Tutorial - Black is the new Black!

by Raffa

Posted by Raffa, Picster, Capuchin,.....

Welcome dear reader!

ohhh, at the moment we're really bombing the jungle with posts but i think what has to be told needs to be shouted out!

Recently i was thinking about posting about a certain matter. Francesco Farabi and myself talked about the color black on the italian Games Day some months ago. This is a very interesting topic for every painter and i think that still too many painters don't think about this issue.

A color has many attributes:
Color value, brightness, saturation, pigmentation, consistency, gloss,.....
A good painter knows the attributes of his colors.

Some paints are glossy and some paints are not, some are highly pigmented and some are not, some are more liquidish and some are more pasty.
Every of these aspects can be used as an advantage while painting. With a good knowlegde of these attributes you will often make a good choose when you want to paint a certain effect.

In my opinion this is especially important when painting one color, black, and that is why i write this article right now :)

I tried out many different kind of blacks from different brands, this article will sum up my experiences. The best black in my opinion is very very dark and strong in color but still very matte.
The problem with glossy black is that it will leave a glossy finish in your shadows.
Glossy Shadows is something i like to avoid in my personal painting style and maybe you will give it a try too after this article.

Let's start with a boring list and continue later to some example photos:

Games Workshop - Chaos Black
glossy ++
darkness +
blackness -
The classic for most painters is one of the worst black i can imagine.
It has a very glossy, plasticly finish and the color is not 100% black, somehow it has a violet/brownish hint in it.

Lukas Illu Color - Black
glossy +
darkness ++
blackness +
This airbrush color is highly pigmented and very fluid. You can mix it in your shadows but it is pretty glossy.

Lukas Aero Color Professional - Black
glossy +
darkness ++
blackness ++
This airbrush color is highly pigmented and very fluid. It is a very rich black. You can mix it in your shadows but it is pretty glossy.

Lukas Pastos -  Iron Oxide Black
glossy +-
darkness +
blackness ++
Very thick consistency and also a medium gloss this color is really hard to use on miniatures because of the thick, pasty attribute. I regulary use it for painting the wooden plinths because it is not to pricey and has a good coverage.

Vallejo Model Color - Black
glossy +-
darkness +
blackness +
The model color is a pretty basic black with a slight gloss. Nothing special to mention about this color.

Vallejo Game Color - Black
I hate most of the Game Color. Do not buy. If you own it throw it away and buy another better black to be happy again......

Vallejo Air Color - Black
glossy +
darkness +
blackness +-
 The Air Color black is also pretty glossy but apart from this it is not too bad because of the high pigmentation and high fluidness you can mix it pretty good into the shadows for nice glazes (as most Air Colors)

Andrea Color - Black
glossy --
darkness -
blackness +
Ok, now to one of my personal favorites. The Andrea Color Black is a pretty matte color so i really love to use it for the shadows, one of the negative things is that it is not perfect black from the brightness. It's more something like a very very dark grey. But apart from that a very nice color.

Golden Acrylics Matte Acrylics - Bone Black
glossy +-
darkness +
blackness +
The Black from Golden is also a pretty nice black, not too shiny but still very dark. It's very pasty so you have to thin it down for good use on miniatures.

So, now for the theoretic part, but we wouldn't be Massive Voodoo if we don't show you some pictures :)

Here i painted a piece of wood with my "favorite" brands of black.... and Games Workshop Black for comparison and because many people use this black.

GW - Games Workshop in the lower right
GA - Golden Acrylics in the middle
MC - Model Color in upper right
AC - Andrea Color lower left
GA + MA - Golden Acrylics + Schmincke Matte Agent.

As you can see, with neutral, diffused light, most of the blacks look pretty black and dark except for Andrea Color and the Golden Acrylics with Matte Agent.

Now if we turn the piece of wood a little bit towards the light we can see the glossyness of the color:
Now you can compare the glossyness pretty good. As you can see the GW is already very veryglossy, the model color is pretty glossy too. The Golden Acrylics in the middle is somewhere in the middle between them all. Andrea Color is pretty matte and the most matte black is Golden with Matte Agent.

Now we even turn it more towards the light:
So, as you can see, GW and MC is not black anymore, GA is still somewhere in the middle while the other blacks really excel.

Ok, what do we learn from this small lesson? Black is not black, it is really worth to try other brands and get new experiences with the different kinds of black!

I hope this small article was somewhat helpful!



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