About this Site

Purpose of this Blog is to become a tool and a place where artist that collect and paint flat figures can find interesting links and news about flats, painting techniques, history and various related articles.English speaking related sites are very few but hopefully this blog will provide the collector and the painter with interesting and valuable information about the Art of the Flat Figure and everything related to it.
During the next days I will post any related info I have collected for a long time about various aspects of Flats. Techniques, photos, links, historic articles, anything that is related. Wherever possible I will including the author of the original article. I apologise if sometimes the author's name is not included. It's not intentional but it is lost through time.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Painting Tattoos

Author Unknown

I am an oils guy, and I have recently done a couple busts with tattoos. I paint all my flesh tones as per usual. Let them thoroughly dry (2-3 days). I then mix up my tattoo color with my oils. I use sap green, phthalo blue, paynes gray, and usually just a smidge (tiny bit) of yellow ochre (ochre really helps to "gray" down the mix and since I use this in my flesh tone mix, helps tint the color to the flesh tones) until I get what I see as a satisfying color. Somewhere in the bluish to kinda greenish range. I then use one of my smallest "liner" or "spotter" brushes to apply the paint (usually around 5/0 to 10/0 brushes depending on what I'm painting and where). These brushes are generally thin and keep a nice sharp point when painting.One thing to mention here, I ALWAYS plan the tattoos ahead of time with a small sketch or, what I do with almost all my figures, is bring an image of the figure into Photoshop and work out what I want to do before I start painting so I have a good reference with me while I work on the project. This has proven particularly helpful when doing tattoos, because I draw them on the figure freehand with no reference lines to start with. Any type of reference would look unrealistic at this scale. Particularly since the paint goes on VERY transparent and would show the reference lines underneath.I apply the paint in VERY thin coats. I keep very little paint on the brush, just enough to hold the point. I then apply it as if dry-brushing slowly drawing the basic shape of the tattoo on the surface. This is a slow build up of color. It goes on quite light and transparent at first as I build up the color to what I think is satisfactory. I let the paint stay just a bit "modelled" and not perfectly even as to let it appear a bit worn. The beauty of painting with oils is the fact that they stay wet more than long enough for you to make any corrections right away with thinner should you need to correct a line or two. I go back and forth, paint a couple lines, fix what ails them, and so on. One other thing to mention here would be shading. I have seen tattoos painted with highlight and shadow on them before. I don't really agree with this, to a point. Tattoos are generally perfectly flat on the skin and would generally not get a great deal of catch-light or strong highlight on the top (overhead lighting technique). So, because I am applying mine in so transparent a manor, I basically let the underlying flesh tones do my shading. I might be tempted to add a bit darker color for shadows if the tattoo goes somewhere to require that, but generally, if it is out in the open it will stand on it's own adequately without forcing too strong highlights and shadows.

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