Sunday, 6 October 2013

Tutorial - How to Paint Animal Print Part 2: Spots

So it has been a little while since I did part 1 of the animal print tutorials so if you want to get started look at part one here. The first picture I have below is the base stage, the fur blending is complete and just waiting for the patterning step. This time round I will be doing leopard spots, should there be sufficient interest I will go into some of the rarer patterns in a third instalment of these tutorials.
0. This is the base stage, what I would call a table ready fur for non-printed animals.
1. When starting patterns of any kind it is important to have a stock reference. This will make it far more realistic looking (if that is what you are going for) and generally help you make the pattern look more natural. In the image above you can see that the spots aren't uniform in shape, vary in colour and don't form neat little lines, they actually form triangles!
2. To start my leopard print off I have painted three large irregular spots on the models back. This is my starting point and from here I add more spots, each forming a triangle with two other spots already on the model. In this case I am also trying to make the spots smaller as they approach the white areas as I want to leave the front of the model mostly spot free.
3. This set of shots shows the progression of the spots as I work around the model. When I come back to finish this piece I will do much smaller spots around the edges to more gradually blend the spots back in to the fur.
4. The next step is to go back over your spots with a lighter tone. This will depend on the effect you want and the colours you are using. I have used a lighter grey than the back fur in order to make the spots more prominent. In hindsight the main fur tone could probably be a bit lighter but is fine for this tutorial. When painting these lighter spots they should overlap the base spots in places and generally be irregular. Try not to have them all make 'C' shapes in the same direction, mix it up a bit and vary how much of the black is visible.
5. Make sure to find all those black spots you did on your first pass, there will be someone who cant resist pointing out 'you missed a spot' in just about every gaming group!
6. We repeat the previous step again but this time with an even lighter shade. I have jumped straight to white but probably could have just used a lighter grey. This set of spots should be fairly small but still just as irregular as the last.  Try to overlap both of the previous layers rather than doing all of them in the middle. This is the last colour of spot I will be doing (as I used white) but for the super keen you could do a fourth set. If you did a fourth set I would suggest only doing raised edges as this will act like a natural highlight.
7. So that is how to paint leopard spots! With the larger spots done the next step would be to go back and do smaller spots on the edges. As these will be much smaller most wont have the white and the smallest wont get any grey either. If you find that your spots are too bright you can go back and daub a wash selectively on the spots in order to darken them up a bit.
8. So this is the final product. The smaller transition spots really improve the overall look and the final touches just finish it up quite nicely.

The important things to remember here are:

  1. Keep your reference handy.
  2. Irregular shapes look more natural.
  3. Watch your spacings, don't let your spots/stripes creep closer together as you go...
  4. Practice!
Practice is the important bit to take away from this. The tiger I did in the last tutorial could have done with more space between the stripes but I didn't have a reference handy so things drifted together a bit... Which is why having a reference is top of the list! Next time I will go over some more specific patterns, like these:
Until next time!

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