Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tip: drawing on plasticard

I've been moving slowly on the next project, so I don't have much to show. I don't mind posting work in progress, but right now I'm still more working on inspiration, and trying some things a bit randomly, which i think is not worth a post.

In preparation of my project, to make a break on the "quest for inspiration" and drafting, I thought I might have a look at potential techniques for transferring a drawing (potentially quite complex) to a plasticard surface. I've found some tutos on the web, some of which are unpractical for minis/models and/or smooth plastic surfaces, and some of which that may be more practical but that require buying stuff I don't have at home (and taking the time to go buying it, which I don't have neither). So I thought I should just have a look at what can be done with a good old pencil... The process is described below.


I start from a plasticard sheet on which I apply a thin white basecoat (the same as for painting minis). The basecoat gives a slightly better grip to the pencil and allows to work almost like with paper. It is even possible to use a normal eraser! It can leave some blurry dark traces more easily than on paper, but provided you don't try to erase a dark heavy area and that you "clean" the eraser before using it, it works well.

So, I have reproduced the "No Credit, Puto!" drawing over a piece of basecoated plasticard sheet, as shown above. I have used to ninja tricks to do it, which I will document later in another tip/tutorial.


Once it's done, I have applied a second thin layer of white basecoat over the drawing. The goal is to make sure the graphite is fixed, otherwise it will get mixed with your paint in later stages, and produce some dirty blurs (plus it will get into your brush, and Murphy's Law teaches us it will only come out of it when you least want it...).

Here, I made 2 mistakes:

- I've put a little too much basecoat over the face, thus decreasing the contrast.
- it's difficult to recognize the shadows from the main lines (again, because the basecoat reduces the contrasts).

Both will make the job of tracing over a bit more difficult, because of a lack of visual accuracy of the reference.


And here's the outcome after some play with a brush. I've started by tracing over the main lines with black paint. You can make corrections by using successively black and white paint where needed. You can also "erase" black paint before it's dry by wetting it a little, and wiping it away. I've also tried to paint quickly the black pieces of cloth, but it's a miss at this stage. The hair also sucks, I'll need to work on that in the future.

If you compare the last picture to the first, there is obviously a lack of accuracy, especially in the eyes. This partly comes from working with a brush instead of a pencil, from a lack of practice, and from the lack of accuracy of the reference due to the initial shadowing as explained above. On the other hand, the presence of the shadows are still partly visible beneath the white basecoat and still give something interesting (the picture is a bit flatter than the reality).

I'll try to improve the technique. Maybe before the second white basecoat, I will trace over the main lines of the pencil drawing with a black ink pen, to increase the visibility and contrast by transparency. I will also avoid shadowing when it is not necessary. In this case, I did it for pleasure, and because it allowed me to better check if my pencil drawing was correct.


So it's not revolutionary, but I thought it might be helpful to others! The nice thing is that it only requires tools and products that we already have.

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