Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recipe: Ork Skin

Ork skin? This is a skaven model. Indeed. He is. Indulge me for a moment.

Before we begin properly, I must offer a very gracious “thank you” to Bernhard for his patience.

Back in June (don’t ask me how that happened), I received an extremely kind and wonderfully polite email asking for a tip or two on how I have done Ork skin -specifically the model pictured right. Naturally, I promised that I would piece together a recipe post and outline the steps specifically. Yes. Well.

I got back from my travels, sat down at my nerd desk, and discovered something peculiar… I had nil Orks to paint. Not one. Most of my stuff is in storage, what with this slow-motion move and all, and I could cobble together neither Ork nor Orc nor gretchin nor grot from what I had left on the scene. Tragic.

Mercifully, this Skaven fellow was pottering about the place with no real direction or ambition, having initially been stitched together for a Mordheim league that got caught flat before it ever even started (Scott, as you can see I am one step closer to having an actual warband if you ever revisit the notion). He’s no Ork, but he’ll suffice in a pinch.

So. I must beg some imaginative, lateral thinking here. I promise that these steps are exactly, genuinely, the same as what I apply for any and all of my Orks –and precisely those used for the humble Nob that started the conversation. The result, however, might look a bit different purely from context. When I set out to make this happen, I must confess, I was curio-nervous to see how the color would translate on a different model. So much so, in fact, I found a Warploque Zombie Pirate to add in the mix. Now I’ll roll up my sleeves and get to it.

The recipe is basically a walk through the old Foundation range, and I have bought up some extra paints to hold my orky needs in hand should the need arise before I find a suitable replacement in the new range (as an aside, Galactic Force Games on Belmont has a good stash leftover though slightly diminished from my raid last week). Here goes:

I begin with a Scorched Brown base over black primer. Strange to start a green model with brown, but there is a method to this.

Gnarloc Green is slathered all over but the deepest recesses. I have mentioned elsewhere that I generally paint in a descending order from “slather” to “overbrush” to “modest overbrush” down to “drybrush” in pretty much every recipe I have. This is certainly true here. The technique allows for some very, very quick painting once you get a handle on it.

Gretchin Green is the anchor color in all this. All later touchups are done first in Gretchin and only then in other shades if necessary. Again, the keyword is slather, though with a pinch more discretion.

In the first real “highlight” I add a touch of Iyanden to the Gretchin, but make sure the overall tone is still quite clearly green –though later blended with a wash, the smoothness of this transition depends upon a gentle movement from green to yellow.

I have switched the paint jars to illustrate that the second highlight is much more yellow in nature than the first –though not yet completely Iyanden. I am much, much more selective with the application of this highlight, concentrating only on the most raised areas –like his wrist and forearm, as well as the top of his head and snout.

At this point, I was ready for a generous wash Gryphonne Sepia. I really like this old wash –sniff- and I am not afraid to use it liberally here. As a note, you might see that the bases got some attention here. This is the kind of step I will often take during a wash that requires some drying time, as the base slather will require the same… two birds, etc.

Until this point, I have painted every single step (wash included) with this club of a brush. There’s no need at all for anything smaller in my opinion, as all the detail work happens from this point forward.

I went back in with a much-diluted highlight of Iyanden Darksun, purely. The wash will tend to blend the highlights to a certain extent and the Iyanden here is used quite sparingly for the most pronounced highlights –again, the wrist and snout mostly.

And that’s it. That’s my ork skin recipe in a nutshell. As I mentioned, this can be accomplished very hastily if one wants with a largish batch of models in approximately no time at all.

… however, that wasn’t quite enough for these models, so I added this NON ORK STEP. The Flesh color is a homebrew mix, but the result is pretty much identical to the old Elf Flesh or whatever. You can see the tone in the jar quite clearly and I only just mixed a tiny bit into the yellow to give a slightly pallid look for the skin.

I then hit the stitches with a small dabble of Dheneb Stone, followed by a wash of Baal Red, and then another layer of Dheneb (love that color too). All the splits, scars, and blisters were given a modest treatment from the Baal Red for effect.

And that’s it part two.

The model is about three-quarters done here, but the whole experience has me itching for more…

Another grand thank you to Bernhard for his incredible patience. Cheers!


iemattias said...

He may not be an ork, but he looks seriously good in green!

Great tutorial. I'd be impressed by the results if you were using a size zero. I'm floored.

Porky said...

It's really a wonderful effect - ruddy but living, which is pretty much ideal for an Ork.

Years ago an 'Eavy Metal page in WD recommended a yellow in the mix for the vibrant effect, possibly Sunburst Yellow, but I see yellow used far less now and a lot of Orks look flatter because of it. Your blend with the drabber greens and brown is a good compromise for the more naturalistic expectations we have these days, but adds a whole new magic.

Thanks for explaining it anyway, and explaining it so well - not to mention sacrificing the rat ogre.

Kevin said...

Absolutely loving this scheme.
I'll be giving it a try.
Thanks for sharing with us!

Da Masta Cheef said...

Sigmar save us! They're crossbreeding Orcs & the Under folk!

Karitas said...


a lot of paints in common with ym approach, although I tend to be much more random, as I like to vary the colours across 30 oe 60 boyz.

Porky has the right of it, yellow is a useful colour for lighteneing green.. and red darkens it well without losing the intensity.

Faolan (Jake) said...

I find nothing at all odd about starting a green model with brown! I like brown (or grey) as a base for my greens and reds, and some metallics such as copper or brass.

I think I might have hit the higher areas with a yellow (Iyanden Darksun level), and then used a few heavy glazes of green over the whole thing to cheat the highlights and low points as well, but that's only because when painting orcs, there's 'ordes of 'em!

Matt said...

Brian- I saw that some kids at Galactic Force are doing a Mordheim league... Andy said some of them grabbed a mini for the painting competition we have going on there.

You should teach them to respect their gaming elders with a skaven spanking.


Brian said...

@ Mattias. Thank you. I'm actually really fond of this guy and, if not for the need in this tutorial, I probably would never have risked it. Now, I'm going to finish the warband in this scheme exactly.

@ Porky. No real sacrifice at the end of the day. I dig him.

@ Kevin. I'd love to hear how it works out of you. I felt kind of bad posting a recipe for a discontinued range, but I'm going to run with this until my pots run dry. ha.

@ Cheef. Indeed.

@ Karitas. 30-60!!! holy crap.

@ Faolan. Very cool ideas in there. I like the idea of coming back with a green wash to see what sticks. I'll be trying that somewhere.

@ Matt. Kids these days.

Euan said...

Great skin tones and some really nice corroded metal too.

Krautscientist said...

Hey man,

just wanted to let you know that I recently tried your recipe for Orc skin on the first greenskins I painted in over ten years, and I simply love the result. Easily one of my top three tutorials on the net. Thanks a lot for sharing!

Oh, here's a link to my first test models, in case you are interested:




Brian said...

@ Euan. Thank you. I have a recipe for that rust color as well if you click on the tab.

@ Kraut. Thank you very much for the kind words. Your models are looking tremendous, and I really like your chipped paint effect on the bloodbowl mini. Tremendous stuff. Thanks again. I am really pleased that it's been working out!

alt said...

amazing!! This guide should be of Weights and Measures in France)