Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How I paint my Blood Angels

I've had a lot of requests to tell/show how I paint my Blood Angels (well my Reds in general I suppose). I've never gone through all the steps to show something in this much detail and I think I actually may have gone a bit over board.. haha. I took a ton of shots and tried to get all the angles but as I looked I started thinking holy crap that's a lot. Anyway.. this will be a guide on how I make my reds, it's not going to be a complete mini just a rough blending. I think it turns out a very nice table quality mini, if you want to go farther and use more layers it will only make it look better .. umm obviously I suppose haha..

A few things to think about before you even start. Where does light hit him or at least where does the darkest shadows fall. Turn the lights in the room down and use a directional light. Move it around and watch how the shadows fall. I started doing this a few years back and it really has helped me get a more realistic look (in my opinion).

I also don't use the extreme highlights very much unless I really want that area to be noticed. Also, think about what material you are painting and why it will be highlighted. Is it fabric that is being worn down or stretched? I'd usually mix with pink or white to show the wear. If it's a hard sheen I'll go with an orange or yellow unless it's a pure sheen and then it would just be a pure white highlight.

But now .. onto the actual how to ..

1)  Base the entire mini. If I do it with the brush I'll use Mechrite Red but I may also just spray the whole thing with my airbrush. I use Comm Art Maroon, but you can use whatever you like just start darker then you want the finished product to be. I added bone to some areas but then thought I'm just showing red so I didn't do the golds or other colors. I didn't want it to distract from the reds.

2) Next I start with the black wash. You can use any wash you like but Badab is the quickest unless you make it up before hand. I apply it heavy to all the recesses and shadowed areas. You don't have to be too picky but still try to keep it clean. I don't splash it all over, I work from the darkest area and brush out toward the highlight.


3) The next step is the highlighted and finished color. I use Blood Red or Bloody Red depending on which product you use (if you use others I don't know what it would be called haha sry). I then start working the other way going from the highlighted areas and work into the black. I thin it 50/50 paint to water so it should also be a washlike thin paint and apply numerous layers. It may seem like it will take a long time but it should go pretty quickly, but don't rush. Just keep working around the model, I'll move to another area to let one dry then go back. Again it might not be a super clean finish yet, but we still have more steps!


4) Next we move onto blending the mid layer color. I use Scab Red or Gory Red (Red Gore can also work). Now you start working in between and blend the shadows into the blood red. I use 40 to 60 paint to water, This is where it starts to come together.


5) Now go back with Blood Red and blend out to the edges.You want to be clean on these layers but again you are going light with 50/50. Apply enough layers so you don't see any streaking.


6) Now I go back with the black to finish it off. Hitting all the darkest areas and blending in the Shadow and Scab (most of the time I will then go in with black ink to create any hard line shadows i think should be there, I didn't do that here). That will give you a good looking mini with only a few colors. Like I said this is pretty basic and if I was really going to go farther I'd keep blending more until all the areas were perfect and smooth. It really just depends on how much time and how good you want it to look. I already had him based red but all the blending steps only took me about an hour (including adding the bone and some shading on it as well).

I hope that helps and makes sense. It's a pretty simple how to blend with only a couple of colors. If you don't want it to look as dark use less black wash. If you want it to be brighter or love the extreme highlights you can add that on too. But, I wouldn't go overboard with the X highlights and the extra shadow. Most of the surfaces are pretty small and a blend from super dark to super light can give a unusual look.


  1. Excellent work. And thank you for taking the time to show each step in the process.

    Ron, FTW

  2. Thanks .. hopefully it will be helpful. Didn't want to make it too long but also wanted it to make sense 8)

  3. Hi Todd! First of all, sorry for my bad English, as I'm from Spain.
    With what color will you mix the bloody red if you want to make extreme highlights? The problem is, if I use white, the color desaturates a lot... and it doesn't look any better...
    Any advice? THANKS!

  4. Howdy Angusin, It can take a bit of white to make the color change, if you want a colder(worn look) look try using white or bone or pink, as it still has red pigment in it may blend better for you. If you want a warmer look try using orange or yellow. But I'd mix it on a pallete and test the color you are making. Just keep track of what are using so you can re create it. Good Luck!

  5. That would be correct. As I want them to be darker I go with black. If you want the reds to be more vibrant go with a white. 8)