SBS: Wild Hunt

by Roman aka jar

 Hey Jungle,

time for another step by step :)
This time another Lucas Pina sculpt - the Elf Rider.
The bust itself is again a beautiful sculpt by Lucas. Not really a bust anymore as it is two characters, a rider on a horse. Partly. It is quite the dynamic piece and it drew my attention, because of the movement in the sculpt.

This is not a color guide. 
My tutorials are just no recipe plans. They are an emotional brainstorm on explaining why I did something, decided for a certain direction and how I did find my vision for a paintjob on a figure.

The color ambience of this one was influanced by a setting I imagine Dark Elves in. A cold light with a touch of purple sorrounding. Like this maybe:

I started really crazy on this one, mainly by throwing in colors that I want to see there and contrast I want to see on important areas. A free ride, very fitting to a rider, eh?

You want to support Massive Voodoo? 
If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.

For this initial stage I used different techniques and tools:
My airbrush, application of white thinned white paint in layers to be in control of increasing contrast where I want it increased. In the back of my mind when starting like this I always give up control. I accept that I rather see the vision instead of holding on of controlling the technical aspects. They can be controlled later, when I dive more in. Clean up and tint areas to another color. This is just wild.

I like the patterns that occour. 
The energy that I can put in while letting color and brushstrokes flow freely.

Dots, patterns, lines that dance ... 
it helps me to get to know the dynamic of the figure if I can touch base with the flow of the sculpture, but with a brush and paint. At the same time I am finding out where I want to focus on by increasing the brightness and sketch in certain colors that I want in my paintjob.

Often this is not easy to do in the beginning for many.
Just because you are giving up control and it looks dirty and chaos, but I enjoy forming order from chaos, not going from order to implement a little chaos here and there. Every painter has its ways and style. This is mine. I am always aware that I can go to more order when I need it. If I start it too early I do lose something in my style. I do lose my dynamic painting spirit and I do not want to lose this in the beginning. I am ok with seeing it get less and less when technical aspects take over to the end, but with this approach I am still able to keep it alive, somehow. Hard to explain. Great tutorial! :D

Some of you might think:
Why should I start like this? I do not get it.
Well, I can not even explain this to you.

The start like shown above is just meant as a start.
The work begins now to pull the idea together by cleaning up and keeping textures alive that I want to work with. I am using a more controlled approach now, paint over my inititial chaos and work out

  • cleanness
  • volumes under light situation
  • color areas and definition

I do look at the sculpt from different angles while painting, as the initial chaos stage already gave me a good feeling and introduced me to the sculpture's volumes, but still I checking back from different views if I miss something. Important!

The energy of my initial sketch helps me to understand the brushstrokes I want to use. For example the arm that leads to the face. There is movement in the color application and the paint is not a superthin glaze. I am massaging it in to see it opaque in this stage already. Glazes come later in my workflow. When I need them.

Taking many photos of the figure also helps me to identify my personal favourite angles.
This for example is one:

I am working my way through the sketch to include every single aspect in this work stage. Bringing it all up to the same level and then I can continue from there. Included the metal on the axe here:

After the stage of making my idea clearer for me mind I am going in to push contrast and to make materials more defined and sharper. I decided to see a cold light hit the full model from the top so I worked on highlights with a cold white (blue/white) in the colors that are on the figure to highlight them.

In this stage my focus is on bringing out material texture and volumes as clear as I can.

You can see the colors I use on my thumb :)

I am pushing this very far, almost to the pure light color now. Mens maximum contrast.
So far mainly on the Dark Elve. I want him to be a very cold character.

I am not scared of pushing this so far as I know I can always tint it back a little and bring back color, but with this approach I am forcing myself to a strong contrast.

Somehow the horse does not connect yet in highlights ...

It does from below as I placed a red glow from below in both figures ...

Here you can see a detail photo of the flow that I keep alive to paint the dynamics into the figure:

Brushstrokes. Yes!

Texture, where texture is needed.

After the texture and contrast was applied too strong I started tinting back the colors I wanted in the areas. This is now easy. I use thin glazes of paint for it and it is a lot of joy seeing the areas come back to colorful life without loosing the details of the texture. It also blends together and makes the result look smoother.

As my red glow from below was still there but not really touched yet, I decided to bring back saturation in this area. In my imagination the Dark Elf was riding through a battlefield on a cold and cloudy day and the battlefield is ... well, brutal. I decided to use the symbolic meaning of the color red, that not only stands for love or energy. It can also mean aggression, which actually fits again for the battlefield theme.

With these thoughts in mind I was still unsure about the Rider's eyes. He looks way to cool to ride through carnage. Well he is cold-blooded. The eyes I painted to so far were just placeholders and I was not happy with them.

I tried complete black eyes to make him look soulless ...

In the end
I missed his pupils to make him a character and painted eyes back again, but still decided for a more fierce look. Even painted him yellowish/orange eyeballs to make him look more evil and to compliment with all the purple going on the overall ambience.

Final painting steps included:
  • rework on textures again
  • smoothen the skin with glazes
  • increasing the red glow from below with a touch of orange
  • final detail highlights on shiny materials (leather, metals, hair)
  • blood and carnage splatters from below
  • the horses eyes


I would say I spent about 80 hours on this bust, working time.
From preparation until the last brushstroke. I did not push through it at once.
I had him standing still after several stages of the painting to see where it will lead me. In the meantime I really do only paint on projects when the muse tells me what to do. As I do not paint with a straight recipe I can not just paint what I have to paint by following a working order. I somehow would call my approach a more "canvas-like-painting-approach". I do not paint in numbers, but with an overall vision ahead of me that I sometimes lose focus on. 

I really enjoyed painting a dark version of this beautiful sculpt.
I do love the more native american version Marc Masclans pulled of:

You can also find my version on Putty&Paint, if you want to drop a vote:

This bust is in private collection in Germany now.
Thank you for your support in my work, art and passion!

I hope you enjoyed the insight into my workflow and the thoughts behind my choices!

Keep on happy painting!

You want to support Massive Voodoo? 
If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.


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