|Suicide Squad Katana (aka Soum 13 Moons) work-in-progress: Soft black hair|
To recreate the soft black hair that I wanted for Katana, I actually used every other colour except black ... well almost. The final step did involve the use of a black wash. But prior to that I used a triad of acrylic paints namely Vallejo Model Color German Camouflage Black Brown (70.822), Burnt Umber (70.941) and US Field Drab (70.873). Apart from the black brown for weathering purposes, these are colours I rarely find use for. But for soft black hair, they served their purpose well enough.
|Stages of Katana's soft black hair from basecoat (far left) to end result (far right)|
|Acrylic paints and washes used to recreate soft black hair with the only true black hue being the wash|
Initially, Katana's hair looks more light brown than black especially after the first three layers of paint (see above). It all starts with a black brown basecoat followed by increasing highlights of first burnt umber followed by Vallejo's US Field Drab. At the very last step, all the hues were toned-down using a black wash - just enough so that some of the highlights still showed through the wash.
|Long lustrous soft black hair against an almost milky white fair skin|
|Well sculpted hair always makes the painting of it that much easier|
|Missing, for the moment, from Katana's hair is a ponytail secured by a delicate hairpin|
The strongest temptation I had to fight while painting Katana's black hair was to add some highlights back onto her hair after the wash had been applied. Even now as I look at the photos I've the urge to do just that. Maybe right in the end after almost all her colours have been painted in, then only then will I take a second look at her hair to see if it needs additional highlights.
|Temptation to add more highlights to Katana's hair is ever present but resisted|
|Katana's hair was put against a pure black backdrop to see if it had enough contrast within|
|Katana's facial features isn't finished yet; there's still her eyes, lips as well as various warm /cool hues to add|
|It's likely Katana will sport a diaphanous white tank top to fully realize details of the sculpture|
As a measure of the contrast in Katana's black hair, I took photos of it against a black background. Her hair showed sufficient contrast, at least enough for me to move on with the painting process. The only likely thing I might change on Katana's hair is to add brighter highlights to areas which would naturally catch more light. That isn't as easy as it sounds. It's a balancing act that when tilted the wrong way would essentially change her hair color from soft black to brown.
|Viridian green hues on her lower eyelid is one possibility I'm looking at to increase realism|
|Colour scheme for Katana is a simple one, which makes it difficult to pull off|
Other than the dilemma of how much brighter her hair highlights should be, the second thing bugging me is the tips of her hair. Against her fair skin the tips of her look unnaturally thick. It is here more than anywhere else that additional highlights would be most justified. Again, that's something I'll have to relook only after most of her paint job has been completed. Not now.
|Contrast between the tips of Katana's hair and her fair skin seem a tad too dark and may need to be softened|
|Back view of Katana's soft black hair against a black backdrop|
|A reddish-brown hue for the leather armour on Katana's right arm seems the most likely choice|
As a comparison I also took shots of Katana's hair against a whitish backdrop. In essence, her hair will take on a slightly different hue depending on the background colour as well as lighting. This is an optical illusion which I explained in a blog post two-and-a-half years ago. So as it stands without any further changes, Katana's hair tends to fluctuate between shades of soft black and brown black.
|As expected, Katana's soft black hair looks different against a white background|
|Japanese-themed motifs are being explored as possible free-hand paintings on her left leg stocking|
|Once the rest of Katana's paint job is complete, I'll revisit her hair to see if it needs additional highlights|
Still missing from Katana's hair is an extremely long ponytail secured by an intricate hairpin. I plan to paint the ponytail/hairpin separately and possibly give both brighter hues for a juxtaposition between them and the rest of Katana's soft black (or is it black brown) hair.
|If possible, a Hi no maru (circle of the sun) symbol will adorn the clothing around Katana's left upper arm|
|Fair as Katana's skin tone may be, it still manages to stand out against a whitish background|
|As to what colour Katana's Japanese tabi socks will be ... I've no idea for now|
|Semi-gloss clear coat from a previous work-in-progress has put a healthy shine on her skin|
|Back view of Katana's soft black hair against a whitish backdrop|
|Next up for painting is the white clothing on Katana|
My apologies if you feel inundated with boring photos of black hair. These blog post picture uploads are as much a form of personal online record keeping as they are a way of sharing my experience in this hobby. Due to Blogger's inherent indexing system, it's easier (and much faster) for me to refer to what I had done in the past via my blog posts than to rummage through tons of saved data in a hard drive. Meanwhile, a lot of experimenting lies ahead as I try my hand at airbrushing as well as hand-brushing lacquer paints. In the meantime, I hope to continue posting project updates and get back into the groove of blogging after a long two week hiatus! With that, I wish you a great week ahead.