Once again, I must thank Warhammer 39,999 for inspiring this week of recipe posts. On Monday, I posted my Stone and Bone recipe after he asked about the combinations involved. Today, I’ll be posting the antithetical color on my palette, Black. Warhammer 39,999 gets a double nod here again because his own efforts have made me rethink my approach to the color.
In the past, I often just left black as black. Almost all my efforts to highlight black tended to work against my goal and left the color looking either gray or worse; however, I noticed with some considerable interest that WH 39.9K tends to use a generous amount of blue-gray in his highlights, and that got me thinking. Here’s what I came up with.
Chaos Black starts the process, naturally.
I then highlight pretty widely with Midnight Blue. I’m always amazed at how much like black this hue of blue looks, particularly once it has dried. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to really look closely at a model that I’d set aside to remember if I’d already gone past it with Midnight.
I follow that coat quite quickly with another more selective and delicate highlight of Midnight and Regal Blue blend.
Although this next step tends to make the desired area look alarmingly blue, or at least demonstrably not-black, I follow along with a more selective layer of just Regal Blue, or a Regal Blue and Codex Grey mixture (and sometimes both).
-one) in days of yore, I either left black alone entirely or highlighted it with pure variations of gray. I will never do so again. Now, I much prefer either brown hues or blue tones –as noted here.
-two) the trick here –in my humble opinion- is not to get carried away with highlighting. I’ve exaggerated more than I normally do for the photos here, and the effect looks a bit clumsy if not garish at this point. A little color will do a lot to make the black look rich, deep, and complex. Too much highlighting will invariably just make the black look either gray or blue, which is the exact opposite of my goal.
Often, the following is my final step –in which case I finish by washing a mixture of aggressively thinned Blue and Black Wash over the whole surface that I want black. This step is the key because it invariably blends the dramatic highlighting from the previous step, brings the range away from blue, and emphasizes the black once more. I should mention that I tend toward much more Black than Blue in the washes again to be sure that the final result looks sufficiently black and doesn’t drift from that purpose.
If I’m inclined to make the piece a bit more dramatic, or if it’s just plain necessary, I can always make room for one more extreme-edge highlight of the final Regal-Codex highlight from before the wash –sparingly, sparingly, sparingly.
And so there he is. My WWI Flying Ace of a Commissar now has a name, Commissar Conte F. Barraca. More on him in a week or so.