Sunday, October 20, 2013
However, this method is completely backwards when it comes to painting flames.
To understand fire and flames, we need to take a closer look at what’s happening. So what is happening? Captain Obvious says, “Something is burning.” Very true, Captain Obvious. Something is burning, and that is why we have fire.Fire is hottest at its source, which makes sense. Flames are white hot at the center, the very hottest part of the fire. The farther away the flames lick away from the source, the cooler they get until they die out. As the flame tendrils reachout as they burn, the color changes. White hot at the center, turning into yellow, orange, red, and finally a dark red at the tips. We paint the very tips black to suggest soot or smoke.An orange or red fire suggests a natural fire such as a bonfire or a torch. An ethereal or magical flame might have blue tendrils with a white center. Magical flames tend to be painted blue because it suggests a cooler flame, one able to be shaped and handled by a mage or sorcerer. It also suggests a supernatural source.Fire is, in fact, blue at the center of a flame, but it is usually invisible to the naked eye. The orange and red hues from the burning source is usually enough to mask the blue color. Putting blue at the center of your torch flame would be confusing and unrealistic on a miniature. This is why I limit my colors to yellows and reds, which is what we see and identify with when we think of fire.
It is always important to prime your miniature before painting. In the case of painting fire, I always use white or grey primer, since the basecoat is white. Painting a black primer first would require many coats of white just to cover it up, and is a waste of time. Prime your fire white or grey, and let it dry for a few hours.
I am using Citadel colors to paint these flames, but they can be substituted for similar colors. The model I am using for the example is a Legion of the Damned backpack with a nice torch attached to the top. The flames modeled onto the backpack are painting the “wrong” way, but I find that modeled flames like this are easier to see with the tips painted yellow. It might be technically incorrect, but it’s hard to see dark red tipped flames against black armor, so I took artistic license. For the real flames, however, we’ll use the proper method.
Paint the entire fire Skull White. Make sure to cover the entire area and get the white in the recesses.
Hope this helps you with all your flame and fire painting needs!