Step-by-step: Depict the intricacies of armour
1 When painting from life or with perfect photo reference, it makes sense to figure out the details as you go. When designing armour, though, I suggest a thorough sketch first. If the line work is tight enough, you can even use some of it in the finished painting. Just be sure to work the drawing into the illustration so it doesn’t stand out. 2 One aspect of rendering armour that differs from most is the sharp transitions between high and low values. Instead of having light and shadow areas, reflections on polished metal create high contrast all over the place. Seeing bright highlights peppered among dark shadows is a cue to the human eye that it’s looking at something reflective. 3 Combining the properties of a mirror reflection and the way light hits cotton is how you find the middle ground for semi- polished armour. The duller the surface, the more diffused highlights will be across it. You wouldn’t be able to make out reflections of the environment in only slightly shiny armour, but the highlight will still be on the top.