SBS: Conan - A tribute to Frazetta

by Roman aka jar

Hey Jungle,

it has been a while since I wrote my last big step by step about a project.
I think the reason is: I got so many to write as they piled up and I am not catching up, since years.
On one hand it was a good choice going a little slower with everything two years ago, on the other side I still got that teacher in me who takes progress photos of each project, but then, does not find the time to write up free articles as often as I used too.

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this article is one of the ones that I was looking forward too the most as I really like to talk about the subject:

Frazetta. Frank.
Frank Frazetta.

It is about a 75mm miniature I painted in 2017, by Black Sun Miniatures.
They produce tons of cool Barbarian models that all have this 'Conan-vibe'.
For me this particular paintjob was a study field to understand the colorful
work of Frank Frazetta better. This article is about this project:

1. Inspiration
Tackling such a personal study journey does not work without inspiration. I am the lucky owner of some inspirational Frazetta books that shows his art and I was reading them for months when I went to bed, had morning coffee or just browsing them to stare at his use of colors.

Frank Frazetta manages to create Fantasy worlds not only with his subjects, but also with his use of colors and tonalities. Intense atmosphese that travel through the full colorwheel and then "Slap!" something that should not work, nor fit in the harmony of the colors is placed and still makes sense in the overall look. I am stunned by his craft and therefor decided to study it and learn from it.

Some inspiration for you with some of my favourite works by this master:

The famous 'Death Dealer'
Frank Frazetta self-portrait (1962)

there we go ...

It is hard to explain what your going through when you go through his art for several months and I remember back with joy what it has done to me.

2 .The Painting Study
My decision was easy: I can not paint this in a normal way, like first skintones, leather ... no painting in numbers here with applying techniques on these numbers and fields of material. I had to go strong ambient and atmospheric as a first glimpse of my idea.

I started with using color primer on the model to layout my, yup, plan :D

Using the colors from the primer I applied my basic colors on the model with the influance of the tonalities the primer layed out for me. Means, areas that are hit by yellow have an influance of yellow in it while dark brown/reds will be influanced by this. Means, if I paint skincolor to a surface, for example skin, that is located in the yellowish area this part of the skin will have yellow in it. So my basic colors already grab my atmosphere sketch. I blocked out parts like metal or leather or his hair with black in this stage ...

Painting this all without a color recipe for certain areas,
mixing what I need from primary colors ...

Started to define this all a bit with increasing light and shadow

Starting to work on more highlights on the skin first to make my light situation
readable ...

 I found myself in the same old habit of painting a miniature like it is layed out with numbers for me to paint. I did not want that and while tackling the metals I understood something: I needed more color on my wetpalette and change the hue of a tone or a vibe or the color itself, every two minutes in my brush. I needed to let the color dance through the model ... The true metallic metal told me so, as it is high reflective material and should reflect a colorful fantasy like sorrounding, like a painting by Mr. Frazetta ...

Added body hair to the Barbarian, from his butt up to the neck ...
Also the front side, each hair painted as a single line ... yay!
Also added color variations to the skin on hands, feet and faces ... more reddish orangy tones to these areas ...

Always important to look at your figure without a daylight lamp once in while ...

This is how my wet palette looked ...

... and also added some blue to the base to play with a magical swamp feeling and a tentacel ... well I really wanted to use every color possible :D 


blue goo

Tentacle added, sculpted from Magic Sculpt ...

So I realized I was in need of much more colors. Also very vibrant ones, flouroscent to mix them in my highlights ...

You can see that vibrancy now in the woman's skin, her hair and fabrics ... just a little touch of
BAM and it pops ...

Included this vibrancy on the upper body part of the Barbarian,
if you look close you can see the difference to the lower body part

I ended up playing tiny color games here and there, where I felt blue I added red and warmth
close by and the other way around just to play as much as I could with different colors,
repeating the ones I have used to at least get a glimpse of that Frazetta feeling ...

More reds in the back, while using the true metallic metal parts as the main
reflectional areas ... and also using these as guidelines

The metal became the area with the most colors used :D

Intensified skin variations and contraast all over ...

this was a hell of a ride and I was lucky to look at Frazetta's work very often for some months. While painting I did not had to check for references. I tried to feel it ... but well, let me talk about this study and the outcome with using the final photos of the project as a reference:
The finished project

This shows exactly what I meant with I tried to switch colors every two minutes or even faster
to achieve a vibrancy and fantasylook I can not even put to words ...

This shows it too ... look at the metal parts, the fabrics of the cloths ...
I tried to achieve this in every single part ... repeating and including a full
color wheel all the time, everywhere. That is why the blood of the tentacle monster is
blue on the sword ...



I understood most of my initial plan via the metal parts ...
Here you can see why ...

Well, overall I call this project and the studies I did there a win: At least in the meantime. Back then when I did it, it just felt like exhaustion ...

In the meantime I can say it made me more brave in my color use. It doesn't matter if my color changes a bit in its hue here and there or in one surface or if I add something wildly to my overall concept. It gives me freedom as long as it stays harmonic in the end. So I am not taking care on following a color's recipe or such, just flow and make it glow, but tie it together somehow by repeating that flow ... does this makes sense? I hope so!

Did I understand how Frazetta works?

Yeah, maybe 1% ... than my brain exploded, but I learned something. Appreciating how unique and great his work is and I want to thank him and his work for the great inspiration ...

So much from my end!
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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