Step-by-step: De­pict the in­tri­ca­cies of ar­mour

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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.

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