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January 12, 2009
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How to Paint a Murloc by TheAnimaster How to Paint a Murloc by TheAnimaster
So I went out with the wife and our son for shopping... the soonest chance I had to go and buy the paint and material needed for the job. I went and bought 18 bottles Citadel colours: 2 bottles of Skull White, Enchanted Blue, Scorpion Green, Camo Green, Goblin Green, Codex Grey, Bestial Brown, Warlock Purple, Lich Purple, Blood Red, Gore Red, Mithril Silver, Shining Gold, Sunburst Yellow, Dessert Yellow, Fiery Orange and Elf Flesh. I -TRIED- to choose as few colours possible as not everyone goes out and buys 18 of these (beginners would choose just the prime colours, but I was feeling more than that). The up side to buying as many colours as you can is that you don't need to mix them -- you can use them out of the bottle or diluted a bit and get consistent colour across all your models. The Citadel colours I chose would be good for painting all the heroes and the monsters alike (but I first focused on the heroes and then later added consideration for the monsters involved). Unfortunately I was missing a couple things on my list: Chaos Black for instance, and matte and glossy varnish. The store was out of stock, and probably being the only store that sold Citadel and GW stuff... it was downright disappointing not to have these right away (so I'm taking extra steps to protect the figures I've painted... which as of this entry is just one)! Another colour I'm sorely missing is a 'beetle-green' colour, which I couldn't find in the Citadel colour list I was given to look at.

I picked up some additional cutting/craft tools, and of course brushes. The brushes I got were pointed 0, 4 and 6 brushes and a size 2 chisel-tip. I wish they had a smaller chisel-tip brush, as for some 00 or even 000 brushes. Ah well. I took what was available. I also picked up a mixing plate. This one had just the right sized palettes for minis.

I might mention that aside from these materials, at your work area you should also have some tissues, cotton-buds and toothpicks for wiping your brushes and picking up and mixing paint.

By the time we had gotten home, it was already getting dark. Lighting was an issue. Yes, so I should have bought a desk/work lamp. Anyways, there was enough flourescent-lamp light to trim the molding flash off my murloc -- chosen champion of experiments; because I didn't have Chaos Black, I decided to start with something that used Bone White for primer -- and what better choice than the murloc, of which there are plenty! After trimming, I scrubbed and bathed the lone model in warm water and let it dry.

I mounted the figure using thin double-sided tape onto thin cardboard folded in half. Ok, so I recycled the packaging of one of my new trusty art knives for this. It worked better than I had thought. First, I had a long, sturdy plane in which to hold it, when folded in half, then if I needed a lower angle, I could unfold it and bend the card the back, giving me a good hold with a good angle. I suggest one tries this (see image).

So then priming started. The guy at the-only-store-in-Thailand-that-sells-Warhammer-stuff assured me that Citadel paints themselves could be used as primers. I asked "So what about all this stuff about special 'bite' and all with primers?" he said that it was probably true a couple years ago but goes on to tell me that today paints have evolved. Didn't know that. I still don't buy it completely (otherwise why does Citadel still market and produce 'Smelly Primer'?), but still went with it anyways. So I primed in Skull White.

At first I got a bit directly from the bottle and started brushing it on, like I would normally do with paint-on-paper. Imagine my shock when the paint started ';peeling back' into puddles -- much the same effect as any water-based stuff does on water-proof material (sorry, should have taken pics of this effect)! GASP! But I persevered (didn't have a choice really, without ';proper' primer)... and eventually I learned that if I dab it on, rather than brush it on, I got it to stick properly. So yeah -- DAB it, don't brush. But here's where I start to realise how brushing might be just the same as spraying! If you dab on too much in one place, surely it would conceal fine detail? It would -- if too much was used. Don't try to get an opaque layer on the first dab -- you'll need another one or two dabs for that. Also remember that when you do dab, the paint eventually 'sets' down on the figure, showing all the fine details again -- kind of like when you have a puddle of coloured water dry up, only a flat mark of that colour is left when it dries up. So that's the idea. Just don't dab on too much in areas of detail. I'd suggest about only 1 or 2 layers for such areas.

So the first layer I did looked splotchy. Patches of blue showing through translucently here and there. One more layer and it was looking better. A third layer and I got it covered up 'opaquely' enough.

And then I went to sleep. Oh yeah -- I just let it all dry overnight, just to be safe. And anyways, as I said, the lighting available would be too much of a risk to work with.

The next morning I cracked my knuckles and went to work. First I thought I'd mix a sort of bettle-green. Mythril silver and scorpion green, right? WRONG! That resulted in a muddy-olive green. So I added Sunburst Yellow. It saved my mix a bit, but the silver specs had all disappeared. It was a disaster, but I wasn't going to waste it. This was my first attempt, so I decided to use it anyways, despite it looking more like a sort of undead-ish green XD.

So this time I was able to paint using brush-strokes. Actually, I still dabbed at first -- MISTAKE. Too much colour. It's best to work in thin, evenly-applied layers at this point. I'll keep that in mind. Notice the VERY thin green for the lower lip. I achieved this with a 0 brush. It's all about control. After the green was applied, I did the red at the back, watering down the Blood Red I had and leaving the parts near the green body white. I did those parts next with a smaller brush size and with more care as to not 'hit the green'. I still did in some places though -- but was able to touch it up with the huge amount of green I had mixed XD.

After this I did the eyes. I went too far with one eye and it was too red, so I just put white back on it before going in with a black Acrylic paint I bought in place of Chaos Black. I prefer the white highlight in the eyes like this, rather than a solid red fill.

After the eyes, I used the left over red, which was still pretty much watered-down, to paint in the mouth. Yes, murlocs have fleshy mouths much like umm... humans? Think pink. It's not black, but pink. They have pink-red tongues. They have pink gums. You get the idea. So I decided to go with a thin layer of the same Blood Red I've been using all along. Because of the white primer/undercoat below, I get a pink colour with the first layer, which I chose to darken inside.

Now these models are far from perfect. Some murlocs have nice teeth. Others well... have never seen a dentist. Perhaps they have, but they've made a meal out of the poor dentist. I was lucky that this particular murloc's teeth were decently molded (I've seen one other model where the murloc's teeth are not-so-sharp-and-distiguished). This allowed me to semi-easily paint in the red which just bled into the right places, keeping the teeth white. Of course, I had to do the lower gum (in red) just before the green lower lip. That was a bit tricky. I did mess up the teeth a bit then, but nothing a little Bone White couldn't handle. Sometimes I went over too much with the white, so I had to put the red back, and sometimes I even dribbled a bit too much red on the lower lip so I had to put in the green (fortunately I made so much green that it hadn't dried up till now)!!

So, after finishing the delicate mouth (murlocs.. ya never know), I started painting in the yellow in the hands and feet. The feet I did entirely in yellow, and kind of extended that yellow to the mid legs much like I did with the mid arms in the hands. I didn't do the entire hand though. No need (although the same can be said about the feet). Perhaps I was just seeing whether the yellow undercoat makes the red colour brighter. I think it does. I used watered-down Sunburst Yellow to do this, which allowed me to gradually 'mix' it in with the green without too much dry-brushing. I can say the paint and brush were quite damp enough for it to not be 'dry brushing'. Maybe 'damp-brushing' is the term?

Finally, The hands and feet. With still enough Blood Red, I was able to paint the hands and feet. And I managed a decent gradient between the yellow and red. To do this, I worked in a bit of yellow, then a bit of red. More yellow than red. What I got was a muddy-orange, which on one end I added a pin-drop of red or a little dab of yellow on either side to complete the transition. If you add just the right amount (which is VERY little) of each colour, your brush will not pick up too much colour and you can mix back and forth between red and yellow without washing the brush. The trick is to use really REALLY just what I call a "pin-drop" of colour - dip about .05mm (yes, that's HALF A MILLIMETER) of a size 0 brush in either colour paint, although for yellow I can go up to 1mm of the size 0 brush, because it takes more yellow to ease out the red.

When I finished with the feet, I got out my size 4 brush and did the parts of the base around the feet first. In some tricky areas, like in-between the feet, I resorted to the size 0 brush. After the area around the feet were finished, I used my size 6 (which I use for priming) for the rest of the base.

At this point I went and compared what I've accomplished so far with the original model. It helps to know how far you've come.

After resting a bit and putting my almost-two-year-old son to sleep (he's what kept me busy for the other parts of the day), I took up the brush again and started doing the blue stripe of the murlocs's back. For this blue I used 3 dabs of Skull White with one dab of Enchanted Blue. To measure this dab I use the end of my size 4 brush (the main brush for painting) dipped about 3mm in the paint. Later on I'm going to realise that I painted a blue murloc green when there are actually BLUE murlocs (with a different colour scheme) around. Initially, I was going to use this stripe as a determiner for the colour. Maybe I still will... but surely I might tire of painting so many murlocs with the same colour scheme? We'll see. The blue stripe came first -- which it shouldn't have. This just made the task of painting in the blue-green back harder, as I had to look out for the blue line as well as the red points coming out of his back. In the process of painting in the blue-green (which was all the blue colour I used earlier mixed with one dab of Scorpion Green), I accidentally hit some of those red points. I will eventually touch this up later, only to find that when the paint dried, it was still visible (needs one more round of Blood Red).

After the blue-green was painstakingly added, trying my best not to extend the colour past the mid-section (I failed a bit there though), I added in the white border lines. THIS was probably the most excruciating part... because earlier, night had already fallen (see where I put my son to bed) and the lighting was not as good as day-lighting is. I had problems with shadows being cast on the area I was working on! Again... wish I had a proper work lamp. In the end though, I completed it. Breathed a sigh of relief, and was glad that I had been taking pictures for this journal for (almost) every step of the way!
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More than a man! More than a fish! I am murloc!
TheAnimaster Mar 7, 2011  Professional Digital Artist

Or rather... BrblrblrrbllrblrrrblllllrrrHHH~!
okay i've to say something:

TheAnimaster Apr 4, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
That was pretty hard to resist, wasn't it : P ~?
Vosag Sep 14, 2009
Great job, but i still hate those mother****** for raping me a couple of times in WoW :D
TheAnimaster Sep 16, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah... I always wondered why they got bigger and bigger. Just when you thought you've leveled up enough, you meet a really large slimy one. XD
Moonlight2189 Aug 24, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i hated fighting thoses :P
TheAnimaster Aug 24, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Moonlight2189 Sep 19, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
MrsAsphyxia May 20, 2009
where did you get this figurine to pant? Part of the WoW mini's series?
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