Denizens of Zo – Elphaba

A lot of time was spent trying to develop a strategy for painting Elphaba.

Marcelo Mendes (the sculptor) exquisitely detailed multiple transitions that flow throughout the sculpt.

The use of color would need to reflect, as well as enhance those transitions.

Painting issues aside, the biggest challenge when building this piece was determining where all of the tendrils belonged.

Thankfully, each one had a unique base that only fit into one specific spot.

However, the tendrils were not marked except for that footprint.

Kit is primed with Rust/Brick colored primer, MARS RED is applied to recesses to create natural shadows.


Toothpicks were used to support the tendrils. Silly putty mask was used to protect numbers, and a Black primer was applied (2).


Garage Kits US Colors Dark Green was applied to the bottom ends, Dark Olive Green to the mid sections, and Light Green at tips (3).


Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics (LSBA) Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Vivid Lime Green were Dry Brushed on the tendrils Darkest to Lightest as shown on picture (4).


A Black watercolor (WC) wash was applied to the lower portions, burnt sienna WC wash was applied from the mid section to tips
Note how the pieces are arranged numerically (picture 5), to keep them organized.

PLEASE NOTE: A spritz of Bright Yellow was applied to the tips after photo 5 was taken.


A Black Primer was applied throughout the figure to use as a base, after which a Dark Brown base was layered over the higher points (6).


Dark African Flesh and Medium African Flesh was then applied leaving the Dark Brown base in the deeper crevices to create shadows (7).


Transparent Dark Brown, Transparent Burnt Sienna were then used for the overall tone of the figure.

Medium African Flesh, Spice Tan, and a mix of equal parts Garage Kit Flesh and Bright Flesh were used for the final value range (8).


Transparent Light Green, Transparent Burnt Sienna were airbrushed on to the figure using a stencil to parts of leg (9).


Transparent Dark Brown, Transparent Burnt Sienna were used for tone adjustment, along with a mix of Spice Tan, Garage Kit Flesh and Bright Flesh for highlights (10).


Transparent Vivid Orange, Transparent Golden Yellow were used for further tone adjustments to the figure.

A mix of Orange and Medium African Flesh for further highlights.

An overall misting of Sepia was used for hue, after which Pastel enhancements were applied using brushes (11).


So as not to make her appear too human, Jet Black was used as a base for the eyes; Mars Red was used for the lips. Water Color highlight was applied to the upper eye lid (12).


A mixture of Mars Red and Bambi Brown were used to highlight the lips, and Water Color was used for the eyelids and the edging of the lips (13).


Orange Water Color was used for iris placement, yellow Water Color was used to highlight the irises.

Water Color was used on the philtrum and lip edging for further highlights. Water Color highlights were then applied to eyelids.

Black Water Color was used for lip separation, after which a Dark green Water Color wash was applied to strategic areas of the head sculpt (14).


Dry brush LSBA green highlights were applied to the flora portions of the head sculpt.

Watercolor detail: black pupils, red sclera, yellow iris highlight, with further highlights achieved using Pastels (15).


The underside of the dress was based using Jet Black, after which a Black Green was used to highlight and fill, and Dark Olive was used for final highlights (16).


Aves FIXIT Sculpt was used to fill the gaps between dress and body (17); leaves and moss was sculpted to further hide the seams


and hide the bottom edges of the dress (18).


Areas of skin were masked using Silly Putty, painters tape and clear plastic food wrap before painting ground/dress transition (19).


Dark Brown, Dark African Flesh, Medium African Flesh, Spice Tan, Transparent Dark Brown, and Transparent Burnt Sienna were applied to the hip area matching the torso colors and darkening towards the bottom (20).


A mix of Spice Tan, Garage Kit Flesh, and Bright Flesh was used to emphasize leg beneath the dress.

Transparent Medium Green was applied applied overall, fading out moving upwards.

Transparent Black Green was used to darken the lower areas.
Some pastel enhancements (21).

NOTE: Color is a darker brown at the base, and transitions to a light green at waist before fading away completely at the breasts.


Dry brushing was used with a variety of LSBA greens and brown earth tones (22).


Dark brown and black watercolor washes were then used to enhance detail.

Edges of some leaves highlighted by using brush work.

Mushrooms were painted using LSBA grays and white, after which additional dry brush work was done to blend the tones together (23).


Closer look at coloring and detail work (24).


Torso showing green fade out at breasts.

Stencil work was then added to the abdominals to loosely match the patterns on the legs (25).


Green watercolor wash was brushed over leaf work throughout the torso (26).


Light green LSBA was then dry brushed over leaf work to highlight and enhance textures (27).


A Black watercolor wash was used on the tendril roots over back color (28).


Dry brush work was then used with pastels for further enhancements (29).


The same treatment, colors and techniques which were used on the tendrils (steps 3, 4 and 5) were then used on the hands (30).


Yellow Ochre, Ivory White was used to highlight the tips of the fingers.

Pastels were used to separate the finger segments.

Black watercolor wash and dry brush was then applied to enhance texture and detail.

Flower detail was brush painted with LSBA (31).


A simple method was needed to fill the small gaps when joining the arms and tendrils that would be easy to apply and blend.
I added a few drops of Jet Black to Liquitex Modeling Paste to create a dark paste, which was then applied to the figure (32).


Black modeling paste was applied over the joint gaps using a toothpick.

Dragging toothpick through paste simulated the texture of the original sculpt (33).


Dry brushing was then used over the hardened modeling paste to highlight texture and complete color transitions (34).


The Silly Putty that was used to mask over skin and tendril sockets were then removed, exposing the rust primer and skin overspray (35).


A Black watercolor wash was then applied to the head of the sculpture (36).


LSBA colors were then dry brushed on the tendrils (37).


The individual tendrils were then attached using epoxy and blackened modeling paste, and dry brush work was used to blend the seams (38)


Forehead tendrils were attached using the same techniques and colors in step 38, and a Garage Kits Gloss Coat was applied to the eyes and lips (39).


Blackened modeling paste, dry brush, and detail work was used once again to hide the seams (40).


The back tendrils and shoulder treatments were completed, using the same techniques and colors.
Black modeling paste, watercolor washes, dry brush, and pastels (41).


A Silly putty mask was used to cover the roots sculpted on the base, and Jet Black base coat was applied as shown (42).


Black Green, Dark Olive, Spice Tan were then used to create Earth tones on the ground(43).


Yellow ochre LSBA Dry brush was then used to further highlight the raised areas, and a brown watercolor wash was then applied.

Once dried, a misting of Chestnut was applied to unite all the colors, and LSBA was brush painted on the leaves (44).


Gray LSBA dry brush was applied to the stones, and patches of dried leaf ground cover was attached with thinned white glue (45).


A small flower was sculpted on the back of the right hand.
There appeared to be a portion of another small flower on the dress above the thigh of the raised leg.

I decided to use Aves FIXIT Sculpt to fashion three additional flowers.
Small balls were grouped, then a modeling tool was used to press in petal detail. The center ball was textured using a pin (46).


The flowers were then painted using LSBA, and placed sporadically at pleasing points along the kit.

Attached you can see details of the flower placement we elected to use (47).

The kit was then given several coats of Garage Kits Flat Coat to seal and protect it.