By Wes Hawkins
Start Over/W.A.D. Productions
Hello once again, everyone! This time around I thought I’d bring you a neat little bust I like to call “Carfax Bat,” which is a human/bat hybrid sort of creature. As I demonstrated in a previous article, I’ll be using about four colors to render this piece, and I’ll explain a little about mixing colors while I’m at it. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Here’s our subject primed and ready to go. Priming is an important step in painting just about anything because it hides imperfection and, more importantly, gives the paint a better surface to adhere to. Always be sure to research your subject and get some reference material to look at. There’s nothing more frustrating than to finish something and learn after the fact that you used the wrong colors. I know this from experience.
Here I’ve taken a dark brown color and thinned it down at a ratio of 5:1 thinner/paint. Some people think this is too thin, but I spray at around 4 psi, so there’s little chance of spattering. I prefer to use the Iwata HP-CS, which is a gravity feed brush. This allows for lower pressure with continued paint flow. After thinning, I sprayed into the recesses of the bust and paid close attention to where the shadows lay by using my reference pics. A human head has a lot more shadows and highlights than one might think, and these subtle areas make or break the finished project. One will know immediately that something is missing. The HP-CS worked like a charm here. It fits well in my hand and is comfortable to hold. The color cup is large enough to hold a lot of paint but not so big that it unbalances the brush. If you place it in an airbrush holder it won’t roll over, even if the cup is full.
After rendering the shadows, I decided that the fades between the base and shadow color were too harsh, so I misted the shadow color on the entire bust to tie everything together.
Here I’ve begun rendering the highlights using a light gray and, as you can see, again I made the fade lines too harsh. To fix this, I darkened my highlight color by pouring some of the shadow color into the color cup, placing the cap on the cup and giving the brush a few shakes. (If you try this, make sure you cover the little hole in the cap or you’ll have a mess on your hands.) These caps REALLY come in handy when I mix paint or noodle because my hand shakes the brush rather vigorously. Now, let’s finish our bat!
So, here are our highlights toned down and tied in with the shadows and base color. I took my time here and literally sprayed one pass and held the bust away so I could judge whether or not I had sprayed enough. You’d be surprised at the difference one pass too many or few can make. Just take your time and don’t be in a hurry. If you enter IPMS model shows like I do, you want your best work on the table for the judges and audience.
Finally, I sprayed the hair on the back with my shadow color and brought out the crevices with a dark wash. The mouth, nose and eyes were done by hand with a brush.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I’ll see you next time! Thanks for reading!