Wildfury Greatstaff [I'm covered in paint!]

I have been steamrolling right along on this staff, and I am glad to say that the major construction portion is complete! There has been much frustration over getting the faux wood grain to look realistic (because, yes, everything must be perfect and I am a masochist - my back can vouch for that one). Fortunately, I have had success with this endeavor, and have moved on to painting the green top portion of the staff. There was much rejoicing.

I pre-mix my (acrylic) colors in recycled tubs - lids are your best friend if you plan to reuse a mixed color. I will be using the same paint on other pieces, so I mixed a lot of paint.

I ended up using 4 different browns to get a wood grain I liked. There were two medium tone browns for the base and basic grain layout, one light honey brown for the highlights and a black-brown for added texture illusion.

I used a mixture of wet and dry brush techniques. Fortunately, I spent my college career in the art and theater departments/classes so I have a lot of experience with painting. This helped immensely, although I know that anyone with enough patience and determination can achieve a nice faux wood grain.

The key here is following the brush's lead - don't try to force patterns that the brush isn't interested in executing. It is especially important for 3D projects! The surface isn't flat, it is usually much easier and looks much better if you just put on some good music and go with the flow.

I started with the darker of the two base colors, waited for it to dry, added another layer (the gesso shows through if your paint isn't very opaque), and then started using the side of my brush to lay in the lines. I repeated with highlights, added some medium brown back in where the highlights stood out too much, then went in with the dark brown last to give it some depth.

Another important thing to keep in mind when painting faux wood grain is that you should try to avoid going over highlights with your darker colors. Ideally you want to put darker colors next to the highlights in order to give the texture the illusion of depth.

Once all the wood was painted on I went back over the mess with gesso where I needed to paint in the green, so I would not need as many layers of green paint to cover the wood grain. Currently the crest is painted green all around and tomorrow or the next day it should be getting the shading and pattern painted on.

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