Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to Paint Rotting Flesh

Hey Everyone! Now that I have finished the commission I have gotten back to painting my Cryx stuff. I decided to give the Bile Thralls a go because I have not painted zombies before. I always like to do a little research on how to go about painting certain things or looking at artwork or images to get a visual reference. This was particularly hard because there are not too many good references, that I found, that satisfied the style I was looking for. I also went to Google images and looked up drowned victims from police photos or newspapers to get an idea of what flesh does when it bloats. Again these images were few and far between and the ones I could find were pretty hard to look at for more than ten minutes.

So to save you the trouble (and the nausea) I will just explain what effect you will be going for. If you look a the Cryx army book painting section they give you a step by step guide for thrall flesh, however I don't particularly like the way they look in the book. I find it a little too animated looking and not dead enough. When flesh bloats it can change into a number of colors at different stages of decomposition. In the early stages the flesh turns a pale yellow, and the veins, blood and organs start to congeal giving the skin a transparent look with different shades of yellow, purple, blue, red, green, and pale white.

As the skin breaks down more there will be the presence of dark to light gray, and in some areas black, by this stage the skin is very distorted to the point where faces are enlarged or sunken in and the skin becomes tight. I Imagine it would depend on the environment they were in when the body started to decompose to what shape and colors the skin would take on as it breaks down. I wanted to go for the fresh to mid range decomposition level. To achieve this I borrowed some of the techniques from the book and used some colors that I felt would compliment the look of bloat, rather than full out zombie rot.

Colors Needed:
"Rotting Flesh"
"Bubonic Brown"
"Liche Purple"
"Catachan Green"
"Scab Red"
"Red Gore"
"Blood Red"
Purple and Blue Wash.

Paint all the flesh with a base coat of Rotting Flesh until it completely covers the primer.While this dries we are going to create our own washes out of Liche Purple and Catachan Green paint. To do this you will need 4 drops of mixing medium (Fluid retarder), 3 drops of water, and one drop paint. Make up a purple and green wash at the same time. It should look like this.

The dark purple on the left if drying diluted paint, I just mixed a little paint in with a few drops of pure medium and once it was watered down I painted it around the areas where the pipes connected to the skin to give it a deep bruising effect. You can see how watery the wash is in comparison. Apply the purple wash first all over the rotting Flesh base, and when it dries go over it again with the catachan green wash to bring the purple down and fill the recesses with a swampy, dirty look. It should look like this.

Next we are going to make a glaze of Bubonic Brown to bring down the purple even more and to lay a base and transition color for the rotting flesh highlighting we are going to do later on. Add 1 drop of paint to the palette, and dilute it with 2 drops of water. This will allow you to build up thin layers to maintain the transparency look of bloating flesh, but also give the skin a sickly look. Make sure only to paint the areas that will be highlighted later, make sure to leave the recesses dark with the green and purple wash, and also leave some of the purple as bruising in some of the areas. It should look something like this:

Next place some more purple wash over the bubonic brown in random areas around the body, and take the catachan green wash and drop it into the the areas that need shading and line in under the folds of the skin.

This is also a good time to paint in some veins randomly throughout the body with diluted black and Enchanted Blue. Next, we are going to overbrush the areas that are hit with light with a few thin layers of Rotting Flesh, highlighting all the areas, and blending the paint into the bubonic brown layer from the previous step to give it a smooth transition. Once again you want to leave some of the purple showing to give it a bruised, old meat look. It should look like something like this:

Now take your blue wash and shade or line in under the skin folds and in between the slits in the rib cage. You can also put a little blue wash on a few discrete areas on the skin as well as a wash of Bubonic yellow in a few areas on the legs and armpits to give the appearance of blue and yellow bruising at this time. It should look like this:

Next we are going to highlight the edges of the model around any exposed inards, and on the arma, legs and feet that light hits when the light source is directly above the model.

Now we are going to paint the intestines with a base of Scab Red.

Then on each section or the intestine I'm going to paint a line of Red Gore on the upper half of that section.

Then I'm going to highlight the top of each section with a thin line of Blood red, and once it is dry paint the stitches with Rotting flesh flesh right out of the pot.

And that's how I go about painting bloated flesh. For zombies I would use less bubonic yellow, or none at all. I might just go for a bruised rotting flesh look using the wash technique I used here but only bringing up the flesh with rotting flesh and bloody it up. Speaking of which you may have wondered why there is no gore on these undead?

Well there will be and I will be doing a tutorial on blood effects. I am going to do the blood effects after the paint job has been sealed and then seal the blood effects with a gloss varnish to give the blood a wet appearance. Also based on the fluff of Bile Thralls, they spew acid out of their guns from tubes hooked up to their stomach and mouth, so I will be adding some green acid effects into the mix as well. Once I get the whole unit pained completely and sealed I will put up a tutorial on blood effects hopefully before Halloween! Until then joyous painting!

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