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Want to learn how to paint caucasian skin and expressive Warhammer faces with a lot of contrast that brings out every face muscle? Look no further. In this detailed and easy to follow tutorial you’ll learn how to step up your face game.
This tutorial assumes you have a good understanding of how to paint. Underneath each picture are the corresponding instructions. Each step shows the paint(s) I used during that step.
Paints you will need for this tutorial:
Tallarn Flesh [out of production, use Cadian Fleshtone or Reaper Master Series Fair Shadow]
Flayed One Flesh
The Army Painter Warpaints Matt Black [or Abaddon Black]
The Army Painter Warpaints Scar Tissue [or Tuskgor Fur mixed with Fulgrim Pink]
Vallejo Model Color White [or White Scar]
If you need to expand your paint collection to follow the tutorial, check out our partner stores Wayland Games and Element Games, which offer an amazing range of paint brands at decent discounts.
How to paint caucasian skin and faces – the Stahly way
Here is my way of painting caucasian skin and faces on Warhammer miniatures, perfectly suited for (Primaris) Space Marines, Astra Militarum, Stormcast Eternals, or any other human figure. When I paint faces, I want a lot of (brush) control, so I use a traditional approach of basecoating, washing, and layering. As usual, I like to use the smallest brush I can find, which is a Winsor & Newton Series 7M 000, but as long as the tip is sharp, with a little bit of practice any high-quality Kolinsky sable brush such as Redgrass Games’ RGG premium brushes will do.
1. Basecoat the flesh with a couple of thin layers of the old Citadel Foundation paint Tallarn Flesh. If you can’t get your hands on it, you can use Cadian Fleshtone, which is very similar. However, Cadian Fleshtone has a poor opacity and needs a lot of thin layers. I recommend getting Reaper Master Series Fair Shadow instead, which is also very similar to old Tallarn Flesh, but has a much better opacity than Cadian Fleshtone.
2. Wash the flesh with pure Reikland Fleshshade.
3. Paint the eye sockets with The Army Painter Matt Black [or Abaddon Black or your favourite black paint], then add two dots of Vallejo Model Color White [or White Scar or your favourite white paint] to the corners of the eyes. Use Bugman’s Glow to paint around the eyes in case you spilled over black. I wrote a detailed tutorial for my way of painting eyes, which I think is much easier than most other painting guides.
4. Bring out your base colour Tallarn Flesh [or Cadian Fleshtone or RMS Fair Shadow] and layer over the skin, leaving the recesses dark. The face above is an angry superhuman Space Marine, so we want a lot of contrast to bring out his expression. For female or younger faces, you want to be more subtle and layer the base colour all over the face, just leaving a few key places in the darker colour created by the wash, for example inside the ears, below the eye brows, and where the skin meets other parts of the model.
5. Next, highlight the face with Kislev Flesh. Kislev Flesh is a paint with a lower opacity, so build up the highlight in a couple of thin layers for a smooth transition.
6. Finally, highlight the face with Flayed One Flesh. Keep this only to the most pronounced features of the face, such as the brows, nose, ears, upper lip and chin. Take a look at the picture and let it guide you where to place the highlights. If you want to add additional shading later, use thinned coats of Bugman’s Glow and paint them directly into the recesses.
7. Paint the mouth with Doombull Brown. Carefully place a couple dots of Vallejo Model Color White [or White Scar or your favourite white paint] on the teeth. If you make a mistake, use Doombull Brown to correct it. Pick out the tongue with Tuskgor Fur and highlight with The Army Painter Scar Tissue [or mix Tuskgor Fur with a little bit of Fulgrim Pink].
And this is how to paint Caucasian skin and faces on your Warhammer miniatures. The rest of the model was painted as explained in this Black Templars tutorial. The hair was painted the same way as the worn leather demonstrated in steps 32 to 35.
To speed things up for army painting, you could start with Wraithbone primer and replace steps 1 and 2 with a single coat of Darkoath Flesh or Guilliman Flesh Contrast paint.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If so, leave a comment or reaction below, and if you got any questions, leave them here so I can answer them for you.
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