Friday, March 25, 2016

Painting Flesh...A walk through

Hi all,

The two of the most recent figures that I have shared with you have both been bare chested strapping types (don't get excited Crooksy!!) and have required me to really refine my technique for painting Caucasian flesh tones.  I'm speaking of course of our man Gaston from the Organ gun crew, and most recently the Chaos thug that I painted for my Frostgrave warband (and eventual WFB unit).

I received a number of requests for information about how I went about painting flesh tones...luckily I took a series of pictures of the process while I was painting Gaston.

I should say at this point that I did not develop this process myself...instead I did what most hack painters like myself do...I copied the technique of a much better this case Stone Cold Lead.  If you are unfamiliar with the amazing work of this your self a favor and go look at his inspirational efforts.  SCL was kind enough to share his technique with me a couple of years ago...he has since moved on to another process abut I've stuck with this solution as I'm very happy with the results.

Luckily this technique requires a very small number of paints...though the ones I prefer are now OOP (though still not too difficult to find).  The base of my system are two old Citadel Foundation paints "Tallarn Flesh" and "Dheneb Stone" as well as one old wash Citadel's "Ogryn Flesh."

With these three things in hand the process is pretty straight forward.

I start by base coating the entire flesh portion of the model with Tallarn Flesh, for large areas of skin like these figures I will mix in a bit of dark brown for the base coat, I use Vallejo MC Chocolate Brown.  With a thick base coat applied I simply start adding small amounts of Dheneb stone to my flesh mix and work my way up through several layers of highlights.  Eventually the final highlight is straight Dheneb Stone which I place on the very highest peaks of the flesh area...nose tip, cheek bones, top of bald head etc.

 At this point the flesh starts to look a little pasty...almost ghoulish in color.

Not to worry!  Thats what the Ogryn Flesh wash is for!

I apply this as a VERY thin layer...I place a drop on my we pallet and add water until it barely has any pigment at all when pulled out with a brush...I mean thin!  Then simply apply this to the entire flesh portion of the model.  It settles into recesses in muscles and facial features and brings back a good amount of "warmth" to the skin tone.  It also helps to smooth out some of the transitions between the various highlight layers.

 I'm quite pleased with the way this simple system seems to work out.  In fact it has made me rethink all the flesh I've painted in the past ans whether or not it would be worth repainting those portions of models that, until now, I had considered finished....

...but that way lies MADNESS!!!!

...let us not discuss it again.

I hope that is helpful for those of you who were curious.

Cheers for now!!



  1. That's a great little tutorial mate, cheers! I've got a very different recipe for skin, but the models I've been painting over the last couple of years don't exactly have a healthy glow about them.. Still, I have some actual healthy(ish) humans in the queue, and this will really help ease me back into painting "proper" skin tones. Stone Colds level of painting has been an aspiration of mine for a good few years now, the man is some sort of wizard

  2. Well then I better give this a quick try! I learned from watching you Blue! I learned from watching you. LOL

  3. Nice technique Blue. I need to get back to my wet palette. I've lately been trying to get away from my reliance on washes to force myself to improve my layering technique. Sometimes I like a more contrasty approach. Oh, and I never go back or strip figures I've painted. Because if I did I would never finish anything ever.