I thought about naming this post for a certain popular novel whose title revolves around a tremendous variety of monochrome, but didn't think it would drive the right sort of Google traffic.
As a part of playing around with Paizo Publishing's Pathfinder game, I built a Tengu character and decided to build up a miniature for him. Sadly, Tengu miniatures are in rather short supply in the industry, and about half of the ones I could locate don't really fit the look Paizo has chosen for their bird-men.
Fortunately for me, Darksword miniatures has an absolutely beautiful sculpt that is close enough, and, I am pleased to say, is turning out to be an absolute joy to paint.
Loyal readers will not be surprised to discover that I started out this project by slicing off the integral base that came with this miniature. It took some effort to cut it away, as the floor-length robes create a huge connection surface for the metal, but I'm used to this sort of thing. Once I had things cleaned up, I primed the miniature white and selected a pre-textured resin base from Forgecraft Games. I wanted an indoor feel to the figure, and I thought a fully tiled stone base would do the trick.
With all the preparation in place, I set out to pick a color scheme. While planning, I broke the figure down into these areas: The Tengu himself, his clothing, including a robe, cloak and mantle, and, finally, his sword and belt-pouch. Since the model is associated with an RPG character, I wanted to tie its look to the world and character concept. In this case, priest (Inquisitor, really) of the Pathfinder death Goddess, Pharasma. Paizo's world background suggests a palette of mixed greys and white for the clergy of Pharasma, which allows for a lot of light-dark contrast, but not a tremendous amount of color.
I started out by painting the cloak a dark grey base, just to get started, and to help me visually get a handle on the sculpt. The cloak is quite voluminous, and covers most of the surface of the figure, giving it a big impact on the final look and impact of the miniature. I thought the sharp contrast between the cloak and the white looked good, and there needed to be white some place, so I picked the robe for the main contrasting element.
I wanted to inject at least a little color into his clothing, but, rather than add in a whole new set of colors to the mix, I decided to give his robes a decidedly warm-yellow cast, to warm up the model and add some interest.
As you can see, I slowly added in base colors for the other elements as I went along. I knew that I wanted to give him black, raven-like feathers before I started.
After brief consideration, I decided to go with a conventional polished steel color for his sword, although I am still considering gold as an option for the pommel and cross-guard. (More Color!)
At the end of the evening's work, I also decided that I wanted his mantle to share the basic white or light grey scheme of the robes, but with a different cast. I am not yet fully satisfied with the neutral-grey I have now, but it is a good start. I might switch to a bluish-white, or I might search around for another option.
Still to come will be the details of his face and equipment. I also plan to add some kind of trim to the edge of that cloak.