How does one paint a blue dragon?
However you want is the answer, but here's how I did it. Now to begin with whenever I paint a mini for the first time I have a tendency to want to stay as true to the original artists rendition as possible. Not just to honour their vision, but as a starting point. Sort of like using a recipe to guide your way. I do this especially when I'm feeling a lack of my own inspiration.
What is speed painting?
For many people, speed painting is when they give themselves a short deadline in which to paint a mini. Say twenty minutes or up to one hour or some short deadline, and painting the mini the best they can very speedily, trying not to skimp on quality in that time. How good can you do it and how quickly?
This speed painting video I have posted below is not that. My speed painting videos are just the regular slow process of painting, edited and sped up to around 250% - 300% on average to make a video of the process only last between 5-25 minutes.
Larger minis or projects will often have a longer video, this one is around 25 minutes. This young blue dragon was not my first dragon, but it is the one I love the most so far that I've done and the only one with a video, which is embedded here at the end of this post.
Painting the Young Blue Dragon
Most minis start off as just plain old grey plastic or metal, some even come primed and 'ready' to paint but I've higher standards than they do at the factory. The first step for me is to do some prep work using a utility knife to remove the mold lines leftover from the manufacturing process. Then I clean up the mini and apply a fresh coat of primer.
As far as the painting process goes my first step is to visualize what I want it to look like, often I look to what others have done and to nature for inspiration. The first step after that is to start with the base coats. Below is the young blue dragon with a first base cost of blue on the dragon everywhere that I felt might be the scaly bits. This particular paint is Talassar Blue which is a contrast paint from Citadel. We can talk more about the different types of paints and the pros and cons of using contrast paints in another post.
After the blue was a base coat of Vallejo's Elfic Flesh paint (see below) on the fleshy parts of the dragon like the wing membranes and the belly.
It's usually after the base coats are done that I really start in on the detail, shading and highlighting. You can see here below a haze of Vallejo's light sea grey paint mixed with a glaze and a bit of water as a shadow layer. It was spot brushed and stippled over the flesh tone in the areas where it meets the blue to help blend things so there aren't such stark lines and denote where the shadows would be. I also applied this to the entire underside of the membrane and belly.
The next step you can also see I've done above was gently dry brushing with the light sea grey colour over the blue scaly bits to bring up the detail and mimic the way light would hit it. It also helps make it look not so much like it's one solid colour and less 'cartoon' like. There are honestly so many other steps from adding more shadows, more highlights, more variations in colouring, etc. Don't even get me started on the whole process of basing a mini. SO MANY STEPS!
I encourage you to watch the video perhaps while you're having a coffee in the morning or sitting on the toilet and needing to be entertained. Because let's face it, we all do it. We all bring our phones into the toilet. :-)
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