Friday Quick Tip: Faces and Stubble

I'm finally getting down to really painting my Novamarines from the Badab Campaign (yes, that was several months ago) so I've been hitting the net searching for Marine tips. Monstrous faces from the GW site was nice, but I've been searching a lot for a good stubble technique. Here's a great Friday Quick Tip Video from LBursley on Space Marine faces and getting that great shaved-head stubble effect.

Here's the materials list:

Vallejo Game Color Bone White 72034/GW Bleached Bone
Vallejo Game Color Elf Sintone 72004/GW Elf Flesh
Vallejo Game Color Dwarf Skin 72041/GW Dwarf Flesh
Vallejo Game Color Hexed Lichen 72015/GW Liche Purple
Vallejo Game Color Cold Grey 72050/GW Codex Grey

Additionally LBursley's dilution mix: 10 parts water to 1 part Liquitex Flow Aid. Use this mix to dilute the paint; the video gives you a good idea of the consistency needed.

The key to good stubble appears to be the dilution of the paint and stippling the paint on instead of painting a defined area. On to the video!

Be sure to check out Les' YouTube page with dozens more video tutorials.

How do you do you faces? And eyes? I'm firmly in the no eyes camp, so let's hear it on eyes or not.


  1. wow...talk about taking the longest way possible to paint a face.

    Try doing a light wash of the purple, instead of fully painting it on as you did. Or even better do what you did, but do the purple over the first coat of flesh...saves time..though in reality a light wash/inking is all you really need of the purple.

    For eyes, do it like everyone else has shown to do it...black then white.

    As far as the blending, I recommend putting a drop of thinner in the areas you want to have fade into each other, it helps mix the two colours while also thinning the brighter colour as it comes down into the darker areas. Same applies when applying the "unshaved" areas of the head/face.

    - Mr.Awesome.

  2. So you put the thinner on the model directly? I guess you'd have to use a brush to do this on something as small as the face, yes?

  3. No, you'd put the thinner in the paint - makes each layer translucent.

    Totally agree with Mr Awesome on the purple wash too; fully painting with the purple like that also leaves seriously harsh shading.

  4. I like the harsh purple, I think it works well for a guy with lots of scars. To each his own, Anonymous.

  5. Lol yeah been getting a lot of people lately giving their 2 cents and saying I'm doing it wrong in so many ways. But like I said in the video, it was a quick job. The face was painted in medium contrast. If you want to get crazy you can paint purple and use a dark blue for shading and thin the skin tones heavily then work with transparent layers to simulate real skin. But like RG said, to each his own. If you have a better technique to share we are all ears. But with "Anonymous" there is nothing to click to see what you have done so..... Yeah.

  6. I think it works great for a quick tabletop job, and offers a lot of nice contrast. I don't really see anything I'd change for the effect you wanted.

    A lighter wash really wouldn't give you the same contrast down low or in the crevices, though I do understand the mention as it would be a bit faster, you would lose some of the richness of color I think.

    Good tip, dig the stubble, another idea for some with a bit more control would be to glaze the stubble on using the codex grey (or insert hair color here) only. Saves from needing to mix paints for that extra step.

    Maybe it's time for some glazing tips? ^_-

  7. guys i think this was an awesome quick paint job.
    I personally dont use purple, i mix up a dark red with a flesh tone to get a deep pinky colour. but i like this job alot and if i used space marines i might go for this kind of thing. i paint IG though so i go for the pinky colour to look a little more cold and sore, like a red nose on a cold day

  8. Good video tutorial.

    While I'm inclined to agree the purple is applied a bit thicker than I would do personally, you were obviously working quickly for the tutorial so it's understandable.

    When taking more time, I'd recommend applying the purple in about 4-5 thin layers, working it in towards the crevices with a push-pull technique (push the paint from outside the crevice in towards it - this means that most of the pigment will collect at the end of the stroke, in the crevice).

    Also, I like to give the stubble a light final covering with a super thin layers of one of my skin highlights just to tie it in. Depends on the level of stubble you want though, for darker, longer stubble you would probably skip this.

    Keep up the good work Les!