Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Painting Ayako Ito

This miniature kind of came out of the blue.  I'd heard of GCT Studios' 'Bushido' system and seem some photos of their miniatures, but to say that working on Ayako Ito was 'unplanned' is a bit of an understatement.  In fact, I'd barely started to paint a rendition of the Blood Angels' Primarch Sanguinius when this beautiful model arrived on my desk.

The miniature itself was donated by GCT Studios for the 'Heroes For Heroes' campaign created and run by my friend Rid from Fanplastic Little Men.  Luckily for me, Rid was already in the middle of painting his miniature for the event and instead asked me if I would like to paint it.

I fired up Google, took a look at a picture of the miniature and pretty much bit his hand off!

For me, Ayako has all the hallmarks of a great miniature.  Firstly, it's impeccably sculpted.  There is not a thing I would change about this miniature, from the perfectly smooth undulations of the fabrics to the powerful yet understated pose.

I love the juxtaposition (oooh!  big word!) between her coy, almost playful demeanour and the feeling of impending danger one gets when her serpentine tail and lethal blades are spotted.

What's more, it is a miniature that would suit almost any skill-level.

Granted, there are plenty of intricate details (the decoration in her hair springs to mind), but the large, smooth areas that dominate this model are ideal for Bushido players who simply want to get her painted and onto the gaming table, whereas for the more enthusiastic painter there are nearly endless opportunities to test oneself with complex freehand patterns and designs.

I decided that - as best I could - I would try to emulate this spectacular concept art for Ayako:


So, arming myself with this fantastic image and plenty of greens, pinks and purples, I dived straight into painting this wonderful figure.

And here is an epic step-by-step guide detailing how I got on (click on any image to see a larger version)...

1. Rather than her base, I mounted the model on a piece of cork so that none of the work would be damaged accidentally by handling.

2.  I began with the green, as this was the largest area.  I basecoated it with a 3:1:1:1 mix of Kommando KhakiSnot Green, Scorpion Green and Hawk Turquoise. 

3.  I began shading the green by adding a touch of Necron Abyss into the basecoat mix and painting it into the recesses.


4.  The next shade was completed using pure Necron Abyss.


5.  I began to highlight the green by applying thinned Scorpion Green.

6.  The next stage was a highlight of roughly 1:1 Kommando Khaki and Skull White.


7.  The next stage was to highlight with pure white.  This needed to be thinned lots as subtly, not starkness, was needed.

8.  To give the green some more 'life', I added another shade, this time of Liche Purple.


9.  After the addition of the Liche Purple, I then went back and smoothed out the blends between the shade and the highlights.


10.  Next, I painted the black banding on the kimono and fan. I began with Chaos Black mixed with a touch of Snot Green.


11. I then began to build up the highlights - firstly with Necron Abyss, then Kommando Khaki, finally building up to an extreme highlight of Skull White.


12. Because the white sleeves will be tricky to fix in the event of any mistakes, I left them until towards the end.  Instead I began painting the purple-pink sash by basecoating it with Warlock Purple.


13.  I started to shade the purple-pink areas simply by using several layers of thinned Liche Pruple.


14.  I then darkened the shade by adding a small amount of Chaos Black to the Liche Purple before painting it into the deepest recesses.


15.  Next I began to build up the colours of the sash by mixing a small amount of Kommando Khaki and Skull White into the Warlock Purple basecoat before brushing it onto the more prominent areas.


16.  Finally, more Skull White was added to the mix to give the final highlight.  Eventually, there will be some simple freehand patterns painted on, but I decided to leave those until last in case I accidentally painted over them (yes, I am that clumsy).

17.  Next, I began working on Ayako's serpentine tail, which I'd been looking forward to from the start.  The basecoat here was a mix of Chaos Black and Necron Abyss.


18.  I gradually built up the reptilian skin over many stages, firstly by adding more Necron Abyss to the basecoat.


19.  Next I added a highlight of Necron Abyss witth a touch of Liche Purple added.

20.  To the previous mix I added Kommando Khaki and Warlock Purple to bring up the highlights.

21.  Next came a mix of Kommando Khaki and Liche Purple.

22.  To finish the tail, I then completed several fine highlight stages, firstly with pure Kommando Khaki, and then the same with Skull White added.

To bring out the recesses in the scales, I glazed the whole tail with Chaos Black and then, once dry, Liche Purple.

Finally I added a pure Skull White highlight.


23.  Next I began to paint the underside of the serpent belly, firstly by basecoating with Kommando Khaki.


24.  Next I began the shading with a mix of Necron Abyss and Liche Purple with a touch of Kommando Khaki added.  I then added Chaos Black to the mix and shaded the darkest areas.

25.  To tidy up a little, I re-applied Kommando Khaki, making sure it was good and thin to blend nicely into the shades I'd added.


26.  Finally, I built up the highlights by adding more and more Skull White to the Kommando Khaki.  I did this in three stages, the last of which was pure Skull White.

27.  Next, I began to paint the purple sash around Ayako's waist by basecoating it with Liche Purple.


28.  I shaded the sash firstly with a mix of Liche Purple and Necron Abyss.


29.  Next I added a touch of Chaos Black to the Liche Purple and painted it into the deepest recesses.


30.  Once the shading was finished, I tidied my work a little by blending the edges of the shading back up to the basecoat.


31.  I began to build up the highlights, firstly by adding Warlock Purple to the basecoat and then with pure Warlock Purple.


32.  As a final highlight, I added Kommando Khaki and Skull White to the Warlock Purple.  I then glazed the area with the previous Warlock Purple / Liche Purple mix to tone down the contrast a little.

33.  Finally, I added a glaze of Liche Purple to the entire sash.


34.  The next stage was to paint the sleeves.  Eventually, they will blend from white to green.  The first thing I did was to basecoat them with Ceramite White over many thin coats.


35.  I mixed a dark grey from Chaos Black and  Ceramite White and added a touch of Hawk Turquoise to give it a cool tone.

I painted this in rough blocks into the shaded areas.

36.  I then gently blended the shaded areas back up to Ceramite White.


37.  To finish the white area, I brushed on a Hawk Turquoise glaze, pushing it mainly into the shaded areas.

38.  Finally, to implement the colour-shift between the white and the green, I took the basecoat mix for her green robes (3:1:1:1 Kommando Khaki, Snot Green, Scorpion Green and Hawk Turquoise) and applied it as a glaze, brushing it downwards from the middle of the sleeves to the bottom. Once a decent gradient had formed, I then smoothed out the transition by blending thinned Ceramite White into the start point of the green.

To tone down the too-pale green kimono, I also at this point used the same mix to glaze them, giving them a much richer green.

39. At this stage, before I began working on the skin, I went back and repainted Ayako's hair.  I wasn't completely satisfied with the original attempt, which was painted using the same palette as the serpent's tail.  I originally tried working using my normal techniques, but the hair seemed a little rough, rather than smooth and shiny as I'd hoped.  Instead, I decided to try wet blending, which is something I've rarely used.
I still used a similar palette, starting with a roughly-even mix of Chaos Black and Necron Abyss, but instead of waiting for each layer to dry, I carefully blended each subsequent layer in while the other was still wet.  I built the basecoat up to pure Necron Abyss before adding in some Hawk Turquoise.  I then built this up to pure Hawk Turquoise in the lightest areas.  Finally I added some pure Skull White highlights on the very lightest parts.


40.  Finally, I was ready to paint what I always look forward to most with any miniature - the skin!

I began with a 4:1:1 mix of Tallarn Flesh, Scorched Brown and Liche Purple.

41.  To begin the shading, I added a touch of Scorched Brown to the basecoat and painted it into the recesses.


42.  The darkest shade was done using pure Scorched Brown.


43.  I began highlighting with a 2:1 layer of Kommando Khaki and Tallarn Flesh.

44.  I then blended up further with a 2:1 mix of Skull White and Kommando Khaki.

45.  To cool the skin tone a little, I glazed it all over with a very-thinned Hawk Turquoise.

46.  I began to paint the geisha make-up by applying Fortress Grey mixed with a touch of Necron Abyss.

47.  I then added more Fortress Grey to the mix and applied it to the lighter areas.


48.  I then blended up the highlights some more with pure Fortress Grey.


49.  I began to blend the final highlights up from Fortress Grey to pure Ceramite White.


50.  For the eye make-up I simply used Chaos Black, while for the lips, I used Chaos Black, followed by Scab Red and then Blood Red.

To reduce the contrast on the eyebrows, I later glazed the make-up areas with Skull White.

51.  The blades on Ayako's back are one of my favourite parts of this miniature.

I began by basecoating them Ice Blue.


52.  Next I thinned some Necron Abyss and painted it into the recesses and also - crucially - onto the areas of the blades catching the least light.

53.  I then strengthened the shading from the previous stage by applying thinned Chaos Black.


54.  I began to highlight the blades with a 1:1 mix of Ice Blue and Skull White.  Note the occasional streaks running across the surface of the blades.

55.  I then enhanced the highlights of the previous stage by carefully adding spots of pure Skull White.


56.  Before painting the handles of the blades, I first glazed the top half of the blades with a 1:1 mix of Scorpion Green and Skull White, before applying a glaze Hawk Turquoise to the bottom of the blades.

57.  With all of the main parts painted, I then moved on to the smaller details.  Firstly, the red strapping at Ayako's waist.  I basecoated each with Scorched Brown.


58.  I then layered on pure Scab Red.


59.  I then painted on black banding before highlighting the red areas with a mix of Scab Red and Blood Red.


60.  I then highlighted the whole area with Skull White before giving a Hawk Turquoise glaze and then a Blood Red glaze.  I then re-touched the Skull White highlights.

61.  To add the detail to the sash around Ayako's middle, I simply added thin Chaos Black lines.


62.  For the two yellow strips, I basecoated with Kommando Khaki and then shaded with Scorched Brown.

I then built up the highlights from Golden Yellow to Skull White, before glazing the strips with pure Golden Yellow.

63.  The blue beads were simply painted Hawk Turquoise followed by Ice Blue, and then an Ice Blue / Skull White highlight was added.

Finally, an extreme highlight of Skull White was added before I lined the edges of the bead string with Necron Abyss.

64.  After a bit of a freehand disaster, I decided to cut my loses and begin Ayako's pink sash again, this time, incorporating the freehand as I went.  To that end, I basecoated the main ribbon with Warlock Purple, sketching out the design in Mithril Silver over the top.  Finally, I painted the brighter edging with a 1:1 mix of Ceramite White and Warlock Purple.


65.  Next, I shaded the entire ribbon, edging and design as one piece, with thinned Liche Purple.


66.  For the next shading pass, I added a touch of Chaos Black into the Liche Purple and shaded into the deepest recesses.  I then painted over the freehand design with thinned Ceramite White.


67.  To highlight, I began by adding a touch of Skull White and Kommando Khaki to Warlock Purple and painted it onto the main band.

The pink edging was painted with a 2:1:1 mix of Skull White, Kommando Khaki and Warlock Purple.

Once more, I re-touched the freehand desing with Ceramite White.

68.  For both the main area and the banding, I added Skull White to their respective previous mixes and carefully applied it to the lightest areas.


69.  To tie the freehand in a little more, I added four separate glazes of Warlock Purple and then a couple of glazes of Liche Purple to the main area.

Finally, I painted a line of pure Liche Purple between the main band and the pink edging.


70.  Here you can see where I painted the flower prints onto Ayako's sleeves.

I simply used thinned Ceramite White to paint the simple design.


71.  The final stage for the model was to paint the detailing in the hair.  I did this using exactly the same methods and palette as the rest of Ayako.  I also added a thin glaze of Red Gore to the top of her sleeves as I felt they looked a little bland with just two colours.

72.  Finally, I based her with a mix of genuine (!) Clacton-on-Sea beach sand.  I painted it black before drybrushing with Red Gore and then Fortress Grey, before applying Army Painter Highland Tuft.

And that's about it!  If you've managed to get through that mammoth list, then I salute you!  As a reward, here are some photos of the finished Ayako:

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I really do hope you got something out of it!

If you want to see more of my work, as always, you can....

No comments:

Post a Comment