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Giant Tomb Worm: Inspired by a Memory


Back to MATHIAS PAINTS A GIANT TOMB WORM

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Revision Log
16 October 2007page first published

1,855 hits since 16 Oct 2007
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
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Dr Mathias Fezian writes:

My inspiration for the color scheme is something I encountered when I was a youngster. While out in the woods one day, I cracked open an old rotting log, which revealed a few huge, whitish-yellow grubs with really nasty translucent skin. I wanted the grave worm mini to have this pale sickening skin as well, so I primed him white to facilitate that effect. I primed the tombstone white as well. I sprayed the figure and base with brown primer (actually a red-oxide color). Incidentally, I use Krylon spray primers… either white, gray, or brown, depending on the final overall color of the figures. (I wear a respirator when I spray, as well.)

After priming, I started with a little lining on the worm, using a dark brown (Americana Soft Black) to emphasize certain things such as the skeleton imbedded in its back. I used a flesh tone (Vallejo Dwarf Skin) for the base of the beast's mouth. I used the same flesh tone for the digger's skin, followed by a custom wash of Citadel Orange Ink, Brown Ink, and a 50/50 mix of water and Future Floor Wax. I almost always use that mix on Caucasian skin. I also started painting in the various pock marks on the worm's body, using Delta Ceramcoat Royal Plum. I plan to use a dull purple for parts of the worm and on the digger's clothes, which will provided a nice complementary color contrast with the pale yellow of the grave worm.

Soft Black brings out the details
You may have noticed by now that I mix paint manufacturers quite freely. The cheap craft stuff in many cases acts just as good as the expensive brands, and sometimes it's better. There's only so many non-toxic pigments out there, and most brands of paint differ only in proportion of pigment to binder. Since I paint quite transparent using many coats, the pricey yet more pigmented brands don't always suit my style - my mini-painting technique is pretty similar to what I use in fine art with oil and egg tempera.
Flesh tones are the base for the Worm's mouth

My next step was to work up the base tones for both figures. I used a thin layer of yellow ochre (Delta Ceramcoat Maple Sugar Tan) for the worm body. This is about where I decided to go ahead and attach the worm to the base, so I had something to hold on to while painting.

The Worm is attached to its base

I used a pale yellow (the above plus white) for the digger's belt. I painted his tunic with Delta Ceramcoat Terra Cotta. I went ahead with the digger's face as well. I basically start by reapplying Vallejo Dwarf Flesh, followed by three layers of highlights, which I mix by gradually adding Vallejo Basic Skintone to the Dwarf Flesh. I then painted in the eyes and teeth. My eye technique is usually done by painting in the eye with Americana Soft Black. I then dot in the eye whites… I don't paint a thin white line with a black pupil in the center. I'm not sure when I switched to that method, but I almost always paint the eye whites on each side rather than the method most people seem to use.

The digger

I gave the worm a very thin wash of brown to bring out all the unwholesome pock marks and blemishes which covered its hideous body. I gave the mouth a thin wash of purple ink to enhance the contrast with the yellow body.

Washed Worm