Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hobby: Yellow like a Submarine

The color yellow is the bane to many a figure painter, but it doesn’t have to be. Before we dive into this subject let’s talk paint and what it is made of. Paint has three parts: binder, vehicle, and pigment. Binder is what keeps the other two parts of the paint together. Too little binder and the emulsion that is paint will fall apart. Vehicle is what the pigment is suspended in and contains resins, proteins, plastics, etc. in a liquid form. Pigment is the color.

When it comes to most modern acrylic paints there are about 11 artificial pigments that create the hundreds of colors. As a note, there are more pigments but then we are getting into natural pigments which are super toxic. Of these pigments 5 are fairly translucent, which are pure values of red, blue, yellow, green and magenta. Yellow and Red are the most translucent.

If you know that yellow is naturally translucent then you will be able to use it better. The first step in painting yellow is a solid base coat. Once that is in place everything else will come together. For those who only have access to GW paints I recommend Tau Sept Ochre Foundation Paint. I like this color for starting yellow because it will become my darkest shadow. I also like it more than Iyanden Darksun because it is a richer color that provides more depth.

Currently I’ve been using Reaper Master Series Paints and have found that their colors Saffron Sunset, Burnt Orange, and Marigold Yellow make great base colors depending on what effect I’m trying to achieve. These colors are all vey close to GW’s Vomit Brown, which is a fantastic base for color for yellow because it applies almost like foundation paints. If you use non foundation paints, or thinned paints, you will need to apply multiple coats. The key to multiple coats is paint thin and let the coat completely dry before applying the next coat. Since I use almost primarily use Reaper Master Series Paints I will explain how I paint yellow using their colors.

Since I have been having a devil of a time photographing yellow in a way that is apparent, I have made some rudimentary jpegs that should help you visualize what I am talking about. I will also include a finished figure that will show how this looks in the end. Here is a link to a great color matching website, which will help you translate colors. The owner of this site hasn’t updated it for awhile so there are some older colors on it but it works well enough.

I begin with a solid base of Saffron Sunset.

From there I begin adding brighter shades of yellow painting towards the highlight.

I start with Sun Yellow and the move on to Lemon Yellow.

Then I finish with a 50/50 mix of Lemon Yellow and Pure White, but this final highlight is thinned 2:1 paint to water.

After this I then mix Sun Yellow with water at a ratio of 1:6 paint to water and then I carefully glaze the entire area, which ties the colors together and blends them.

Here is what it looks like in practice:

That wraps up this article. Let us know how you paint yellow. Next time I’ll get to a reader request.



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