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Painting a Dark Sword Chick in Chain Mail - Part 2

Masterworks: Elmore Set #1
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14 June 2005page first published

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Minidragon continues:

NMM on Chain Mail – easier than it sounds!

This was the first figure with a good amount of mail on which I'd be using the NMM technique. It's easy to pull off on small areas of mail, but it can begin to look unconvincing on larger areas unless you are careful! Generally, mail on minis is sculpted pretty flat - what I try to do is liven things up by adding some folds to break up the monotony. To do folds, you need to think about how light would strike them... do a little planning, and then do the painting.

For the mail on this figure, I used three paints:

  1. A medium gray very similar to the basecoat (a mix of 50/50 IWM Black and White)
  2. IWM White
  3. and Joe’s Special Black Wash for NMM

(My normal black wash has lots of flecks of metallic stuff in it, so I mixed up a new jar of black wash for NMM work – the mix is 1 drop GW Black Ink per 3 drops Future Floor Wax, 9 drops water, and 1 drop IWM Black paint. This mixture gives a fairly dark wash... adjust it to your preference or ignore it altogether!)

First, I gave the whole figure a black wash. No need to be careful here - slather it on, and just make sure it isn't pooling anywhere inconvenient. I allowed the wash to dry, and then carefully drybrushed the mail areas with a mix of the base gray and a small amount of white.

It's important to note that I did not drybrush the entirety of the mail areas - I only did the high points (top of breasts, bottom of her fashionable midriff chain shirt, top of right thigh, etc....). I tried to think of where there would be shiny spots (with the sun overhead), and painted them there.

The chainmail has been drybrushed

Next, I gave all of the chainmail areas another black wash. This toned down my drybrushing, and darkened the areas I hadn't drybrushed a bit more.

The chainmail has been black-washed again

In the next photo, you can see that I've basecoated all the skin areas, and given them all brown wash (IWM Flesh and GW Flesh Wash). In this photo, I've also used my black wash to selectively darken some areas (bottom of breasts, underside of arms, center of crotch, etc....). You can see that I've begun to suggest some folds by darkening small streaks in the mail. I've simply put them wherever I thought they'd look good.

A black wash is used to selectively darken certain areas, and to suggest folds

I mixed a small amount of IWM White into IWM Flesh for the first skin highlight layer. This was applied to nearly the whole area of the skin, leaving a thin area of the darker color where there would be shadows: cleavage, the area veiled by her hair, between fingers, and bits that join with armor/belts/whatever.

Successive highlights were done by adding a bit more white to my mix, and painting smaller and smaller areas until I'd achieved the level of highlight I wanted. I went all the way to a color that was mostly white for the tip of her nose, chin, top of breasts, meaty part of thumbs, etc.... the highest points, basically.

I also decided that the mail looked too light, and gave all of it another (careful!!) black wash. This brought out my folds and dark areas a bit more, and knocked the bright spots down a bit.

After another black wash

To finish off the mail, I darkened my faux-folds to near black, and brought my highlights all the way up to white. I had a really excellent couple of shots of this phase, but it was abducted by same rather menacing space aliens! Ok, I got caught up in painting and forgot to take the shots... you can see what I'm talking about in the final pictures, though.