Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Using Chaos Cultists for cloth painting practice

Despite finishing my first ten Word Bearers Cultists a long time ago, it was tough for me to get motivated to finish painting the other ten cultists in the Dark Vengeance set. As I get deeper into the hobby, I find myself happiest when dedicating time and effort into painting a single miniature from start-to-finish to the highest quality that I can. That makes painting armies a real pain-in-the-arse, more so when painting stuff I have tackled before. To keep things interesting, I decided to use the cultists as practice for painting cloth, following two simple rules - 1. Use complementary colours (not black) for shadows, and 2. Use layering/glazes to smooth out transitions from shadows to highlights.  

My attempt at painting a realistic looking cloak

My best result was achieved on the cloak of the Chaos Cultist Champion (with shotgun) as pictured above. It was the first mini I had used for the cloth painting practice, so I still had the patience to slowly paint on many thin layers of paint to build up a smooth texture. The cloak was painted using various mixtures of Scab Red, Red Gore and Blazing Orange for the mid-tone and highlights, while Devlan Mud and Regal Blue was used for the shadows. Sadly, the shadow/highlight transitions were not as smooth as they should be as I didn't put in the required hours (more on this later in the post).

Long flowing coats and hoods made good practice subjects
Lack of patience meant the blue hood (right) was just a simple midtone-wash-highlight
Another two cultists which was covered with coats and scarfs for ample cloth painting practice
Layering and glazing for all cloth parts except for brown scarf (right) which had the simple midtone-wash-highlight
Yet another two cultists with significant cloth parts
Can you guess which part was not painted with the layering/glazing technique?

When painting the above six cultists, my patience was starting to wear thin. This resulted in some laziness in which I substituted the layering/glazing technique for a simple midtone, followed by a wash and finished with a highlight colour. By the time I reached the two cultists below, I was sick of the sight of them and the paint quality quickly went downhill from there. I didn't even bother to paint the final cultist in the squad i.e. the one with the heavy stubber. 

Sloppy work at its best
Things don't improve that much from the front view

Results from my mini projects shows that I have a lot of practice ahead of me in order to achieve smoother transitions between the shadows and highlights that would make for realistic looking cloth. Some award winning painters have stated that they sometimes spent up to 15 hours out of a 20-hour project just painting smooth transitions for cloth. Seeing that I am nowhere close that number, I guess I shouldn't expect similar fantastic results from my efforts. What I lack and need is ...

Even a future Golden Daemon winner has to start somewhere


  1. Came across your blog via Faeit212 and it looks very good. I have the cultist models also and need to practice my cloth painting skills, think I might use them.

    I can add you to my blog roll to increase your exposure if you wish and then you add me to yours in return?

    1. I will be glad to add you to my blog roll. Btw I am a Skyrim fan too. =)


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