Learn how Michael C Hayes uses oils to paint a de­ter­mined-look­ing knight in bat­tle

ImagineFX - - Illustrator - Michael is a clas­si­cally trained oil painter work­ing both in the free­lance fan­tasy il­lus­tra­tion field on games such as Magic: The Gath­er­ing and as an in­de­pen­dent artist cre­at­ing and sell­ing books, orig­i­nals and prints of his per­sonal vi­sions. He lives in

There’s some­thing about paint­ing ar­mour in tra­di­tional me­dia that’s al­ways ap­pealed to me. It’s the para­dox of hav­ing both very lit­tle room for er­ror lest the il­lu­sion be bro­ken, and hav­ing so much room to play with value and colour within those con­straints. It’s no sur­prise that this tech­ni­cally chal­leng­ing sub­ject has dom­i­nated the many cov­ers, gam­ing cards and per­sonal oil paint­ings that I’ve cre­ated over the years.

There are many schools of thought on how one should ap­ply paint to a sur­face, rang­ing from the ex­trav­a­gant, seven-layer paint­ings of the Flem­ish mas­ters to strict, sin­gle-layer, wet-into-wet purists. While not as rigid as the afore­men­tioned Flem­ish, I’m prob­a­bly one of the more me­thod­i­cal painters work­ing in il­lus­tra­tion to­day. I work in mul­ti­ple lay­ers and fol­low a step-by-step process that helps en­sure con­sis­tent re­sults (a must for work­ing in the free­lance mar­ket). Although some of the steps might seem like a waste of time, I feel that they re­duce er­rors and help illuminate the path ahead. Thus, they ac­tu­ally save time.

In this work­shop, I’ll be as­sum­ing you have a de­cent grasp of the ba­sic prin­ci­ples of drafts­man­ship, be­cause the con­cepts I cover are a bit more in­ter­me­di­ate to ad­vanced. Although I’ll be get­ting into the key as­pects of work­ing with oil paints, much of what I’ve to say about colour, value and edge will trans­late into the dig­i­tal medium.

Cre­at­ing this image wasn’t a straight­for­ward task. Rather, it was a process of dis­cov­ery with many turns. This is to say, mis­takes were made and cor­rec­tions and changes needed to hap­pen. So, in ad­di­tion to my thoughts and ad­vice on the sub­ject mat­ter at hand, I’ll also be shar­ing some of my strate­gies for cor­rect­ing mis­takes with­out the aid of the Undo com­mand.

I’ll be skip­ping many of the pre­lim­i­nary stages of image cre­ation process that read­ers will be well aware of, such as thumb­nails and colour stud­ies. In­stead, I’ll dive into plac­ing lay­ers of paint on top of each other and brush strokes next to each other as part of that seem­ingly mag­i­cal process of trans­form­ing mil­lions of mi­cro­scopic pig­ments sus­pended in oil into an il­lu­sion of re­al­ity.

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