Painting Black

It’s no secret that painting black on miniatures is hard. I learned a few tricks at GenCon, the two that stick with me are: highlights should be about 1/2 the size of normal highlights, and highlighting from black to grey often just ends up looking grey - it is best to tint your black highlights with another color like blue (cool) or brown (warm). Very few things in life are truly pitch black, tinting blacks can help differentiate materials on a model and reflect the world around the miniature.

I’m very much an amatuer when it comes to color theory. Rather than explaining it poorly myself, here is an article I found helpful. There is a lot of practice ahead of me before I feel confident. Why am I talking about this? Because I’m painting back to back models with a significant amount of black, starting with Buck.

IMG-1456.JPG

The hardest part of this model for me was his vest. I tinted the majority of the vest with a little brown to give it contrast against the blue of his uniform and the cold steel of his shotgun. I decided to make the little plates along the center cold also, so they look like a more metallic material. Looking at it now I’m still not 100% satisfied. Strange to say but I actually found the NMM of the shotgun and his buckles far easier.

Up next is Sergiy. I promptly forgot the second half of what I learned at GenCon for my first attempt, meaning I tried to simply highlight with only grey. I also didn’t highlight bright enough. My second attempt I pushed the highlights brighter and gave it a subtle blue tint, the difference is pretty stark.

 Suit attempt 1, grey highlighting. Very flat and boring.

Suit attempt 1, grey highlighting. Very flat and boring.

 Suit attempt 2, a very subtle glaze of blue black, and tinting grey highlights with blue resulting in much better definition.

Suit attempt 2, a very subtle glaze of blue black, and tinting grey highlights with blue resulting in much better definition.

Sergiy is still a work in progress but I’m starting to feel good about him. Although I really need to start over on that bottle :|

Any tips for painting black? Specific things I could improve on these dudes?