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Painting in "black & white"

Discussion in 'Painting Techniques' started by Mongo Mel, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Mongo Mel Active Member

    I never was very happy with how my Batman bust was looking. I thought I had the cape too blue to represent it as black with shadows and highlights.


    The other night I applied a very thin wash of black oil paint to tone it down. Looked good while still wet but it dried way too dark and completely eliminated the highlights :(

    I tried redoing the highlights but it kept on getting worse and worse.
    So...I eventually just stripped it down to bare resin.

    With just the flesh and the one color for the cape, it shouldn't take me long to redo it. I have a couple of others on the work bench that I need to get going on so all three will be started at the same time.

    I have a question for you good people: Have any of you ever painted anything in "black and white"?
    I've wanted to try this for some time now and I'm thinking the Batman bust might look interesting that way since there are only the 2 basic colors to it. Do you have any thoughts on colors (oils) to use for the flesh?

    If that doesn't work, I may attempt the "comic book" style.
    If I can figure out what that is :D

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Calvin Member

    Hey Craig,
    I stripped my own copy three times, next I decided to throw it and start a new one in bronze... It seems a very simple piece to paint but once finished my first thought was "and now what ? that's all ?" It seems that any kind of paintjob always misses something.

    This was my first and last attempt to paint in black & white, I only used four colors. I think you should decide what tone you want to use besides the B&W (brown or blue or whatever) and use it to break the monotony of a pure B&W rendition. The pics suck big time but they can give you a vague idea of what I mean, take a look at the tone of the column, that tone variation is what you can use for the face to break the monotony of the cape.



  3. Calvin Member

    Forgot to add that this is the better example of a B&W rendition I know in a comic book style, it is the official statue of Batman a la Mignola style, painted in B&W exactly like the comic.


    Note that it is not a print (a drawing) but a real 3D piece painted like a 2D artwork, in a word sort of reverse "trompe l'oeil" where the main purpose is to make looking as a 2D print a 3D object. It is also true that the sculpture which perfectly emulates the Mignola style favour that effect, but I think it could be a good example of what you are looking for.
  4. CDNTanker25 New Member

    now that's cool! Something to try out some day for sure!
  5. Mongo Mel Active Member

    Hi guys,
    Luca...thanks for the advice and for the pictures too. I really like the way you did that bust. I especially like the subtle look on the "face".
    So, you think the way to paint B&W is to add in some subtle browns then?
    That statue is really amazing. I'd have never thought it was a 3 dimensional piece. Really impressive.
    Thanks again my friend.
  6. PJ Deluhery Active Member

    Hi Craig,

    I did a few B&W figures a while back. Basically I used shades of gray derrived from black and white. My figures were the 1930's Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and Humphrey Bogart. I wanted to keep the old B&W movie look, so avoided colors of any kind, though that is an approach some use.

    My chief concern was that I'd end up with one overall gray figure with no really noticeable differences in value. So, I started with the colored figure (couldn't get any B&W images!) and matched each color to a neutral gray scale to get an idea of the values. You could do this with your basic flesh mix (or other colors you might use) too. Then, I mixed those values, using them as my midtones, and added white and black to highlight and shade them. Of course, you have to factor in the "black rule" of making your black midtones a shade or two lighter so that black becomes your deepest shade. The gray scale will help here.

    Attached is a picture of one of the figures, and also a gray scale you can download and use. Actually, I have taped this gray scale to my workbench, and I find I use it a lot to establish color values independent of the color itself.

    That's basically it. Hope this helps. Please let me know if I can be of further help.

    Attached Files:

  7. renarts Active Member

    Luca, I really like the bust of Batman you did. Definately a best case of "less is more".

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