Sunday, 1 January 2012

Tutorial: Ork / Orc Skin



Hi and welcome to the 2012 new year's edition of Sigur's Step-by-Step Painting Guide article. I usually do tutorial articles every six months, one in summer, one around new year.

The subject of this article is painting a Space Ork boy. The main reason for choosing this subject matter was due to the fact that ever since I painted the first Space Ork test miniature for my own army back in early 2008 I got requests about how I paint Ork skin and I did quite a few Orks and Orcs commission project for which this specific recipe was requested.

So in this article I will mainly focus on explaining this way of painting Ork skin. It goes without saying that it works just as well for Orcs, Orx, Örks or Urkx. ;)

It's a rather simple recipe. Let's have a look at the colours used:



Just a few quick words about choice of colours and painting guides and such: Of course you don't have to stick religiously to the paints used here. It doesn't matter what colours you use as long as they get the job done in a fashion you enjoy. The same goes for colour tones. If the paint you use isn't the same but a tad more brown, green, lighter or darker - that doesn't matter. Just mix it in a way that pleases your eyes. Anyway, I could go on about this for a long time so I'll just cut to the chase and talk about the colours at hand: Vallejo Model Color Reflective Green. Great colour. Very similar to GW's Catachan Green (add a hint of Dark Angels Green to make it look closer to Reflective Green). Camo Green - fun colour. If you don't have it, try adding a bit of yellow, Scorpion Green or similar colours to the darker green in case you don't have any Camo green at hand until you got a colour I would call "radioactive pea soup". Black/White - Whichever brand or making you please.



Now for the Washes used. I will talk about this later in the article but just as a quick note: These are just examples of what you can use. I like GW Washes a lot but you can make equivalents yourself pretty easily, you can use Vallejo's Washes, Secret Weapon's, Coat D'Arms', and so on. Brands and colours aren't important because you can always mix the colour you want yourself (and I can not encourage people enough to do so). Now that we got that out of the way, let's commence painting the fella.

First I chose some random Ork boy. Of course I chose one who doesn't wear full body armour so we can have a good look at the skin. The model was put together, based, the barrel of the gun was drilled out and the model was primed:



For the next step, I applied a basecoat of dark, naturalistic green. The colour used was a mix of Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) Reflective Green (90%) and black (10%).



Then I started painting broad highlights using pure VMC Reflective Green over most parts of the skin, only leaving the deepest recesses in the darker colour.



This was followed by further highlighting using various mixes of VMC Reflective Green and Citadel Colours Camo Green. One word about Camo Green: I got a pot of this many, many years ago and never quite found a use for it. When making up this recipe, trying to emulate the 'Eavy Metal team's look of early Rogue Trader Orks and combine it with the look of the Ork models in second edition Warhammer 40,000, I finally had found a way. :)

In this step you can decide what kind of shade you would like. Go for a lighter shade (i.e. add mode Camo green) for final highlights if you want a lighter skintone or stick to a darker one if you prefer your Orks to look darker. I started out with a 60/40 mix of Reflective Green and Camo Green. That may sound a bit strong to directly apply over Reflective Green but keep in mind how VMC paints have a much higher pigment density than Citadel paints and therefore "swallow up" much of the Camo Green before it really affects the colour.



I used three or four layers of highlights, adding more and more Camo Green with each layer and ending up with a final layer of pure camo green. As always with highlighting (or painting as a whole): Keep your paints thin. That will give you much better results and if you want stronger coverage, just add another layer.



Now we got pretty nice looking Ork skin but we want to tie the different layers together now and add additional shades to make the skin look more dramatic and smooth.

That's why we give the whole skin a wash. Keep those plans to yourself though because Orks really, really don't like to hear those words.

In this case I used a mix of Citadel's Devlan Mud and Thraka Green. The same effect can be achieved by using Secret Weapon's Armor Wash, Vallejo's Smoke or just by mixing some brown and some green, adding lots of water, some matte medium and a hint of dishwashing liquid. This is another point at which you can substantially affect the look of the model by using different shades of washes. In the past I used mixes of Thraka Green and Badab Black, pure Thraka Green or Badab Black, mixes of Devlan Mud and Gryphonne Sepia and so on.

Also try experimening with pure Gryphonne Sepia or Baal Red. As you can tell, I'm quite a fan of Games Workshop's line of washes but you can use any product as long as it works for you and as long as it's dark enough or compliments the green well enough. That's why red washes work but yellow ones will not work as well. I would not suggest using pure green washes because we want to go for a more naturalistic looking green skin.

After applying the wash, leave it to dry.



Now we got ourselves a rather nice looking, kind of dark Ork but with very dramatic shades on the skin. Now for some final highlighting: First I did a few highlights using Camo Green, ...



... then final highlights using a mix of Camo Green and white.



Again, you can use variations like yellow instead of white. This will give you a more vibrant finish. For now I am rather happy with the white though.

This finishes the skin on the Ork boy. These models have very pronounced muscles and sharp facial features which can be really brought to life with strong contrasts of shadows and highlights. On this model, I went for an almost extreme contrast. When painting your own models you might prefer another approach. If you want a softer look, try watering down your washes and use less sharp final highlights for instance.

After the skin was done I went on to paint the rest of the model in a Bad Moons colour scheme, mainly because I did a lot of Evil Suns, Goffs, Snakebites and a bunch of Blood Axes (apart from Kommandos of course) but not all that many Bad Moons.





I hope that this painting guide was informative and maybe entertaining to you. This way of painting Ork skin really doesn't involve any special techniques or materials, it is all about choice of colours.

So that's it for this article, I hope you enjoyed, had a good start into 2012 and that your year will be joyful and properous for you and yours. Please leave comments if you have any questions, commentary or critizisms of any kind.

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6 Comments

  1. Very nice tutorial. The green skin schema is beautiful. Will try this on my own. Its always good to have different skin-types in a huge ork army.

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  2. Thats great! I think that there is a lot to be said for the WAY you apply the coats as you seem to have a distinctive look to the Orks!

    Thanks for the tutorial though, as I really like the greens you've used and will be able ot use this to get mine done too!

    As a thought, have you considered adding some detailing washing of red or purple to areas such as around the eyes or under the nose etc. to help deepen the detail there and add variation to the colour tone of the face?

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  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. :)

    @oink: Unless specifically stated otherwise, my tutorials deal with stuff people can use to get their tabletop armies done. Your suggestion is very valid and I considered these things of course but for tutorials I prefer to stick to more basic things. When people toy around with techniques like you suggested, they don't have to read tutorials any more (but I'm happy if they do of course ;) ). I might add some reddened parrts to the skin on the finished model though. Good suggestion.

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  4. Hey this is quite an interesting article with regards to the eco-friendly green concept, the items look fabulous and stunning..

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  5. Great tutorial, Sigur. Very interesting combination of reflective green and camo green. I never would have thought to use those two together. Thanks!

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  6. Hi man, good tutorial. And also fantastic painting!! I have a fairly large but mostly unpainted ork army; I paint following the standard citadel colours (orkhide, knarloc, goblin etc) so what are your opinions on incorporating this or other colour schemes? I'd love to have a unified yet individual force so any tips would be great!!

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