How do I add an aged look to an axe or sim­i­lar weapon?

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An­swer Tony replies

Be­fore you can paint an old, worn bat­tleaxe, you’re go­ing to have to de­sign a new one. As al­ways, spend some time look­ing at de­signs from the time pe­riod you’re work­ing from – un­less it’s fan­tasy, of course, in which case just look at ev­ery­thing. Your work­flow should start with the axe de­sign, then fig­ur­ing out a com­po­si­tion. Once you’ve got the com­po­si­tion, de­cide on your light­ing and then fi­nally paint and wear down the weapon. Use a per­spec­tive grid to make sure ev­ery part of the axe that should be sym­met­ri­cal is ac­tu­ally sym­met­ri­cal.

When you do start sketch­ing the blade and em­bel­lish­ments, just fo­cus on one half and copy it over. This is es­pe­cially use­ful with lit­tle de­sign mo­tifs on the blade, which can be hard to match up. You can then copy this layer and drag it down a few pix­els to cre­ate the bot­tom plane of the axe, con­trol­ling thick­ness with dis­tance.

Once your sketch is done, you can get down to paint­ing. Sil­ver metal (and any colour that’s close to neu­tral) will tend to take on the hue of the sur­round­ings. En­sure what­ever colours dom­i­nate the back­ground are also in the axe. Chips in the blade and scratches along the sur­face im­ply pre­vi­ous bat­tles. Spots of rust can show age and give you places to change up the tex­tures a bit. Keep adding on the wear and tear un­til you feel there’s too much, then start trim­ming it back.

You can also use the back­ground to ex­plain more about why the weapon is in such a state of dis­re­pair.

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