Painting and Final Details
I didn't own an airbrush at the time of this project so I hand painted everything. I started by using my favorite grey Krylon matte primer and coated the whole thing. I then sanded the whole thing, this may sound weird to some but this allows me to sand down areas that still need it and I can see the white plastic underneath, I use a the grey primer so that when I do my final sanding of a project I can tell where I have sanded and where primer has been left behind.
Once I'm done sanding and making sure edges blend right and whatever else I wanted done before painting I then used Krylon again but this time I used a matte white primer to apply my base coat on.
I started dark with darker browns and greys even some black mixed in there and built them up sd my base layers and then I preceded to build up and paint my basic tones which were tans, reds and yellows, getting lighter tones as I went.
I have to say that I actually like using a brush when painting wood because I can make the brush strokes follow the grain pattern I sculpted in allowing yet more depth with the base and color layers of the wood, I feel it creates a real wood texture. I would also sometimes use a dry brush with no paint on it to remove some paint while it was still wet. This removes layers of the wet paint showing the layer underneath which gives a really convincing wood grain texture.
My final coats of the base color of the wood were done primarily with dry brushing techniques.
Some added Details
I took a break for painting the main staff to to work on adding and element that I thought would really make this feel alive, I wanted the staff to be a character in itself.
You may notice from the pictures that I sculpted an eyeball into the staff which I later paint, but at this moment I am talking about the fungus. I used some thin EVA foam sheets I think 1/8th in thickness I cut them out with an xacto then used my heat gun to give them a bit of shape.
Now foam will only hold so much shape when heat formed especially when that thin, but I just wanted to a bit as I knew I would shape them further when I applied them to the staff.
I painted them with the same paint in the method as the staff, though I used some wet blending techniques on them, which I will add by the way I am only ok at, but I did wet blending non the less.
For those not familiar with what wet blending is... Simply its when you take two or more paint colors and essentially blend those colors tougher while they are wet. Usually you will some sort of drying retarder to the paint so it doesn't dry on you before you can blend them. You apply paint next to each other and then blend together in the center, creating a sort of fade between colors with the two distinct colors on each end, they basically face together, one color fading into the next. Its similar to blending two colors with an airbrush.
At this point I started painting all my green bits and living spots over the existing colors and began to paint in my eyeball, which I would have probably sculpted in a different spot if I were to do this again, its not in the most visible spot.
I layered up colors from dark forest greens to light lime green, I mix a lot of my own paint colors on most of my projects, mostly because I am looking for a particular result, but standard colors would also work fine in most cases.
The last thing I did before sealing the staff in a lacquer I added my fungus but I didn't want it just stuck on so after super gluing them on I mixed up something I have been using in miniatures for years. I use it mostly to get the texture of sand on miniatures but in this case I wanted to make it look like the fungus was growing into the wood.
I mix up equal parts matte medium, its a hardening medium that is added to paint and it gets very hard. I also add elders glue and sometimes a 2-part epoxy if you want it really hard. after you have your base glue mix you just add other mediums to it, in this case I added different grits of sand and ground up cork, mixed it in really well added some brown paint for a base color then applied it around the base of each fungus bloom. after about 3-4 hours I painted it to match and blend into the rest of the staff.
I use a matte krylon art spray or lacquer when sealing props like this. I put about 6-7 coats on the final staff knowing that this would be handled a lot during the shoot.
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