Monday, January 6, 2014

Jungle Rivers, Part 2

At the end of the last update, I had put a base coat of paint on the 8 latex river pieces that I'd bought at Historicon 2013. I generally use inexpensive craft paints for my work, supplemented for a few important colors by Iron Wind Metals paints. For dry brushing, I generally use Howard Hues paints for their thickness. All four colors that would be used to recreate a muddy brown jungle river would be from the Ceramcoat line -- available here in the U.S. at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and various other places. The colors I would be using are called Bambi Brown, Raw Sienna, Timberline Green, and English Yew Green.
A wash of Raw Sienna gives the tan river bottoms a nice mottled appearance
The slightly watered down base coast was of Bambi Brown. This light tan color was meant to represent the sand and dirt bottom of the river. I'd left off in the last update with covering the entire surface in Bambi Brown. Once dry, the next step would be to heavily water down Raw Sienna -- a medium brown with reddish tones in it. My estimate would be that I used a 1/4 to 1/3 ratio of paint to water. This was a wash, in essence. I wanted it to settle in the lowest places on the sculpted surface of the river. It would represent deeper portions of the river. I really liked how this gave the river a mottled appearance, as if the waves on the river surface were breaking up your view of the bottom. The photo above does a fairly good job of showing what it looked like at this stage, although with probably a bit more reddish tone than they had in person.
A 50/50 water-to-paint wash of Timberline Green has been added on the above piece. The lower piece shows what it looked like prior to this step.

In the picture above, you can see what it looked like after I added the wash of Timberline Green. This color can best be described as a light olive drab. I watered down this one down to a 50/50 ratio because I wanted more coverage than the Raw Siena, but still wanted it to be transparent so you can see the shades of brown on the bottom through it. As expected, it covers up more of the Raw Sienna wash than the Bambi Brown base coat -- which sticks to the raised areas of the latex representing ripples. However, in person, you can still see portions of the darker brown showing through. So far, so good on my layering method! Remember, this was all seat-of-the-pants experimenting...I wasn't sure if this would give me the look I wanted. It seemed to make the most sense, though.
A watered down layer of English Yew Green has been applied to the upper river section. As you can see, it darkens the surface, but still allows you to see the brown river bottom through the two green layers.
Much as I had done with the browns, I had a second, darker color to add to the greens. This was Ceramcoat English Yew Green, which I applied in about a 2/3 to 3/4 ratio of water to paint. English Yew Green can be described as a dark olive drab. This was meant to darken up the lower areas and make it more green and less brown. As you can see in the above picture, it definitely darkens the river surface. You can still see the brown layers beneath the green, so the watering down of the acrylic craft paint was producing transparent layers like I'd hoped. After this was dry, though, I decided there was still too much Bambi Brown visible on the raised wave surfaces of the latex. I decided they needed one more step to be complete.
In the above photo, the final layer has been applied. I went back and put a Timberline Green (the first, lighter olive drab color) dry brush onto the raised portions of the latex river section. As you can see, it definitely lightens the surface back up. If you click on the image for the larger photo, you should be able to see all four colors in portions. Am I happy with this? I'd have to say yes. I said I wanted a muddy greenish-brown river, and this fits the bill, I think. This color of river can be found all over the world, so I'll be able to use it not only as a jungle river, but in North America, Europe -- you name it.

Stage Two -- painting the river surface -- was probably the most technically demanding. I had to think about the layers I was applying and analyze the effects of successive layers of washes. I had to project what effect each would have on the combined look, and was essentially doing a lot of guesswork. The biggest challenge was that I had to have the browns on the bottom, so to speak, with the greens on top. However, since all were washes, they would leave that original solid layer of tan on the wavelets. That was solved by topping it all off with a green dry brush.

Stage Three would probably involve the most drudgery -- and time. I wanted to flock the edges of the latex river sections and merge them with the felt base I glued each piece onto. I am definitely going to need more white glue for this! Felt is a "thirsty" material and will likely absorb a lot of it.

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