Saturday, March 27, 2010

Painting a background




I have a 30' cycloramic backdrop around the area of my workshop I use for building models. It makes photographing models a lot easier because I can just point and shoot.


The backdrop is painted with a sky-blue color in the top half graduating to white at the bottom. It was really a quick and dirty paint job done when I installed the backdrop.


In the next few months I'll be building a sugar train railroad based in the Caribbean. It'll be on some fictional island surrounded by lush jungle with evidence of past volcanic activity. The display will only be about 8' long so I built a frame in front of the backdrop to set it on. My plan is to make the train display 2-sided, with equal amounts of detail on both sides. It can be turned on the frame so both sides can be viewed and photographed.


I wanted a "south seas" backdrop behind the display. Something simple, showing high clouds and steep volcanic peaks. I started by repainting the sky blue areas at the top of the backdrop and worked down to white at the bottom.


1 - I added the distant hills using the sky blue color mixed with a lot of white and a little hookers green.

2 - For the second and subsequent layers I added more hookers green to the palette.

3 - Between each background hill layer I sprayed flat white auto primer to dull the colors and add a haze effect.

4 - For the closer hills I used black, hookers green, unbleached titanium white, and green gold - as you can see on my palette.

5 - My brush is a 1.5" China bristle, sold for $.49 at paint stores. The older the better because the bristles soften after repeated washings and are perfect for painting trees.

6 - My technique is really nothing special. I mix the colors on the palette and apply them to the backdrop in a stabbing motion. I try to get a mixture of all the colors on the brush to get an interesting light and shadow effect.

7 - For the closest trees I put medium green, burnt sienna and the titanium white on the palette and applied them with a fan brush.

8 - The last step was to mist-on more flat white spray paint to bring everything together and to dull the colors slightly for the illusion of distance.


2 comments:

  1. Great tutorial on background painting and good to read that you will be working on sugar cane layout in HOn30. I am currently planning a sugar cane layout set in Queensland, Australia. It will feature a 13 ton Shay, that's based on an N-scale Shay from Atlas. The wholestick cars will be based on the small H0e 4 wheel cars from Roco.
    Looking foreward to seeing more updates about the sugar train railroad based in the Caribbean!

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