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Painting with Acrylics by Fernando Ruiz

Fernando Ruiz paints Yury Serebryakov's Castle Miniatures 200mm Bolshevik Volunteer Bust in acrylics

Original Discussion Thread: http://www.planetfigure.com/threads/bolshevik-volunteer-1919.37428/
Bolshevik Volunteer, 1919
Hi, all!
I'm really glad to start an step by step painting process of this espectacular bust:

This incredible piece is a present from my friend Yury Serebriakov and, as I'm really pleased to be able to put my brushes on it, I will try to share some of this happiness with all of you :p:p:p

The bust comes in one piece and doesn't need almost any preparation prior to painting, excepting the removal of the mold line that runs on its back. After the cleaning job, I repaired the fine wool texture of the coat and hat with a bit of duro and a hard brush:

I also have glued in place a steel rod in the lower part of it so it can be attached to the base. I'll try to post more detailed advances, with explanations and paint mixes tomorrow.

Thanks guys for your support. I'm sure it will be a nice and fun process!
First of all, I have to say that I made a mistake with the year in wich I located the subject. Yury has sent me some reference information and it seems that the hat of the bust first appeared in 1919, so the moment should be the civil war that followed the October Revolution.

Well. Let's start with the eyes.
The choice of colours for the eyeball is very simple:
Base: Deck tan + Basic skintone
Shadows: Base + Blood Red (Citadel)
Highlights: Base + Ivory
Final highlights: Ivory (Pure)

I started the eyes with two thin layers of the base colour:

Then, I mixed a bit of Blood Red with the base tone and applied it as a wash in the borders of the eyeball:

A bit of pure Blood Red (very thinned) in the corners of the eyes and the shadows of the eyeballs are done:

Now, let's go for the highlights.

First, I started with the base tone and then added Ivory, taking the lights to the center and the upper part of the eyes:

Normally, in smaller scales, you don't take that much trouble in that part but, due to the importance an size of the eyes in this bust, any time spent in them worths it.
Let's go with the pupils.

These are the tones:
Base: Oxford blue + Chaos Black (Citadel)
Shadows: Chaos Black (very thinned)
Highlights: Oxford Blue, Oxford blue + Sky blue and Sky Blue (pure)
A dot of Chaos Black for the iris and a dot of Offwhite for the reflection.

Maybe the most important step in the painting of any face is the centering of the pupils. My trick is to start with a small well aimed dot in the center of each eye and then I expand them until I position them exactly where I want:

Now I start to apply the highlights towards the lower right border of the pupil and the shadows in the upper left border (each zone in the opposite side of the other):

I paint a black dot in the center of the pupil:

And a white one in the side of the shadows to simulate the light reflection:

Let's add a shadow below the limit of the upper eyelid and voila!

A closer look:

The most important thing to have in mind when painting eyes is to try to complete properly each step before entering the next one. Once they are completed, is very hard to go back to mend any previous mistake :(. So it's just a matter of patience :thumb:

I also want to show you the palette of mixed colours (in case you have any doubt with the mixes):

Next step, the flesh!
Thank you, guys!
Let's start the flesh.
The tones are very similar to those I used on the HistoricArt landsknecht:
Base: Orange Brown + Khaki
Shadows mix: Blood Red (Citadel) + English Uniform
1st shadow: Base + Shadows mix
2nd shadow: 1st shadow + Shadows mix
3rd shadow: Shadows mix (pure)
4th shadow: Shadows mix + Oxford blue
1st highlight: Base + Basic skintone
2nd highlight: 1st highlight + Basic skintone
3rd highlight: Basic skintone (pure)
4rd highlight: Basic skintone + Ivory
5th highlight: Ivory (pure)

Here is a pic of the palette that may be helpful to clarify the mixes (sorry, the colours names are in spanish but I think that is easy to identify them :p):

My idea is to achieve a partially cold and grayish skintone. Thats why I use khaki in the base and basic skintone (very pale) in the highlights. There are still more colours to add for the final result, like a deeper and darker shadow, some red in the cheeks, some blue for the 5 o'clock beard, some purple and maybe other differente skin tones. Any colour that adds richness to a face of this size is more than welcome!

Here is the face with the base colour applied:

Now, this is my sistem when I paint such a big face; First, I do a "sketch" with the base plus 2 or 3 highlights and 2 or 3 shadows so I can set where is gonna be each tone and the extensión of each zone. Also, this method shows you very quickly if the colours chosen are going to work or not ;). You don't have to be too much careful in this stage, just put everything more or less in it's place.
After that, I start to work with the whole palette in just a portion of the face. Now I blend carefully the colours, make any needed adjustment in the intensity of the shadows or highligts and start to add secondary tones.
When you have worked out all zones in the face, it's time to have a deep look at it and correct any imperfections, equilibrate the highlights of each side and add the final tones to the special areas (like the lips, the eyebrows, etc...)

First shadow added:

First shadow and first highlight:

We add the second shadow:

And the second highlight:

In this point, as you can noticed, I have settled more or less the shadows and highlights areas. Is better to stop in the intermediate tones because, if you have to make any radical change it will be easier.

Now comes the funny (and longest) part of the flesh work. I have already started with the area surrounding the left eye:

It still has much work to be done. Keep in mind that everything you do is provisional until you have worked all parts of the face at more or less the same level. This method may seem a bit long but, believe me, it gives you a high degree of control of the final result :thumb:

A bit more of work on the left side:

I have started to add deepness to the cheek shadows, more highlight in the eyes and a bit of work in the mouth/upper lip area. As you can see, the evolution is a bit subtle, but I thought that was noticeable enough to take a picture...

I'm finishing diverse blendings in all the left zone. I also have applied a bit of Blood Red in the cheeks. Then, I blended it wit the background tones to soften it even more.
After that, I airbrushed a bit of matt varnish to fully appreciate the tones. Due to the way I apply the painting, and the use of citadel acrylics, sometimes I end with a too satin finish in certain areas. Is better to correct it in order to know if everything is OK.

Hi, all!
New advances:

All the left area is more polished and I have started with other parts, as the nose.

Here, you can tell the difference between the worked areas (the left side) an the ones just sketched (mostly the right side).

Hi, guys!
I have already finished painting the face but, in order to keep the SBS in the right pace, i'll put first some pics of the right side of the face almost finished. Here the only thing that is left are the final touches and shades:

And here, the final result:

I have added some shades as Citadel's Leviathan Purple ink to get a purplish tone in the lower eyelids and temples, a bit of Citadel's Blood Red thinned for the flush and the lower part of the nose shade, Red black + Chaos black for some extreme shadows, a mixture of the skin base tone with Oxford blue for the 5 o'clock, pure Oxford blue to add deepness in some places of the beard and Blood Red + skin base tone for the shade of the lips.

Here are te colours:

From left to right and up to down:

- Blood Red
- Leviathan Purple ink
- skin base tone + Blood Red
- skin base tone + Oxford blue
- Pure Oxford blue
- Black Red + Chaos Black

To finish, I added a bit of satin acrylic varnish to the lips and a bit of gloss to the eyes.
Maybe I will add a few additional touches to the face, depending of the next steps.
Following the idea of painting "from inside to outside", the next step will be the shirt. :D:D:D
A big zoom of the face :p:p:p:

Thanks guys! I'm really happy with the results so far :D:D:D

Let's start the shirt. It's a very simple part compared to any face :p
These are the colours:

First I established a grayish with a bit of pink colour for the highlights that is a mixture of Stone gray + Basic skintone. This, darkened with Burnt Umber, makes the basic colour palete:
Base: Stone gray + Basic skintone + Burnt Umber
Highlights: Base + Stone gray + Basic skintone
Final highlight: Basic skintone + Stone grey
Shadows: base + Burnt Umber
Adittional shadows: Burnt Umber + Oxford Blue
Final Shadow: Darkest shadw tone + Chaos black
Tones and shades: Oxford Blue (pure), Ice yellow (pure) and Basic skintone (pure)

The palette:

First, I apply the base, the first highligth and the first shadow:

An additional highlight and shadow. As I do it, I start to soften the transitions:

And the basic highlights/shadows work done:

After that, I give it a wash of Oxford blue in the darkest areas, I paint a defining shadow with an almost black colour and enrich the highlight areas with Basic skintone and Ice yellow. I do it giving slight touches with the tip of the brush (number 1) and very scarce paint. It helps to achieve the feeling of a rough fabric and that was the idea I had for the shirt ;):

A closer look:

The work so far :cool::

Thanks for the comments, guys!
Let's go with the next step, the "budenovka" hat.
For this part of the bust I wanted a grayish/purplish finish with rough wool texture. I started with an acrylic basecoat with a mix of Scorched Brown (Citadel) and Oxford blue:

I added a basic highlight to serve as a "map" of the position of the light. The colour is a mixture of the basecoat + Graveyard Earth (Citadel):

With the sketch of the hat completed, I was ready to start with oil paintings.
I have got used to paint with oils when I need to get a good blending degree in large areas like this hat. The process is very simple:
- I apply a basecoat of acrylic paints
- I paint all the shadows and highlights with oils, blendig carefully in the transitions.
- I give a coat of matt varnish.
- I give the finishing touches, shades or textures with acrylic paint, which I control much better.

The colours:

From left to right, Ivory black, Burnt Sienna, Indigo, Yellow Ochre and Titan White.

I use a plastic dish as a palette:

And mix the colours to get the needed tones (sorry if they are a bit hard to see, but the gloss touch of the oils make it difficult to get a pic :():

Let's start to apply the colours. It's better to concentrate your efforts in a reduced area and, after that, start the work in the next one. I apply very few paint in the right places:

I start to blend:

A bit more:

I continue in the adjacent area:

And I continue with each area until all the work is done. The completed work with oil painting:

As you can see, the finish tends to a golden tone. It is OK, as this tone will add richness to the finishing step. The last thing is a coat of matt varnish to seal the oils and let me see the work so far:

Next step, the acrylic finish!
And now, the acrylic finish. I had in mind the tones and texture of this soviet wool coat:

The tone is very different to the one I had painted in oils, but it is a nice base from wich to start. These are the acrylic tones for this final step:

From left to right and up to down:

Chaos Black
Oxford blue
Stone Grey
Deck Tan
Basic Skintone
Scorched Brown (Citadel) + Oxford blue
Scorched Brown (Citadel) + Oxford blue + Graveyard Earth (Citadel)
Scorched Brown
English Uniform
Sky Blue

I have started giving a general wash of the original base tone to retrieve a mor reddish tone:

After that, I start the work, again dividing the hat in small work areas. I apply the lighter tones in the highlight areas as dots, with the tip of the brush. The paint must be a bit thinned and you have to try to merge every dot with the previous work. It's better to work with very few paint in the brush. The darker colours are useful to add deepness to the shadows, blend the dots with the background tone and dying large areas at your consideration:

More work on the same area:

Now, we pass to the next zone. Keep in mind that this process need a constant adjustment in the previous parts as it advances, in order to keep the balance between highlights, shadows and the distribution of the shades:

Next area:

And the next:

The frontal view, with the inner parts and the peak completed:

Let's start with the upper part of the hat:

It's especially important to keep the highligts/shadows blance in this area, as it's the one most exposed to the light. The completed work so far:

Hope you enjoyed it! :thumb:
Once more time, thank you all for your words and the interest in this process :). It's really nice to know that my work is appreciated.

Let's resume the work. After the hat, the next important part of the bust to paint was the coat. After a bit of research, I saw that it was very common that the fabric of the collar was different of the rest of the coat. I decide to paint it that way to add a bit more of spice to it. At this point, I was confronted with a tricky part of the paintjob; the hat, shirt and the two pieces of the coat were to be painted in different shades of brown. As I had to find two brown tones that matched with the work previusly done, I decided to paint the basecoat of the two parts:

I painted the collar with a mixture of Scorched Brown (Citadel) + Burnt Umber + Chaos Black (Citadel). The lower part of the coat received a mix of Burnt Umber + Graveyard Earth (Citadel).
I noticed that the shade of the hat was too purplish to work with the other brown parts so I gave it a light wash with Burnt Umber to make it a bit more discreet. Also, I painted the star and the three fasteners of the coat with a reddish tone (Burnt Cadmiun Red) to get a more complete idea of the whole thing:

After that, I started to work on the dark collar. In the coat, I haven't used oils because the surface was not as bigger as the hat, so the blending work is not so hard working only with acrylics. I applied a texturizing highlight with Burnt Umber and marked some shadows with thinned black:

The rest of the work consisted of additional highlights with Graveyard Earth and a bit of Deck tan plus some washes with Oxford blue and black to merge all tones and darken everything:

The colours of the collar:

I worked the lower part of the coat in very similar way. First, a highlight with a bit of Khaki and some shadows with Burnt Umber:

Additional shadows with black and some intermediate tone with Graveyard Earth:

The colours of this part:

Now, the only thing to finish the clothes was to apply a good layer of matt varnish. So these are the results so far:

The next will be about the red wool parts and details such buttons and the emblem. We're almost done!

Glad you like it, lads!
Everything is finished now! So, let me share the last steps of the bust.

First of all, I noticed that the lower part of the coat needed a bit more of texture to go well with the rest. I simply applied a bit of Khaki and Basic skintone as usual, with the tip of the brush in the highlights areas:

Just one of those needed adjustments on any painting process :thumb:.

Let's go with the reds.
The palette is quite simple:

From left to right, Chaos Black (Citadel), Burnt cadmiun red, English Uniform, Tanned Flesh (Citadel) and Blood Red (Citadel)

First of all, I painted the fasteners and the hat star with a mix of Black + Burnt Cadmiun Red:

I started with the fasteners. I decided to simulate a seam in them so they have a bit more detail. I marked it's shadow with black and added a highlight with pure Burnt Cadmiun Red:

Then, I added some "texture" effect in the usual way with English Uniform and Tanned Flesh. To finish, a wash with Blood Red (very thinned) to get back the reddish colour and blend all tones:

The same goes for the other two pieces:

The process is the same in the star:

Now it's the turn of the emblem. It isn't the usual hammer and sickle, but the hammer and plowshare, an early bolshevik symbol that soon evolved to the other one everyone knows today. The tone should be a bright red. This is the palette:

From left to right, Chaos black, Burnt Cadmiun Red and Blood Red.
The background of the emblem with a base of Burnt Cadmiun red and a highlight of Blood red:

The star ready for the gold metallic tones:

For the gold tone, I decided a palette of acrylics:

From left to right, Tin Bitz (Citadel), Glorious Gold (Game Colour), Polished Gold (Game Colour) and Gloss Varnish (Game Colour). At the same time I do the golden details of the emblem, I also paint the buttons of the budenovka.
First, a coat of Tin Bitz:

And then, highlights with Glorious gold and Polished gold. Two coats of gloss varnish and we are done (this emblems are enameled, so they have to shine):

The painting is completed. For the base, I keeped a very special decoration, an original soviet hat emblem:
And, finally, the completed bust:

I would like to thank you all your for kind comments during this process and specially Yury for giving me the chance to paint this little marvel. It has been a pleasure to share my work with all of you!


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