Friday, June 18, 2010

Tutorial on Painting the French Ligne - Part 1

Finally, the tutorial on how to paint the French Ligne that I showed you how to build (starting here).

So, the previous blog entries left us off with a basic infantryman with feet and arms. Now we need to do a "painting conversion" and put in all of the details that make it into a French Napoleonic ligne (line) infantry unit.

We by painting the figure white. If you don't want to paint it completely white, just do it to the areas that need to be.

In order to paint the details freehand it is best to draw out where the major features will be. I use a simple mechanical pencil, but need to consider another source for the future, as the graphite tends to bleed through the light colored paint.

Start by drawing the centerline on the chest and trousers. Add a "V" to the top of the trouser line to represent the wrinkles in the fabric around the crotch. Do the same at the back of the figure for the trousers. The "V" represents the wrinkles in the fabric around the buttocks here. Make sure the centerlines front and back are on opposite sides as best as you can so the other details will be as symmetrical as possible.

Now we can start blocking out the detail on the jacket. I start with drawing a line where the bottom of the lapels will be. Next, I draw the lapels out as evenly as possible from the centerline I drew. Notice the lapels flare at the top.

With the basic front of the jacket done, we can work on the tails. See my earlier blog entry on uniform variations. This is just one type of jacket used by the French. In this case a closed lapel with no waistcoat and  longer tails with complete turnbacks.

Start by drawing an inverted "V" for the tails. Then round out the bottom where the tails end and sweep towards the front. There will be some distortion in the drawing due to the figure being perfectly round, rather than shaped like a normal human. Don't worry about it, it will look fine.

Now that we have the basic shape, we need to fill in the details for the actual turnbacks on the tails. I start by drawing two triangles. This is the area that is blue (the jacket color) where the jacket is not turned back. Next draw the lines defining where the jacket is turned back (second and third pictures below). I've shown two different version of turnbacks here. Don't worry about them being perfectly uniform. Different people are different sizes, plus refer back to my blog entry on uniform variation.

With the front and back done it is simply a matter of connecting the lines on the sides of the figure.

Now that we have the shapes drawn out it is time to start applying paint. That will be continued on the next blog entry.

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