Painting with a limited pallet 3

I find that most of the time, the thing that separates the great painters from the good ones, and even the poor ones is the continued venture of learning more. It id very easy to get into a rhythm of using the techniques you are already very familiar with.

Using only the techniques you already know will make you a better painter at your level, but it really won’t bring you up to the next level. The way you bring your painting up a notch is to find something you don’t think you can do, and figure it out.

Well, when a renown painter like Jen Haley wins the P3 Grandmaster painting competition, that’s not so much of a surprise. But what I find most interesting is what she said about experimentation in her diorama.

But the blurb she wrote about her diorama was that she was experimenting with a limited pallet. The whole diorama was painted using only five paint pots- there was just a lot of mixing of paints and blending between the colors. The result was a diorama that looked fantastic, where all of the colors were unified in subtle ways.

Unfortunately, Haley’s diorama isn’t posted on the internet anywhere. You’ll have to look in No Quarter 27 to see it. However, she did post her entry that took best in show.

So, I decided to try out painting with a limited pallet on my Calandra Truthsayer. I only used 5 paint pots on this mini, and that includes the base.



The five colors you see here are the only ones that made it onto to the mini. Anything that doesn’t look like one of these colors is actually a mix of two or more of them. For example, the grey armor was actually brown and blue mixed together, highlighted with the fleshy pink (a client of mine gave me the idea of highlighting non metallic metals with pink).

The colors are Morrow White, Sanguine Base, Rynn Flesh Bootstrap Leather and Exile Blue. The skin was a mix of Rynn, Bootstrap and Sanguine, to give her a slightly fleshy pink tone. When I wanted to ink the leathers, I created a purple wash out of Exile Blue and Sanguine Base. Like I said before, the greys are created by mixing Bootstrap Leather and Exile Blue- the metals have a little more blue in them, and the browns (like on the base) have a little more brown.

I had a wonderful time with this exercise, and I am definitely going to try it out again. Also, Calandra was a joy to paint, and I am definitely going to be painting her again in the future.

3 thoughts on “Painting with a limited pallet

  1. thundernuts Nov 19,2009 7:39 pm

    Pretty nice stuff! I love using limited palettes as well. Fice is a tough number to go with, but you sir, pulled it off nicely.

  2. Drew Olds Nov 20,2009 4:51 pm

    Thank you.

    I'm definitely going to try out this technique again. I wonder how few I could use. A grey scale mini could be done with only two colors (and it might be very interesting not to use black and white).

    I also think that it might be interesting to use several dark colors that are all highlighted with the same light color. I might be able to pull off something that is unified and a little pale.

    Things to think about.

  3. Pingback: Hand Cannon Online » Blog Archive » A Beginner’s Guide to … Beginning – Colour Theory Part II – Contrast and Schemes

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