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Wamp - Orki's marble tutorial
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  • Orki's marble tutorial

    Painting Marble - By Orki


    This is a short tutorial on how to paint a marble effect. The idea came from another one of my experiments, whereby I used 'unwanted' tidemarks to simulate ultra-fine blood vessels under the skin.

    I will be basing this tutorial on the warm stone look that I used on my Cersei Lannister piece here, though of course you can substitute the paints used for whatever you have at hand. There are an amazing variety of colours and textures that occur in real stone, of which you can find many references and examples online. You should experiment with trying out whatever colours you fancy, and modify the technique to see what different looks can be achieved as you never know what you will come up with!

    In this tutorial example I will take the stages quite far so you can see the various stone effects that occur along the way. You can of course stop at any point throughout the process if you like the look of what you have achieved, and I personally really like the softer looks from the early stages.


    For this example I used the following paints - Citadel - Daemonette Hide, Elf Flesh, Dheneb Stone. VMC - Smoke, Off White.

    I chose Elf Flesh and Daemonette Hide to tie in the marble with Cersei, as I used those two colours on her skin and dress. The other paints were chosen to provide the main neutral tones after looking at some marble reference photos online.


    I will be demonstrating on a piece of plasticard that I quickly scored some tiles/brickwork into, and recommend practising on something similar while experimenting with different colours. The example is little rough to say the least, but it serves it's purpose well for this article.


    Stage 1 - Laying down the base tones

    For the base tones I used Citadel's Dheneb Stone and Elf Flesh, and VMC Off White.

    The three colours are thinned slightly to allow the colour to wick into each other. Apply all three paints to the base quickly and randomly with a large ruined brush, and loosely wet blend using a jabbing motion. The aim is to get a soft mottled look, with some nice random textures, streaks, swirls, and stippled effects.

    If the paint is too wet, or you overwork it, you will end up with a vague mush, and conversely if the paint is too thick it will look scratchy and jumpy.There is a nice middle ground though where the colours mix softly, and remember that the paints will continue to bleed into each other somewhat while they dry. As always, experimentation is the key here to achieving your desired mottled effect.


    Orki's Marble Tutorial - Stage 01.jpg




    Stage 2 - Forming the veins


    For the veins I used VMC Smoke, and Citadel Daemonette Hide.

    For this stage the paints need to be thinned a lot, and applied very heavily. We are aiming for a wash/glaze-like consistency here, but as the technique relies on breaking the binder's ability to distribute the pigment evenly we also apply it very liberally. We will be using what would normally be the undesired tide-marks created by this stage as the beginnings of our veins.

    Apply with a normal brush in a wavy, wiggly, splotchy way. The veins will form at the edge of these puddles, where the pigment gets distributed to as it gradually dries. If we roughly follow a particular direction, our marble will look like it was cut from the same block, and in this example I chose a diagonal trend for the lines. Occasionally puddles were dragged out in slightly different directions to start forming 'forks' in the veins.

    We can influence where the tide lines occur too, whereby unwanted lines can be scrubbed out with a damp brush as they form, and also influence the gradient of this layer by dabbing pure water into the middle of your puddles. This will result in more pigment getting pushed to the edge of the puddle, thus forming a less opaque centre, and a stronger vein. We can also lift out excess from the middle of the puddle, once the veins have started to form, with a dry brush for a slightly different distribution of pigment. This serves to speed up the process somewhat too.

    I repeated this process a couple of times with both vein colours until I had built up the effect to the desired level. Sometimes I followed the original puddle's outline to strengthen the vein, and others were overlapped to provide some variation and depth. Alternating between the brown and purple will provide the most interwoven and translucent effect, although it is not necessary to do so.

    The image below shows these stages both while still wet, and then the subsequent effect once dry on the right.

    Orki's Marble Tutorial - Stage 02.jpg



    Stage 3 - Defining the veins

    Using the Smoke and Daemonette hide again, I then loosely traced along the veins where I wanted to strengthen them for the main effect. Paint should vary from slightly thinned, to fairly opaque with the final passes, and always deviating from the vein slightly randomly. Do not try to trace the outline too neatly as we require a certain amount of deviation in the layers to complete the vein effect.

    In this tutorial example I made a few passes with slightly thinned paint along the edges of our puddles, and also created some more new veins over plainer areas where I thought it would look good, before moving onto the more opaque and defined lines.

    Orki's Marble Tutorial - Stage 03.jpg



    Stage 4 - Translucency and depth


    To finish the effect we can build a certain amount of translucency over the veins to help sink back some of the lines. This is to taste of course, and in the example here I applied a few intermittent layers of Dheneb Stone, Off White and Elf flesh to help strengthen the impression that the veins are not just sitting on the surface of the marble, but are woven through it. The further you take this stage, the more subtle the veins will look.

    I then shaded in the gaps between slabs, and highlighted the edges as you normally would with tiles/bricks etc. to finish off the example.

    Orki's Marble Tutorial - Stage 04.jpg



    I hope you had fun following this tutorial, and remember, these are guidelines only. You should always experiment with any method or technique, as you never know what you might discover while exploring!

    - Andy
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. Ulfgrimr's Avatar
      Ulfgrimr -
      Many thanks Orki. Very informative, clear steps with good pics to accompany each stage. Excellent tutorial.
    1. Captain Sprout's Avatar
      Captain Sprout -
      Excellent, thanks Orki!
    1. Endor's Avatar
      Endor -
      Somehow the pics aren't showing on my iPad?

      The text is great, though
    1. Orki's Avatar
      Orki -
      Yeah, something's gone a bit wrong. The pics have disappeared from the gallery, and the img links have gone from the article too. I'm guessing DL knows what's going on here anyway, and they will be back as soon as he's done doing whatever it is...
    1. Vern's Avatar
      Vern -
      Great article, cheers
    1. shanerozzell's Avatar
      shanerozzell -
      Fixed the images and this is cracking little tutorial. Brilliant mate.
    1. Spectral Dragon's Avatar
      Spectral Dragon -
      Thanks Orki, been wanting to do marble for a while now.
    1. Shades's Avatar
      Shades -
      Thanks for sharing, Orki!
    1. MaGie's Avatar
      MaGie -
      Awesome tutorial Orki. It looks amazing and the steps are really easy to follow :) Thanks!