Home Forums Medieval Face Painting: quick and dirty

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    OK, not for everyone but may be of interest to some. A very quick way to paint faces (28mm) using the paint straight out of the pot, no watering down and no tidy up as I go (for those that try it you will know what to do and when to fix blemishes).  I usually use Reaper Master Series paint but I am aware that they are not as popular as some other brands so I went with Citadel/GW for this exercise….. to late I realised that my Citadel/GW are way old and everything has changed, be that as it may you will undoubtedly be able to sub your own favourite brand.

    The Pig Method!

    Base coat. So I had two flesh tones Dwarf Flesh or Elf Flesh to choose from for my base coat, Dwarf Flesh is really pink and Elf Flesh has a yellow tone to it but it is lighter. I went with the EF because the wash and cheeks will warm it up and come fairly close to natural.

    2. Wash coat. I used Ogryn Flesh wash straight as it comes, I do have a newer GW wash called Riekland flesh or some such but I think it is pretty crap compared to the older stuff, not the colour so much, the consistency.

    First high light. Used the base coat again to pick out cheek bones, top lip and chin. Nose and nostrils (if you can see them)

    Features. Tanned Flesh for the lower lip, Deneb Stone for the teeth and a tiny dab of Baal Red wash (dont use it as a wash) for the rose of the cheeks

    Second Highlight, I mixed the tiniest amount of Bleached Bone into a dab of Elf Flesh (I could have done with a little bit more Bleached Bone) retouched the highest part of the cheek bone and top lip either side of the septum. You would do a thin point on the nose and nostrils as well as two points on the chin either side of the cleft as well (not relevant here).

    Done, Sorry it wasn’t the best figure to use with the defect around the right eye and a strangeness to the lip! Straight up, a couple of minutes work each, another couple of seconds to do the lip properly would have been nice….. if I had noticed

    Like I said quick and dirty but it is effective. Bit of practice and some extra strokes on the highlights and you get this…

    …still really quick to do.


    • This topic was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by paintpig.

    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
    Slowly Over A Low Flame


    So had some time to touch up the above while waiting for my green stuff to play nice tonight. I mixed in a bit more of the Bleached Bone into the Elf Flesh (seemed to work better and should have done the first time) to re high light the cheek bones, top lip and a nice little feature at the corner of the mouth, fixed up the bottom lip and dabbed a tiny bit of black wash into the eye sockets, a couple of minutes work.

    If I was stuck using Elf Flesh another pass with the Ogryn Flesh wash thinned down would be the go for me, just to bring some warmth back into the face, it is a weird yellow flesh tone but hey I don’t know much about Elves.

    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
    Slowly Over A Low Flame


    So it WAS you! 


    Nice one. You do good face. Very useful. 

    Rod Robertson


    Thanks for posting this. It will be very helpful.

    Strangely I’m doing most of what you’re doing but I think I know what my problems are. First I primer my figures with matte black enamel paint, then I dry brush them with grey and then white paint. Then I lay down the medium flesh base coat. Then comes a fleshy tan wash over the medium flesh. Then the eyes get painted and this is where things begin to go awry. I suck at painting eyes. After the eyes I highlight the high points on the face and shadow the darker bits. Then some dark flesh for the upper orbital cavity, the lips and the nares and if necessary a red and dark flesh combination for the open mouth and any recent wounds. Ivory or antique white for the teeth if any are visible. Finally a light wash with a mixture of burnt umber and black for filth and grime. What I end up with either looks good to me (33% of the time) or looks like a bug-eyed transvestite who overdoes the make-up (67%). When I do this on 54mm or 70mm figures things generally look good. But 25-30mm defeats me.

    So I’ll try priming in white or painting the flesh white before following  your process. And then we’ll see if there is any hope that my 28mm Saga armies will look natural like your figures or like cast-offs from a particularly tough New Orleans Mardi Gras parade float!

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.


    I keep my own figures very simple as in the above, commission then I go overboard with 5-7 layers, glazes etc etc.

    Keep the base coat flesh a fairly light tone, the flesh wash stage can be used to compensate if you think it is still too light after the first pass.

    So for example if I use a light fair skin base coat and then make the “flesh wash” pass and think it is too light I will go ahead and do the first highlight  using the base, put in the cheek rose and lips ( exactly as described above) .  But before I go on to the second highlight I make an additional wash pass then go on to do the second highlight but this time using the base without lightening it up a notch.

    Cost in time is a second pass of flesh wash between the first and second highlight, too easy!

    Just muck around with the flesh paint and washes you have available until you have the right combo, it will work!


    Used three wash passes with highlighting after each with the original basecoat, reduced the area of the highlighting on each stage. Final highlight was base coat with a tiny point of ivory as a final touch


    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
    Slowly Over A Low Flame

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