Monday, 24 January 2011

Painting Tip: Black Fabric...

Thought I might throw out a nugget of my painting wisdom (such as it is) today. I'd like to offer up my favourite way of painting black fabric.

Black is a difficult colour to paint well as you'll have all kinds of fun choosing a highlight colour to mix into the black. White or grey is the obvious choice but it gives a very flat look to the black and I rarely use it. Too dull for solid items such as armour and underwhelming on cloth. I'm going to pick out cloth today. For me cloth needs a certain soft flatness to it but with a little something to lift it from the obvious grey route...

I start with a good few thinned coats of Chaos Black, usually over black primer. The coats of black paint give a nicer surface to work over than just using the primer as the basecoat (though that's a handy timesaver if painting armies). Then I layer on the highlights with thinned paint. My paint of choice for this purpose? Dwarf Flesh! Yes, it may sound a little odd but flesh tones are great for highlighting black. On the first few layers they're not noticeably different to using grey though it's perhaps a little softer. As you add more and more a warmth enters the mix and gives the fabric a faintly worn quality without making it look tatty. Give it a try, even if it's just on your paint palette.

You can see the effect on my Empire Greatsword above.

Oh, and bonus feature. For a deep and fantastical, cold black try highlighting by adding Hawk Turquoise.


  1. Well that was unexpected. It looks really good, will definitely try it.

  2. Great tip. Black can be really tricky to get right. Bleached bone or a khaki colour added to black looks quite nice too for soft fabrics. I would enjoy seeing more painting tips on the blog.

  3. Thanks for the tip! I'll have to try that. The turquoise seems a bit dark to "work up" black with, I assume you make real highlights by lightening that with white. I'll try it out anyway.