How to Paint Bones
While painting up the skeletons for Super Dungeon Explore: Von Drakk Manor, a lot of folks have complimented me on my recipe for bone color. That gave me the idea to try my hand at writing up a tutorial on the subject. So welcome to my first ever tutorial!
I originally developed this mix when I started on Super Dungeon Explore in 2012 using old line Games Workshop paints, but with the change of color range I needed to rework it. luckily with the new line of paints, I was able to recreate it fairly accurately.
For this tutorial, I'll be using a Super Dungeon Explore Rattlebones miniature from the Von Drakk Manor expansion pack. But you can do bone color on anything. I've done this with horns and teeth as well, with solid results. Or maybe you have a set of bone armor or a giant bone club on a model, that would work too.
The colors we'll be using are all from the Games Workshop line, but you could use similar colors if you can't find exact matches.
The colors are:
Steel Legion Drab
A couple notes before we get started.
- Make sure you thin your paint. Painting straight out of the pot will eventually clog details with successive layers. Multiple thin layers always win vs. a single thick coat.
- I thin my paint with Liquitex Matte Medium and water. There are other additives you can use as well, like Slo-Dri Medium, you've just got to play with it and see what works for you.
- Not only does Liqutex Matte Medium help thin the paint, it also makes your supply last longer. I go through a lot less paint now-a-days, than I did in the old days.
- My mix is usually 2 drops of paint, 1 drop of Liquitex and 2 drops of water.
- I prime my minis with Games Workshop's Skull White, but you could use a different brand. Be wary of Rustoleum and Krylon, I've had mixed results. Sometimes the chemicals in the spray react to the plastic of the mini.
After you clean your minis of any trace oils and mold lines, prime the surface with white paint. I use Games Workshop's Skull White in a spray can, but you could sub it out for something else as long as its safe for plastic.
Remember: Some sprays react to the plastic in the miniature differently. Just because it says it's made for plastic doesn't mean it's the best option.
Base coat the areas you want to be bone with Steel Legion Drab. Here we want even coverage in any seams or recesses. The flat areas don't need to be perfect though as we are going to cover them with new layers later on.
Note: I painted the eyes and mouth of this guy before I got started, that way I didn't need to worry about accidentally hitting the bone areas with green paint.
Layer on Rakarth Flesh, leaving the recesses Steel Legion Drab and any areas along clothing or armor. This will help the effect of dirt/grime laying in them.
Wash the entire mini with Seraphim Sepia, this helps tie the Steel Legion Drab and Rakarth Flesh together better. You want this wash to cover all of the areas you've painted, so make sure you don't miss any crevasses. You can use it directly out of the pot with a wet brush, or you can mix it with a few drops of water for the same effect.
Once the Sepia wash is dry and there are no longer any wet areas (we want the wash to be fully cured, or it will mix with the paint). Paint all areas with a very thin layer of Ushabti Bone. You will need to add extra water to the mix to get it the proper consistency. You'll want it to be thick enough to hold to the surface without running everywhere, but thin enough to become slightly translucent. If it'd done properly, it will dry allowing the color beneath to show a little, giving a varied surface color.
Using a thicker mix of Ushabti Bone (my normal mix mentioned above), We catch any raised sections that the light should be hitting. Since it's a 2nd coat of the same color as before, it helps solidify the color making it more opaque.
And that's it! A Rattlebones all bone colored. It's a pretty quick technique and works really well for most anything I've tried it with.
But, for now, I finished up the Rattlebones. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading my first ever legit tutorial. I plan on this to be a new article series. But it won't have scheduled updates, instead, I will add a new one whenever I feel that a technique I use needs to be explained better. Hopefully this helped you with your bone color too. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or you can also catch me on Twitter @ryglore.