I got a request recently on Discord to give some advice on glowing red runes with black rock around them.
Rather than just spout out an opinion, I decided to give it a go and see what I could come up with, and after taking enough pictures I figured I'd just make a hobby guide out of it.
Keep in mind that there are lots of ways to do this, and this is just one.
Paints used in this tutorial:
P3 Khador Red Base
Vallajo Game Color Hot Orange
P3 Morrow White
P3 Red Ink
P3 Exile Blue
P3 Meridius Blue
Daler Rowny Peyne's Grey Ink (But any dark blue ink will work)
Step 1: Basecoat with Khador Red Base
Pretty simple - make sure you have nice smooth coverage over your primer. Don't worry too much about getting the pieces around the runes, you'll be painting those later.
Step 2: Hot Orange
This step doesn't look like it does much, but that's largely due to the picture. Take a very thin layer of the Hot Orange and apply it to all but the edges of the runes in your model. The Red will show through and temper the Orange a bit.
Step 3: Heartfire
This is going to cover only about 2/3 of the interior of the runes, and you will want to apply it in 2-3 thin layers to make the transitions a bit neater. I put this together in haste, so mine isn't quite as nice as I would like. This gets smoothed out in a minute.
Step 4: Heartfire/Morrow White
You're going to want a 50/50 mix of these colors and then only apply it to about 1/3 of the Heartfire layer. Again, do this in a couple of thin layers.
Step 5: Red Ink
This goes in the recesses of the rune, the very edge where they meet the stone. This should be watered down, and it will smooth out the transitions for you a bit. It will also re-establish the red aspect of the glow.
Step 6: Darklining with Peyne's Grey Ink
This is the most important step of them all in my opinion. One of the things that painters tend to wonder is "why doesn't my model look finished even though I've painted everything". The answer to that is likely because you didn't darkline. This is a tricky step that takes time to master, but it's well worth the effort!
Here you can see how nicely it defines the edges of the runes. I didn't water down the ink at all for this step.
Step 7: Basecoat Rock with Exile Blue
One of the interesting things about Black is that it doesn't really exist a whole lot in nature. Most things that are black also have another color to go along with them.
NIcely enough, another way to add contrast to a model besides the light and dark values is to make cool and warm colors contrast, so here, in order to make the stone and runes pop from each-other, I am basecoating with Exile Blue.
Use the side of your brush for this - if you use the point you're more likely to slip into the runes.
Step 7: First Highlight with Meridius Blue
For highlights, you need a light source. I almost always choose left for some reason, and I blended some Meridius Blue into the parts of the model that I thought would be reflecting light. Remember, Obsidian is a very reflective stone. This means that it will reflect light quite strongly and in small sections.
You'll notice I put some of the highlight on the left side of the big stone faces, and also on the upper edges of the stone surrounding the runes. Because you darklined, this makes a nice contrast and doesn't just fade into the lighter color of the runes.
Step 8: Second Highlight with Meridius Blue/Morrow White
Again, the second highlight only takes up about 1/3 of the first highlight's real estate. I concentrated it again on the upper edges of the interior rock, and on the left side of the bigger sections.
(I apologize for the focus on the picture being slightly off, I did this entire piece in under ten minutes as I was rushing out the door)
Step 9: Shade with Peyne's Grey Ink
Blend some of this very dark ink into the undersides of the interior rock, the undersides of the big faces, and on the right side of the big flat areas to complete the effect.
And there you have it! It's a few steps, but it looks fantastic on the table and when you've done it a couple of times it goes by really quickly. I had committed to painting a different scheme for my Wolds but...maybe I want to try this out instead now! Who knows!
Thanks for reading!