Friday, June 18, 2010

Tutorial on Painting the French Ligne - Part 2

I left off with the basic uniform drawn on the figure. Now it is time to paint the colors in.

I start with the lapels on the front. I paint a thick red line for the lapel piping trying to make the inside edge (towards the centerline) as straight as possible. I don't worry so much about the outer edge because, as you can see in the next picture, I "edge" the blue up to the red.

Edging is a big part of my painting style for these types of figures. Simply put, it is painting one color and then slowly and carefully edging another color up to it. This was the original color does not need to be a perfectly straight line. The second color must be done with care, but you can essentially paint thin straight lines using this method. Just lay down the second color is smaller strokes, taking your time.

Moving to the back side, do the same. Edge up the blue to the lines you've drawn defining where the coat is not turned back. Once you have completed the finer work, block paint the blue over the rest of the jacket and most of the arms.

Now that the basic coat is done, it is time to focus on the details: I will start with the cuffs. First, take you pencil and draw the line where the hand should be. The space between the hand and the blue in the jacket is the cuff.

Paint a white rectangle for the cuff flap. Don't worry about making it perfect as it is just to help the red show up. (Painting red over dark blue usually requires too many coats and it still looks purplish.) Next paint a red stripe at the top of the cuff flap and at the back. (The back of the cuff flap is the side towards the rear. The left side for the right hand and the right side for the left hand.) Again, don't worry about it being perfect, but make the top and back edges as straight as possible so you do not have to do any cleanup.

With the red piping painted, carefully paint two rectangles of red on the cuff as shown. Note that there is white piping at the top of the cuff and between the cuff and the flap. (I've never understood the latter piping, but it is what it is.) Be careful with your edges facing the white piping. Don't worry about slop down towards the hand.

Now paint the cuff flap blue. This is a very delicate operation as you are edging up to the red on top and to the back while edging up to the white to the front while keeping a basic rectangular shape. I use the Army Painter paint brush called Wargamer: Insane Detail. I really like that brush. (I also use the Hobby: Basecoating brush.)

With that done you can paint the flesh of the hand, edging up to the cuff and straightening the line. Finally, I take a little mustard yellow paint and put three dots on for the buttons on the cuff flaps.

Just a side note: I tend not to like metallic paints, preferring to paint using grays and yellow-browns for the silvers and golds.

Next, we convert all the remaining pencil lines to nice black lines. I use an Archival Ink pen by Pigma. This one is an 05 size (0.5mm), but I also use a 0.05mm pen. They are available in a variety of colors. Note that although they are water resistant, they are not proof against smudging and lots of liquid. It can be painted over with acrylics, but don't expect to do it in one coat; it will bleed slightly, especially to white.

Using the pen, draw the remaining lines out carefully. The only ones visible should be those separating white areas. Once you are done, don't forget to paint the collar red.

The final step in completing the basic uniform is to use you Insane brush and clean up. I did red, then white, and finally blue. At this point, you can add the buttons on the lapels and turnbacks. I'll leave that to next time (I didn't take the picture yet).

As you can see, we have a basic French line infantry uniform - one of the many variations - and we are now ready to start working on the faces.

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