Wargaming Tradecraft: Colour Theory: Contrasting Achromatic


Colour Theory: Contrasting Achromatic

Sin City
Neutral (Grey) and Near-Neutral Achromatics as well as Monochromatic paint schemes create lovely soft looks, but sometimes you want something to stand out. As I said at the start of this series, choose a paint theme to help you paint, not restrict you. It's OK to cheat if you want to play with contrasts or make something really stand out.

If you're doing this for artistic reason, the effect can be fantastic - a greyscale scene with a coloured dress, red gore, striking eyes. Firey explosions and muzzle flash in The Matrix seem extra bright and striking because so much of the movie is Monochromatic, Near-Neutral or Dull Colours.
Created with painter from
Bolder & Chainsword
  • Don't go overboard.
    • Contrasts can be lost quickly if you paint too much of something.
      Ex: A black and white scene with red blood dripping from claws can look intense. But if you paint red gore all over, it'll just look messy.
  • Contrast details, not generic elements.
    • Pick details that are worth accenting. Skin, jackets, armour and such probably aren't worth standing out. Eyes, gems, a beautiful dress, hair, special effects, blood, tattoos, mirrored surfaces and so on.
  • The reverse is also true.
    • You could take a normally painted scene, then paint an area Neutrally to dull it or mute normally shocking visuals like blood. This would make the rest of the scene stand out.

Alright, I Cheated

Instead of painting a new miniature for this one, I decided to take the one I painted for the Achromatic example and throw some contrast on it.

I mixed some bright (Blood) red in with some pouring medium to give it a little body and gloss. This gives me some nice bright and thick fake blood. Too bright to be realistic, but great if you're trying to be bold.

When I paint it on him, I used a cheap brush like I always do when working with mediums. The obvious place for the gore is his axe and where it would drip down. I also painted some splash across his chest as a spray of blood. For effect, you don't really want to create a "real" spray of blood. (Fine mist, Dexter-like, etc.) Just some solid contrasting areas.

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