Korona here, I'm in a bit of a mess with some painting, hopefully you're not too busy and can give a few pointers? I have some "Exodite Eldar" I've been kitbashing from Wood Elf and Dark Eldar bits.
The idea was to give regular Eldar a creepy "just crawled out of the woods" type of vibe:
I also really liked this colour scheme:
So I was thinking 'perfect' - blue ties with reddish browns and green ties with purple. I'll do a 4 way colour scheme. I followed the rules and tried to break up the colours across the model rather than just blocking them in one place.
While the result's not awful, it's not good either...
I'm kind of stuck where to go from here. I can see it's not working but it seems much wiser to ask the guru rather than keep on going in circles.
One thing I do really do like is this BTP figure:
I like how they took an almost monochrome scheme and made it come alive with the lighting. It also makes it look dead creepy. Maybe some orange lighting on the water and gun would be a better way to balance the blue rather than the abortive brown boots/gloves?
I dunno, it's tough to know exactly where to go when you can't really work out what's not working.
Any help would be really great,
A world of t(h)anks!
Simon / Korona
Great question Korona! This is going to be pretty interesting for folks to read.
Yeah, your colors are a mess. From a strictly technical standpoint, here's what you have when I map them out. It's not a Tetrad, as you seem to be going for. Rather it's more of an unfocused Triad.
If you remember my article on the standard color harmonies, I warned that while Triads and Tetrads allow for a lot of hue variation, that variation comes at the expense of control. Meaning that it will be very difficult to convey a distinct emotion using that scheme. Because the only tool you have left to emphasize certain elements over others is value (light and dark variations).
You say that you want to convey "creepiness", but trying to do that with anything other than an Analogous or Split-Complement is like trying to win a tournament with Chaos Marines. In theory, it should be possible. But in reality you're just pushing boulders uphill when you don't need to. :)
Looking at your BTP pic again:
He's using a straight-up Split-Complement:
Most of the model is painted in a yellow-green to green analogous scheme, where parts of the model look brighter because the rest is painted more darkly. The complementary accents on the head are painted using a blue-magenta (purple) hue.
Remember that even within a single hue (like the yellow-green above) you have a whole range of possible tones that are created by mixing the pure hue with white and black. The BTP example is using that entire range.
So save the Triads and the Tetrads for Daemons. The oddness works for them. That bat girl pic screams DAEMON to me more than it does "Hi-Tech Elf Farmer".
So What Would SandWyrm Do Instead?
The creepy theme can work, like the Elf/Thallid art for the green cards in Magic: The Gathering, but in the 40K universe, that's more Nurgle than Wood Elf. At least to me.
In the fluff, the Exodites are the ones who left the rest of their race before the fall. They're puritans (or possibly Mormons/Amish) who revel in their righteousness and connection to the land. Presumably they still have a lot of tech laying around, but they don't flaunt it.
Where else do we see this Space Amish theme in Fantasy/Sci-Fi?
The 'Nox' in Stargate run around like primitive hunters/farmers. But they can hide whole cities from view with the wave of their hands. Primitive my arse. :)
The trope is older than that though, and goes back to the idea of "Arcadia". Or the gentle life of the countryside. Which is a basic desire of city folk to have all the peace of country life combined with the perks of industry and technology.
You can also think of Tolkin's Wood Elves as imagined by Peter Jackson:
So what are the appropriate colors for this theme?
Basically we get oranges and blues to work with. The colors of land and sky. The exact harmony we choose will have an effect on the viewer though. The image above shows 3 possible color harmonies. Two Split-Complements and a Double-Split Complement.
The first harmony, on the left uses a range of blues contrasted with orange. This would allow you to emphasize the Exodite's hi-tech abilities and contrast that with a splash of earth-tones to connect them to the land.
The second harmony, in the middle, uses a range of Orange to Yellow-Green to emphasize the Exodite's connection to the land. But you could use some blues here and there to show that there's a bit of hi-tech to these farmers.
The third harmony uses a range of blues contrasted with a range of earth tones so that you can have it both ways. But you'll lose some ability to emphasize certain things. In this harmony it's more about being pretty than communicating things with the hue contrast.
Even within this restricted hue range though, there are ways of making certain models, or entire armies feel dark.
Think Edward, above, who's colored using the 2nd harmony. If he was pure of heart, he would be dressed in near-whites. But we know there's something pretty dark inside because he's dressed in near-blacks. He still has a connection to the land though, thanks to that brown (desaturated yellow-orange) belt that he wears.
Winry's connection to the land is more pronounced, though the near-black shirt does hint at something. Put her in a near-white shirt though, and she'd be a pure-as-snow country girl.
So if you want not-so-friendly Exodites, I'd go with harmony #1 and push the value contrast. Such that things don't look to bright and happy.
Or you can add in some lighter values for a more approachable, but still off-putting, look.
While certain models could have saturated blood-reds to set them apart thematically.
I'll leave it there. I hope everyone reading this makes it this far. :)
If none of this made any sense, you probably need to read my prior articles on Color Theory.
Comments Please! Feel free to post additional questions!