium grey and finally an extra thin line of light grey.

b) There is a trick you can employ if you have an unsteady hand. This works best with not too big surfaces (boots, gloves, bags...) and only 2 shades. Paint the borders that you want highlighted with the first grey. Don't be meticulous at all, just draw lines where you think highlights should be, and go about it rather enthusiastically without paying too much attention to neatness/accuracy. Paint as if you were drawing rough lines on paper with a thick marker and no ruler. Then fill the recesses with black, partially covering up your previously made grey lines, and "cropping" them down as you go, until they are thin and neat enough for your taste. The reason you are only meticulous with the black (and not for the first step) is because it is easier to make a line neat by "cropping" it with black until it reaches the right thickness, than to "draw" a perfect thin grey line straight away.

Then you can put finishing highlights with very light grey. This can rather easily be achieved by "overbrushing" (as opposed to "drybrushing").

I hope that helps!

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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Fri 5 Jun 2009 - 18:35

Daggermaw wrote:
So how do you paint black leather?
The answer is "not with black".

I do two kinds of "black" for leather.

The first is with GW Dark Flesh as a base built up in several layers adding more black to darken (but never just black by itself). It makes a very rich dark leather with a reddish undertone. You could also just wash the Dark Flesh with Badab Black until it's sufficiently black...

The second is with VMC German Cam. Black Brown, VMC German Cam. Medium Brown and VMC Cam. Orange Ochre. Black Brown by itself, Black Brown with Medium Brown, then Black Brown with Cam. Orange Ochre. This makes a warmer dark leather.
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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Fri 5 Jun 2009 - 18:38

I agree with what perfesser said. I should have mentioned perhaps that the "greys" that I use are never "black + white".

I usually use one of the browns I used on the miniature to mix with my black in order to give a grey-ish.

1) Gives a softer, more natural grey.

2) No risk of creating unwanted mismatches, since the "base chord" of that brown will be in grey that you obtain.

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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Fri 5 Jun 2009 - 20:36

Thanks for the reply's!

I'm just looking to paint a few minis for a warband.

I've looked at how GW paints some of their black leather, for example the highwayman mini on the GW website, it looks like they use the slight highlighting technique and i might try that.

Do you think it's better to use GW's grey grey's or their blue greys as the highlighting color?

When i look at a leather jacket the highlights aren't really made by the leather but the light reflecting off the jacket, so i'm thinking of using the blue grey shades to represent that. What does everyone else think?

Also does anyone know of another company that makes different shades of black?
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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Fri 5 Jun 2009 - 21:21

I just found this on the interwebs and seems like a pretty good guide, take a look under the leather section and look at the third picture. I think that makes a pretty good dark/blackish leather. It's not technically black but gives a good simulation of it.

http://www.thelastalliance.com/index.php?pid=disparticle&catid=9&subid=67&artilceid=2511
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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Fri 5 Jun 2009 - 23:56

Daggermaw wrote:
Do you think it's better to use GW's grey grey's or their blue greys as the highlighting color?
Blue greys--Space Wolves Grey is especially good, but it makes for a cooler toned black.

Blue blacks are great for fur and hair; for a black horse or jet black hair, a colour like GW Mordian Blue with black can look real nice.

Daggermaw wrote:
When i look at a leather jacket the highlights aren't really made by the leather but the light reflecting off the jacket, so i'm thinking of using the blue grey shades to represent that. What does everyone else think?
That's Chaos Black and Space Wolves Grey, pretty much straight out of the jar. That looks like black leather to you? Looks like a damp black cloth jacket to me. Eye of the beholder Cool .

Daggermaw wrote:
Also does anyone know of another company that makes different shades of black?
Nope.

Daggermaw wrote:
I think that makes a pretty good dark/blackish leather. It's not technically black but gives a good simulation of it.
GW Graveyard Earth is a great muted brown. One of the dozen or so GW colours I actually like. That's a pretty good two paint leather formula in the link. You can adjust the 50:50 Black:Graveyard ratio to suit your tastes then shade up from there.
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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Sat 6 Jun 2009 - 2:55

Vallejo Model Colour makes different blacks I believe. BUT BEWARE, I found their black "Negro" to be shiny!
So I would not recommend it. I own it (bought by mistake). The only situation where this colour "shines" (pun intended) is when you give the side of your bases the finishing touch, to make them nice and homogenous and black.

Other than that, I don't think you need to BUY shades of black.

I agree with perfesser about the Graveyard earth + Black. I love that mix. In fact I used it quite extensively on these wood elves (i shifted the balance more towards the brown)



And I agree once more with perfesser when he says "blue greys for fur and hair". My experience exactly.

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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Sat 6 Jun 2009 - 4:21

Also, you might try avoiding highlighting, the high parts, and instead, "highligh" the shades wit a really dark purple or brownish colour, as that will give a different hue to it, it feels as though it's a tad darker... and then you can higlight with just a really thinned down warm grey (a browinish or blueish hue) and be done with it...
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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Sat 6 Jun 2009 - 17:01

How about painting it light gray and applying a black wash – in three-four layers that is?
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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Sat 6 Jun 2009 - 17:26

Popmouth wrote:
How about painting it light gray and applying a black wash – in three-four layers that is?

Daggermaw wrote:
Then I tried to paint the area a dark grey and
wash it with a black wash, but that just ends up looking like grey
cloth with dark shadows.

I guess that answers it Smile

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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Sun 7 Jun 2009 - 1:59

yeah no matter how many layers of black wash i apply it still ends up looking like grey leather/cloth with heavy shadows.

Also it tends to over shadow the leather area while the rest of the mini looks like its medium shadows the leather looks heavily shadowed and it kind looks strange
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PostSubject: Re: painting black leather?   Today at 5:45

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