Painting: the White Hand of Saruman
Welcome to another blog post on this Uruk-hai campaign that I have been hosting.
This post will be focused on free-hand painting the White Hand of Saruman: firstly a symbol of Saruman the White, wizard and guardian of Middle-earth, and which after his corruption became the symbol of the uruks and warriors of Isengard.
Either if the painting of the hand will be made on a large banner or on small points of the miniature (helmets, shields, quivers or faces), this guide might be of use. This process will follow two phases:
- preparation and the basics of the White Hand
- free-handing the White Hand
Up until this moment:
Preparation and the basics of the White Hand
First of all, one can't do free-hand painting on a miniature without sketching it first. Luckily, the White Hand of Saruman is a fairly simple symbol that anyone can manage easily.
The steps I went through to prepare my hand and my mind to the task was:
- Sketch the lines of the hand with pencil and paper
- Sketch the hand with a brush on a paper
After all those steps, these are roughly the resolutions I arrived to:
- Start with a kind of "7" and work the palm of the hand from there.
- Sketch thin lines on the miniature before going straight to the free-hand design and larger strokes.
- Decide the length and position of the fingers, paying special attention to the thumb (this will make it look more realistic).
- The White Hand will benefit from some irregular lines. We don't want a perfectly straight print.
Free-handing the White Hand
As you can see I sketched the edges of the hand with two thin lines beforehand. The fact that this is a banner helped a lot, since the "canvas" gave me a large space to work on.
Now, when dealing with small White Hands on our miniatures, there are some mistakes to avoid, and which can be seen on these Uruk-hai crossbowers' quivers. Of course, any mistakes can be amended easily, you just need to correct the lines with the base colour or paint over and start again.
The first mistake can be spotted on the right-most miniature. The hand looks silly and undefined, and I left it like that for this particular tutorial.
What was my mistake with that uruk? Well, I thinned the white paint too much, which resulted on a lack of control of the lines drawn by the brush. What we want for absolute control of the brush-stroke is to be austere on the thinning of the paint or, in other words, don't thin the paint too much.
About the rest of the hands portrayed on the photo above, they surely may be refined: the left one needs a correcting of the index finger (it's too long and wide) and maybe the thumb; the centre-left miniature looks too straight and schematic (the edges of the palm could be rounded up); the centre-right miniature would surely benefit from having that gap between the fingers and palm diminished. Also, the pinkie is way too long.
All these aspects get better with practice for sure, and it is important for us, as hobbyist painters, to take a good look at our miniatures and objectively spot the mistakes we did. Then we just need to decide if we are going to correct them or move on and do it better on our next minis.