Making a Custom Base, Part Two - Painting
by Grace Bogumil-Bisnath
You will need the following:
• Sandpaper in varying grits
• Primer of choice
• Paint brushes of varying sizes and types - some for acrylics, some for pastels
• Water to clean your acrylic brushes
• Acrylics in various shades of browns, beige, greens, yellows, and some similarly colored Pan Pastels or Earth Pigments
• Sealer of choice, matte preferred
Let's get started!
Now that your base is fully cured, begin prepping it by sanding down any rough/unwanted areas. Start with coarser sandpaper, then go over those areas again with the finer grits until you achieve your desired smoothness. At this point, you will want to wash the base to remove any dust/ debris from sanding and let it dry.
Once the base is bone dry, it's time to prime! Use your primer of choice and lightly coat it from all directions. Let it dry thoroughly and then repeat as necessary until you have even coverage throughout.
Now it's time to mix your paint! If you are planning to finish your base with sand, faux grasses etc, you don't need to be too fussy about the painting. Mostly it's just to have some color on the base in case any of the details you add later happen to wear away over time - a back-up basically - or if say sand coverage etc is light. However, for the sake of those who are planning to just paint and leave it like that, and for those who like to go the extra mile, I will be a bit more detailed here. To start, mix your paints for a basecoat. I mixed khaki, chestnut, and nutmeg brown acrylics with some natural sienna Earth pigment, and some water to thin it down. It will be a little grainy, but for the purpose of making a base, I think that contributes to the piece by adding some texture. It takes roughly five to seven light, hand-painted layers to achieve full coverage.
To this existing paint mix I added chocolate bar acrylic, and two medium-dark brown shades of Earth pigments. They are samples I was given some time ago, so I unfortunately do not have the color names. I used this darker mix to paint in the creases and accentuate the mudslide areas. It looks a little too "stark" and "contrast-y", though, doesn't it? Never fear!
Using the same mix, I very lightly dry-brushed over the entire base to give it a more "textured" look and blend everything together more subtly. Here it is from the side...
... and from the top. I also took a very fine brush and painted the "hoofprint wells" so they can be seen more clearly. At this point, you can seal the base in a clear, matte sealer of your choice. After it has dried, you can take the same shades of Earth pigments or pan pastels to add depth of color where desired. Once you are happy with it, seal it again.
If desired, you can add "greens" with a very light stippling dry brushing technique. I would advise making several mixes of greens and yellows for more visual interest. Seal your base again.
Lastly, you can take a dark brown acrylic to accentuate a few more areas. Seal and then you are done with painting!
Thank you for following along, and see you next time for the final portion - detailing!