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Onastaa the Sorceress (Dark Heaven: 2060)

by Derek Schubert

Now I try a humanoid figure, whose voluminous robes let me show how to paint cloth. Drybrushing may not be the best way to highlight the smooth surface of cloaks or other large areas of clothing, but you can certainly drybrush, especially if you are new to painting. Blending or layering would probably yield a more even result.
Since green is the complementary color to red, I set off the pink clothing by painting the staff as a huge emerald. To simulate a gem, use the same sequence of shading and highlighting, but put the highlights on the bottom, as if light were shining through the gem from above. A dot of white on top reflects of the supposed source of light.

Step One (Primed):

Step Two (Base Coats):

The deep rose-red cloak is Blood Red, with a little Imperial Purple mixed in so it's rosy rather than gory. The pink robe is similar in hue to the cloak, but lighter; you could use either straight Pink or add Dragon White to the color of the cloak. The sleeve borders are Dove Gray with Ruddy Flesh trim. Her skin is Caucasian, with lips the same rosy color as the cloak; her hair is Dragon Black. Her staff is Kilt Green. The grassy base is Kilt Green plus Desert Yellow.

Step Three (Shading):

I wash the cloak with a mix of the base color and Amethyst and Dragon Black. Shading pale colors like pink is tricky, since a dark wash makes the color dull, so here I wash the robe with a deeper pink (closer to the rose of the cloak), and paint a line of Walnut between sleeve and torso. A wash of Ash Gray reveals the detail of the sleeve borders and Woodland Brown and Walnut define the trim. Her hair needs no shading -- where can you go from black? -- but I shade her face with a wash of Caucasian mixed with Chestnut Brown and Woodland Brown. I fill the eye sockets with Walnut and also wash the lips with Walnut. I wash the staff with Dragon Black. The shading on the base is a wash of Kilt Green plus Dragon Black.

Step Four (Highlighting):

I add Dragon White to the base colors of the cloak and robe and use the layering technique until the pink highlights seem right for cloth. The contrast of light and dark indicates the material: with lighter highlights, cloth can look like shiny leather. Actually, the highlight here is a little too light, but I will glaze it in the final step. The lips get the same highlight colors as the cloak, but with a final spot of Dragon White as if the lips are moist. The sleeve borders are layered through Dove Gray to Dragon White, leaving the pattern of S-shapes. Layering on the trim goes through Ruddy Flesh and Spring Yellow. Slime provides the drybrush color for the base. The skin is layered with Caucasian and Dragon White; the hair, with a mix of Dragon Black and Ice Blue. Highlights on the staff are Kilt Green, Emerald, and Spring Yellow. The brooch looks like gold, but the effect is actually a sequence of Woodland Brown, Ruddy Flesh, Spring Yellow, and Dragon White.

Step Five (Glazing/Details):

A Blood Red glaze on the cloak evens out the layers and a Dragon Black glaze on the hair takes twenty years off her age. The emerald staff glints with dozens of Dragon White highlights. The gem in the brooch has the same colors as the staff, but I have saved it to paint at the end as a detail. Since the cloak looks too plain, I add a border of Dragon Black, paint S-shapes and dots (like the sculpted sleeve border) in Ruddy Flesh, and highlight them sparingly with Spring Yellow. I give the sorceress some rouge with a little glaze of Blood Red on her cheeks.

My technique for painting eyes includes four layers: filling the socket with Walnut, as described in Step Three; painting the white with Dragon White but leaving a thin border of Walnut; painting the iris with Walnut (or the appropriate eye color -- but Walnut contrasts well with white); and finishing with a tiny highlight of Dragon White just above the center of the iris. I didn't even think of this last white dot until I had been painting for four years. If you are new to painting, you should be proud if you can put a colored dot in each eye socket! Remember, too, that you can always paint over mistakes if the eyes are too big or mismatched on your first try, no matter how long you've been painting.

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