Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fixing splotchy color blocking

When I was posting about being Inspired by Tamsin I had mentioned in passing that I was disappointed by the blotchiness of my yellow color blocking over the black primer.

Tamsin and Anne came to the rescue with some suggestions and since I don't have any glaze I thought I'd start with Tamsin's suggestion:

A tip for the yellow over black (or pretty much any) primer - use an undercoat of a light brown or yellow ochre on those areas before applying the yellow.

 So here is a comparison picture:

Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Khaki Tan as undercoats after yellow reapplied.
 So we see that just applying the same yellow on top still turned out blotchy. With a coat of Yellow Ochre and then Yellow the color looks much more even. With the Khaki Tan undercoat it looks okay but still a tad blotchy.

20 year old GW and Americana paints
So what is your opinion? At this point I'm liking the Yellow Ochre the best, but I could see using the Khaki Tan to try and give a subtle variation to the yellow. I intend to do a burnt umber wash over everything so we'll see.

I'm also thinking that this will be the solution to my blotchy flesh tone issue as well. It is quite possible that black primer is just not for me. I was always a white primer guy in the old days.

Thanks for stopping by and reading the ramblings of a guy who is trying to bring himself back into the hobby.

Welcome to Kaptain Kobold of the Stronghold Rebuilt, lots of game design, scratch building and plenty of battle reports. Much more there than Hordes of the Things, but it would be worth it just for that.

Welcome to Norman Dean of Junkyard Planet. If you like 1/72nd scale and great figure painting then look no further. Not much else to say except I wish I had been following him sooner.

And back in my post Succumbed to X-Wing I welcomed Chris Kemp but didn't recognize his avatar and there was no link to his blog on friend connect. Chris's blog is Not Quite Mechanized where he has rules, orbats and battle reports for his rules. Check it out.

And finally, I got listed on TGN. Woohoo! For some reason I had been having trouble getting listed. It could be as simple as not selecting the right pull down in the contact form. But I'm here now so look out!


  1. The yellow ochre with the yellow looks the best. I didn't know you were using Americana paints. Have you tried Reaper or Vallejo. Citadel is really expensive but it's good too.

    1. Thanks Anne. I agree I think the Yellow Ochre undercoat gave the nicest looking yellow. I'm of course going to muck it all up with a wash but that is later. I'm using craft paints because they are cheap and I have a craft store very near my house. I can get vallejo at a local game store or a Hobby Lobby chain store which is a little farther away. I haven't seen any Reaper paints around, nor Foundry which have intrigued me with their triad system. All my Ctadel stuff was bought between 1990 (cough) and 1992 (cough, cough) when I really started painting. One of my many projects is to make a master list of craft paints comparable to the name brand figure paints. I'll note here that the Citadel paint was the one that was blotchy to begin with. But there is a good possibility that any brand of bright yellow would look equally bad on a base that is too dark.

  2. Glad my tip was of use to you Sean. I think that yellow is a problem for coverage with most ranges of paint, hence the need for an undercoat. It is certainly more obvious over a dark base, but you often get poor coverage over white as well.

    1. I vaguely remember doing multiple coats of some colors over white primer. In some regards I think I would have been better off having no knowledge of painting rather than a dim recollection of how I used to do it.

  3. I've (had?) the same problem with yellow and generally clear colours, but as I don't black primer (in fact, I use the same usual acrylic paints as undercoat!), I use Dark grey or dark brown so it's better for most of the colours.

    For yellow (but it's the same problem with white and flesh, you're right! ), I use sometimes, 2 or 3 undercoats darker => lighter colour
    For example: dark ochre (shading)=> light ochre => yellow as highlight .
    It's very empiric and it could change with each figure I paint!

    1. Thanks Sam,

      Your example is the preferred method I think. I need to work on my technique because my brain rejects this approach as "you missed a spot" if I leave a portion of an under coat showing.

      I think it probably should change with each figure, unless you are assembly line painting ranks of pike men or some such. It just shows that you are a true artist.

    2. I don't think that be an artist or not is important!
      I'm sometimes happy with my finished work, but I always think at the next one.
      Like I've said, FOR ME who is a lazy guy, I use empiric methods and I think that the global effect is enough even if it's not a copy of the reality: it's easier for my brain !

      I could do a better work, but, when I see the ratio 'figures to paint/time to do it' (and X free time ), I think it's good enough!
      Have fun, Sean: it's the most important !

    3. Thanks Sam,

      Wise words. Life is too short to not have fun.

  4. Definitely think the yellow ochre looks the best. And thanks for this post I"ll have to try it out.

    1. Thanks Dan,

      Let me know how it works out. I also did a test for fixing my blotchy flesh. I'll post the results soon.

    2. I don't use or like black undercoating myself, but one useful tip I read about painting yellow over anything was to mix a small amount of white paint in with the yellow; that has worked quite well. Some also dry brush white over the black and then paint the yellow on.


    3. Thanks Peter I skipped a lighter dry brush over the black, but I am aware of that. White paint is an interesting tip, I might try that in the future. I think I also may not prime in black again. I only really like it for the Orcs I'm working on. All the others, not as much.



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