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3 - Furring the Simians

Simian Messenger (2)
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Revision Log
17 January 2006page first published

2,553 hits since 17 Jan 2006
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Cathy Hamaker of The Painter's Den writes:

The other Simian I decided to paint as a new world monkey, the Red Howler monkey. This didn't require me to do any extra sculpting, but I planned to add some bright dashes of color to this one to add a different sort of visual interest.

The other monkey will be painted as a Red Howler

I filled in the gaps in the slot bases with leftover ribbon epoxy, and spray primed both models black.

Once the primer was dry, I painted the "white fur" parts of the colobus monkey with Vallejo Light Grey, and went over the rest of it with Vallejo Coal Black. This color has a slight gloss to it, which is great for fur effects. Vallejo is my brand of choice, as it covers unbelievably well and has a nice range of colors.

I wanted a "bright" yellowy brown for his satchel, and went with Citadel's Bestial Brown. I am not usually a big fan of Citadel paint - as I don't feel it covers well, and their bottles dry up or get stuck shut - but they have a few colors I consistantly will use. This is one of them, and Dwarf Flesh is another.

The howler monkey I painted all over in Reaper Aged Red Brick. This is a nice dark red-brown, and I like the consistancy of Reaper paints a lot.

Howler is painted Aged Red Brick

At this point, all the work is being done with a sable 0-point brush - I'm not picky about getting paint on the other areas of the figure in the first stages of painting!

The next stage for the colobus was ink. I used to get very frustrated with black as a color - I'd drybrush a dark grey over it to highlight it, which would often give it a very flat and dull appearance. This wasn't so bad on things that are supposed to be black leather, like boots or belts, but on fur or hair it just looked blah. Finally (when doing a Dwarf on a black bear from Reaper), I decided to try brown ink over black paint without a highlight coat - and it looked fantastic! The ink gives it both depth and gloss, and makes it look (in my opinion) far more like real fur than a grey drybrush coat could.

So I inked over the black parts of the colobus with Winsor and Newton Nut Brown Ink, as well as his satchel. The grey parts I did in W&N Peat Brown Ink, as the reddish tone in the Nut Brown doesn't go well with grey.

Colobus monkeys have dark grey faces and hands, so I carefully drybrushed his features with a slatey sort of grey from Armory - GRY-07, but since Armory paints are no longer available, that's kind of a moot point. Here I'm using a 20/0 Gold Fox brush, and by drybrushing here I don't mean grinding 90% the paint out of the brush - I want to keep a sharp point on my 20/0. Drybrushing can also just mean having no water at all on the brush, so I pat all the rinse water out before getting just a tiny amount of pigment on the brush and carefully painting each area.

Colobus money in progress

Once the ink had dried, I did the same thing for the white fur areas of the monkey. If the areas were more heavily textured, I could do a quick drybrush coat with a bigger brush.... but since this is my scratch-textured ribbon epoxy, I did very light brushstrokes with Vallejo White in the direction of the fur, to give it a look of depth even where the model itself doesn't have much.

For the red howler, I did a more traditional drybrush job: I loaded up a small round-tipped brush with Vallejo's Parasite Brown, and then wiped most of the paint off the bristles before lightly going over the furry areas of the monkey. Red howlers really are a very bright orangey-red color, so I went with this sort of burnt orange shade which I also use a lot for red hair and beards. When that was dry, I inked the fur with W&N Nut Brown.

Inked monkey

I also painted his satchel with Liquitex Hooker's Green, and drybrushed that with Liquitex Permanent Green Light.

The face and hands of a howler are also a dark grey color in real life - so I went over these areas first in black, to blot out all the brown splodges left from my drybrushing. Then I hit them up with the same GRY-07 from Armory, being careful to leave a bit of black showing for shading in the mouth and eyes.

Both monkeys are wearing modest loincloths (how civilized!), and I used this as an opportunity to add a dash of bright color to the models. The colobus monkey got a Vallejo Turquoise loincloth, and the howler's is Vallejo Royal Purple. A little bit of W&N Violet ink carefully applied over the latter gave it some depth and toned down the color.

Drybrushed monkey

On the colobus, after applying the Turquoise paint, I got just a dab of white in the brush and wet-mixed it on the high spots of the loincloth. The fur I added on his sides keeps the dash of blue from being very noticable, so I went ahead and painted his scroll case in the same color, wet-blending it as well. This is a great technique for very subtle color shifts on a figure; I mainly use it when I'm doing 25mm horses, as my drybrushing them tends to leave them looking very "painted" and fakey.

If you've never tried this, give it a shot sometime - just put the darkest shade of color on rather heavily, then get your brush loaded up with a lighter color and blend it right into the wet paint on the high spots of the figure. As it gets mixed in you can add more light paint to the highest spots, and the change from the dark to light areas of color will be subtle, with no "edge" where one color stops and the next starts.