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Thread: (Reverse/Inverted) GW Technique Painting Style

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    Commander b4z's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    London, UK

    (Reverse/Inverted) GW Technique Painting Style

    [skip this bit if you want]
    I have had a hiatus from the hobby for a good 10 years, as a young boy I was exceptionally good at painting for my age, and I won several in store competitions [when you are 10-13 yrs old you have limited opportunity to travel re: Young Bloods @ Golden Daemon etc] coming back to the hobby as an adult, I have read a lot of articles on this forum and others about painting techniques, styles, colour theory etc. [i am not by any means a master of painting, but i am educated enough to understand and try and apply these techniques]

    Furthermore, I am usually 99% unhappy with the models i produce and end up stripping them over and retrying, so when it comes to my painting outcomes, i am a perfectionist, and highly self-critical, so this is not some slap dash technique, it requires patience and effort.

    The Purpose of this:

    So, on to the point, basically i have been experimenting with a technique of painting where you do the exact reverse order of what GW teaches you to do.

    The Theory behind this is to utilise the physical properties of the MODEL itself as the factor in HELPING you achieve the best painting result, by this i mean the MODEL has folds, curves, recesses JUST AS MUCH as the MODEL has raised planes [which GW teaches you to build paint progressively upon].

    In my opinion... The GW Technique teaches you to identify and then paint, progressively, upward through these ever-raising planes to the highest highlight, BUT this does not work to the MODEL's properties' advantages e.g. the folders, curves, recesses.
    Because the GW technique requires you to identify using your own interpretation of HOW much of and WHERE to apply the next highlight and this can lead to erroneous results whereas what i will describe allows you to do the opposite, instead of building LIGHT [through highlights] you are building SHADE slowly and progressively, and it ultimately ends up making the process both easier, more controllable, AND [arguably] a better result, because the layers are thinner, and you are also utilising the properties of the acrylic paint which is essentially like layering different hues of stained glass ontop of each other rather than applying progressively thicker layers of paint ontop of their darker variants/mixes]

    Before i go on...

    Lets examine the the GW Style which could be broadly defined as...
    1. Undercoat Black (yes for pedantics you can undercoat White)
    2. Paint on the Base colour (usually darkest) [depending on preference using perhaps Foundation or straight Acrylic paints]
    3. Then highlight up slowly through the colour scale [by doing mixes and variations of grades of that colour (whether using colours straight out the pot or with 3:1, 2:1, 1 mixes etc. etc.] by picking out the 'raised'/'highlight' areas progressively adding less and less as the colour gets lighter

    [this is deliberately leaving out the ink/wash stage although this can be applied after the base colour, but still is essentially the same process]

    Now, INSTEAD, i decided to try a sort of an advanced 'colouring in technique' or 'layered stained glass effect' [the best phrase i can use to describe it], i have tried this technique with a lot of relatively instant success.

    This Reversed/Inverted Style can be explained as…
    1. Undercoat White [this is crucial as it’s the blank canvas that you progressively and delicately shade in] [hence the 'colouring in book' metaphor]
    2. Take the lightest variant/mix that you are going to use for the lightest highlight [using the GW technique - so this would be the last step] (on the area).
    3. Thin it down with Thinner (not really Water.. although i guess you can try it)
    4. Apply it to the area [so that you are not 'painting' flat colour but instead deliberately utilising the curvature/recesses of the model so that you are placing a semi-translucent layer of that pigment across the area but which will obviously sit more readily in the more recessed areas and less so on the prominent areas - yes at this point you can say this is just like the 'washes' they sell - but infact the properties between them and of this thinned acrylic are quite different [ive tried it!]]
    5. Let that dry fully.
    6. You will now have areas which are just off-white, with a thin layer of the (colour) paint, and areas that are more recessed, with slightly darker layers of the same (colour) paint.
    7. Now take the next grade/varient/mix down from the above that you would use for the second lighest highlights [using the GW technique] (on that area)
    8. Thin it down with Thinner, making sure its the exact same consistency as the one above.
      [again, so that you are not 'painting' flat colour but instead you are placing a semi-translucent layer of that pigment across the area EXCEPT in this instance you are NOT applying this to the areas where you want the ultimate highlight to show, so you should carefully apply it to all of the area EXCEPT these areas, so essentially apply as before except avoiding the final highlight area, so apply to the areas which would be the penultimate highlight not the ultimate highlight.
    9. Repeat this technique, creating the mixes darker and darker, and applying progressively less paint, since you will be ALWAYS painting INTO the recesses but reducing each time the translucent layers that are applied to the 'raised planes'
    10. This requires more steps but the control it provides you by progressively SHADING IN the model is superior from building UPON a DARK base colour [as GW Technique teaches you] in that you have to use ALOT less paint, ALOT thinner layers, and the overall appearance looks [in my opinion alot] better]
    11. EDIT - what i need to make clear is that although you are applying the paint as i have described, you do not neccessarily have to just wash the whole area [minus the bits you are leaving as the highlight above that colour gradient], you can selectively 'paint in' very slight areas by 'welling' the paint. [if that makes any sense?]

    [I will try and create some Photos/Pictures to demonstrate a step by step or exactly what i mean - if people dont understand]

    Does anyone else do this? What do you think of it?
    Last edited by b4z; 22-03-2009 at 10:12.

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