“Grisaille” is French for grayscale. It is an old technique used by master painters to address the issue of shadows and highlights before applying color to their painting. I have a friend who is a professional painter who uses this technique to paint scenes from Disney movies, scenes from Gone with the Wind, and The Wizard of Oz.
Penny Myer is the one who introduced me to the method at a SCAHMS Workshop several years ago. Greg DiFranco and Chuck Smith use the method as well.
To create a grayscale, Penny uses Prussian Blue and a dark brown color combined. This creates a rich “gray.” Chuck uses raw umber, and burnt umber for the flesh. After the flesh has dried a day or two he applies a slight coat of viridian as a glaze to the flesh.
I am preparing to paint a few figures using this method and thought it would be convenient to have the photos I have collected through the years of flat figures in grayscale at my disposal. Take a look:
Penny Myer’s painting of “The Kid” from Jupiter Miniatures. Left in grayscale, won best of show at the Kulmbach show 2015.
Greg DiFranco’s work in grayscale before applying color: