Thursday, 12 April 2012

And now for something completely different - Verdigris

Due to a completely different but equally nerdy hobby, I had no time to paint over the Easter weekend.  So instead of yet another work-in-progress post, I thought I'd talk about something completely different.

Terrifying horses! No, wait... (photo by Alice Palace)

Verdigris!  Like rust, it's caused by the oxidisation of metal - iron for rust, and copper, brass or bronze for verdigris.  While they're very different in terms of color, the same techniques can be used to paint them.

I'll be talking about the colors I used and the things I considered when experimenting with the effect, but for a truly excellent tutorial I suggest checking out this article on

The best way to start is to find some reference material, and to think about just how old/weathered the surface you're painting is.  The older the metal, the more oxidised and corroded it will be, and metals near or in the ocean will decay far more quickly than they would inland.
Light verdigris.  Photo by Br3nda.
Medium verdigris.  Photo by Monceau.
Heavy verdigris. Photo by Monceau.
Light verdigris can be achieved with a simple wash of a pale aquamarine color like thinned down Sotek Green (or the old Hawk Turquoise) mixed with white.  The heavier finishes require more surface drybrushing, streaking and detailing along with the wash.  Also note how the copper blackens and streaks even where it isn't green.

After choosing the Sisters of Sigmar Matriarch as my test model, I decided I wanted an effect similar to the "medium" picture, as it was the most visually interesting of the three. I started with a black spray undercoat, a heavy drybrush of Tin Bitz (now Warplock Bronze), a lighter drybrush of Dwarf Bronze (now Hashut Copper), and an extremely light brush of Shining Gold (now Gehenna Gold).  A wash of Badab Black (Nuln Oil) then dulled things down a bit.  I wanted some of the metallics to show through, but not to be too bright.

Please Hammer, don't hurt them.
For the verdigris itself I applied several washes of extremely thinned down Hawk Turquoise, mixed with varying levels of Skull White (White Scar) and Ice Blue (Lothern Blue).  This gave the statue an all-over oxidised look, which I then enhanced with thicker streaks and spot-application of lighter shades to some raised areas.  Verdigris is a surface effect as well as gathering in areas where water pools. 

Suspiciously free of pigeon poop.
Another black wash added more grime, and a little application of the metallics bought out some areas that might have been touched for good luck, or just generally not worn as much. I probably should have pushed the lightness up on the verdigris, it's a little darker and more saturated than it should be.  However, it's an easy technique to apply, and if I was ever crazy enough to start a Necron army, they'd all be green oxidised statues of doom.

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