Monday, December 1, 2014

Here's Why You Need To Learn Your Color Wheel

When I read a few months back that Otherworld was doing a miniature for the Fighting Fantasy Fest, I was excited. When I saw the studio's painted example of the mini for the first time, I definitely knew I wanted to get my hands on one. But I was a bit confused as to why the colors used on the mini didn't match the colorized version of Russ Nicholson's iconic original.

Now I believe I know why.

Look at that original art again. It works in 2D for reasons unknown to yours truly. But translate that combination of lime green, cyan, magenta, orange, yellow, and gold into the third dimension and the results are . . . not my favorite painting project. I give you Zagor and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:
Ahhhhhh! My eyes! They're bleeding!
He was fun to paint, though, so I think he'll stay un-stripped and not repainted. Plus, I haven't seen anyone else attempt to re-create the Nicholson color scheme, so for the time being, he's one of a kind, eh? Heh heh heh.

Take care, brethren. Thanks for the look.


  1. I'm a newbie when it comes to colour theory so I won't try to explain was this was a difficult process. I think it does look cool anyway even if a little from tabletop distance. From close he looks good.
    I believe one of the elements to add contrast when colours are set is to play on saturation, the beige could probably work better if a little brighter. The blue and green are also too close in terms of saturation which makes them hard to tell apart.
    Once gaain I'm no expert and definitely not the painter you are so please take this as my 2 cents ;)

    I wouldn't strip or repaint it either !

    1. I'd really like to hear more about what you mean by "playing with saturation," as that's a topic I don't remember reading about ever. I assume you mean changing the "richness" of the colors using glazes or washes, but I am not sure. It's funny that you mentioned the beige on the mini in particular, as that is the one part that really gave me fits during painting- I re-highlighted and then re-washed those areas three separate times trying to get the balance right, and you're correct- it still isn't good.

      And you are far too modest. Your painting is an inspiration. You are most certainly an expert in my book. :) Cheers, Assless.

    2. The way I see it, (and once again I know very little about colour theory) is that to make contrast, you can use the hue, the brightness/darkness or saturation. From what I understand, desaturated colours tend to grey and some painters simply tune down their mix by adding grey to get less pigment. Giving washes might just have done the opposite by enriching the beige.
      This is something I'd really liket to work on and a few attempts have taught me you can actually still have soemthing clear and easy to read by using the different means of contrast.

  2. You have done a nice job on this. I suspect the problem with the colours is that there are too many different colours to work well. Complementary colours or contrasting colours work well on a figure but not both. So shades of blue and orange can work as can shades of green and blue but put all three together (as is the case here) and...

  3. I've been run over by the color wheel on the hobby highway more than once myself.

    Asslessman is on to something with the grey. Desaturating colors can help them coexist peacefully on a miniature, I find.