SBS: Orangutan

by Josua Lai

Heyho Jungle,
Josua here with a new article
I was really looking forward to to write on Massive Voodoo ...

Today I would like to give you a brief insight of my process painting this incredible cool Orang-utan bust sculpted by the very talented Peder Bartholdy and released by Robot Rocket Miniatures

For me the whole Process of painting a project  like that, I usually starts by finding the perfect way to present it. I tried a few different plinths you can clearly see the way they affect the overall feel of this bust.

I decided on the bottom right one as it has a good proportion to the bust itself and it just feels right.
A white base coat was applied over a black one to give me a good understanding of the light situation and will help me to paint all the reds and oranges saturated without to many layers of paint. I roughly blocked in highlight mid-tones and shadow areas.


Normally I would try to work on all the areas at once and bring them to life all together but with this project I felt that I had to start the face first to get a character and to tackle the part I was most afraid of. Orang-utan's are so human like in they're facial features and that is what make them rather tricky to paint. The skin has a pretty special and unique appearance a lot like old worn leather .There are also some pretty dark tones in areas you are not use to paint dark tones especially on the forehead.

You can see on the pictures above that the whole process was some kind of wax on wax off thing. I needed to find the character to proceed. I wrapped the rest of the bust in plastic wrap to protect it from the chipping my fingers would cause while it touch it.

For me the eyes always play a critical role in creating a
character. Animals often have pretty specific eyes, Orangutan for example often have this strange mix of yellows and browns in they're eyes. This seems to be only visible while the are exposed to direct sunlight, so I decided to go with a simple dark eye approach as I found the brown yellow mix far to irritating.

Now it was time to move further. Keep in mind: If you are painting parts separately you have to take in count that they will look different when the other parts receiving more specific colours. Clearly visible on the next two pictures

I was quite happy with the appearance of the bust so far. From here on I started to tackle the fur. Peder did an amazing job sculpting the fur part. I personally like it a lot when for or hair structures are sculpted like that. To have them sculpted in the more general shape an volume as on this bust leaves you with a lot of room to play with painting on hairs and different fur textures.

I started by adding middle tones to all the areas pieces by pieces and from there I added more an more textures with my brush. the lines I drew normally got smaller and more detailed as brighter my
highlights gets. A phrase Alfonso Giraldes said during a workshop stuck with me the whole time: "Do not forget that Texture is a form of contrast" sounds pretty simple but changed my whole perspective on texture.   

Constantly toning down by glazing and building up my layers of texture I started to get a satisfying result. In the shadow I added a strong purple to simulate shadows and the effect the lack of light would have on the fur.

 Then I added the baby inn piece by piece. First sketching all the different colours darker and lighter parts on it followed by adding shadows and highlights. All in all I kept the baby in a lighter colour on the fur part and a much lighter colour in the skin areas as Orang-utan baby's have much lighter almost transparent fur.

In this stage it was important to keep in mind that the baby should separate from the mother somehow. otherwise we just get an orange blob with two heads. I achieved that by adding more skin tone and a lighter fur that allows me the clearly have a visible border especially around the belly of the little one.  
With the finish line near I painted the hands basically in the same manor I did with the face. some finer hair details where painted and some final light and nuances introduced.

While finishing this piece something really was a topic in the media the massive wildfires in large part of the amazon rainforest. The fact that the animal I am painting lives near or in the endangered areas made me think and really sad. I had to give this feelings an outlet in this piece somehow. I decided to paint a special reflection in the eyes of the baby Orang-utan. In the baby because it is the future and by then it was not looking that bright for all the future Generations of this beautiful animals, and sadly it is not looking way better in this moment.

I personally enjoyed this Bust so much as it gave me the opportunity to research this awesome animals in debt and learn about they're kind and human like nature. I hope we as humans are able to choose the right path to protect and animals like the Orang-utan in they're natural habitat.
I hope this little article gave you an interesting insight of my painting process for this piece.



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