Black and white

The gladiator is nearly done – one or two more sessions and he’ll be ready to sit on the shelf next to the murmillo. There’s not really a huge amount to say about the actual paintwork, but first the pictures:

The main thing worthy of note here is that I finally bit the bullet and used some pure white on the skin. All of the various work I’d tried to get the light working on the skin was ending up a bit wishy-washy – adding shading made the skin a little muddy, and highlighting with anything less than white just wasn’t cutting it.

It’s often said that you shouldn’t use pure white as a highlight because it almost never occurs in nature (unless you’re painting something that should be white, obviously – it would be silly to ignore white as a final highlight for, say, white armour or a white t-shirt), but that argument is weakened when you remember that in nature we don’t have built-in shading or highlighting (for the most part, anyway). Painting a model is an act of contrivance: you’re trying to make a model look like something has been shrunk down and put on a plinth, capturing the drama, colour and light of that scene, and whatever you can do to achieve that is, logically, the Right Thing To Do.

There’s also a strong argument for using pure white in fantasy and sci-fi, where it’s generally accepted that pure white and black can have really powerful, dramatic effects. Some painters do this especially well – Katarzyna Gorska, for instance (it’s possible there’s no actually pure white on here, but if that’s the case it’s so minutely tinted that I’m not sure there’s a painter alive who could spot the distinction).

Anyway, I took the opportunity to feather some pure white into a few of the highlights, and I’m now much, much happier with the skin. That’s what matters, right?

In other news, Games Workshop has relaunched Necromunda, and I’m overwhelmed with nostalgia. I’ve already picked up the Escher set, and I’m really looking forward to House Cawdor. I have a plan in motion for a wee Escher diorama, but I might actually do a gaming  job on the Cawdor stuff if the set is as good as I hope.

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