Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Case study; Erhard Schon coloured woodcuts

I am currently working upon a unit of Landsknecht arquebusiers and thought I'd experiment with some interpretations of contemporary coloured woodcuts.

There is a wealth of these out there but by far my most favourite are those of the Nuremberg woodcut artist Erhard Schon. His coloured woodcuts of the 1520's offer a fantastic insight into the palettes used and sheer variety of decoration and tone.

I don't know that much about him but it certainly appears that he had first hand experience of Landsknechts or possibly even served as one as the minute details in armour, fastenings and dress are very detailed.

So here goes, first up is my interpretation of the following woodcut;

Unless a figure has been sculpted as a direct interpretation of an image you'll never be able to get a facsimilie so there has to be some compromise but if you choose your figure carefully it will usually yield a decent result. In this instance I was careful to select a figure with slashed hose upon legs and arms so that the undercloth could be easily depicted and stripes could be easily painted.

The same notion was carried here; the sculpt is a fairly close interpretation, if you're feeling crafty you could use some green-stuff to add a feather to the cap. Here I have chosen to swap the colours of the legs in the woodcut simply because the right leg is more prominent and less obscured thus making it easier to paint the striped hose.

Next up we have a lot of stripes !

As mentioned above some care needs to be exercised in the figure you select and you can either choose to try for a direct interpretation as I have attempted in the first instance or simply use the woodcut as a guide as I've attempted here;

I really enjoyed painting four colour stripes on the hose and arms simply because i've never done it before, always opting for two or three at the most but it really works here. You can carry this notion forward with other figures and a different palette by playing around with the woodcut examples I have drawn on the accompanying pages of this blog.

More to follow soon

All the best



  1. Excellent interpretations of the period illustrations - you've brought them to life. Inspiring - I have a GW Captain (the one with the wavy blade) to paint up and this is motivating! Best, Dean

  2. Thanks Dean, with the GW figures being that much larger you should be able to get some really bold stripes, good luck !

  3. Beautiful painting Stuart! Excellent details on the highlighting and color schemes for the stripes. Thanks for the tip about Erhard Schon! I've got a batch of Pro Gloria minis on the painting table, so this offers some historical inspiration for the clothing.

  4. Exellent blog post Stuart !

    Stunning paint work !

    Best regards Michael

  5. You've done it again- and brought those coloured etchings to life!
    Most impressive....great post.

  6. Very Impressive, like Dean I'm painting some old GW Empire and the prints and your work are very inspiring