In most of the cases when I present a figure, especially one with red clothes I get the same reaction from fellow modellers – “The red should be more modulated” or “there are not enough lights on that red” or “you should apply who knows which technique no.23” or just plain and simple, “let me know when you will finish this figure”.
First of all, there is not such a thing like finishing a painting. There are not a number of screws that you should put in place and when you finish them it means you have finished the work. Sometimes, parts of an artwork are left unfinished by artists with a purpose, but it’s not the case here. I remember I saw in progress work of some much respected painters thinking they should stop much earlier than they actually did.
Now in the particular case of red, we are talking about a color that due to the fact that is reflecting light so powerful tends to “eat” the fine graduations of light. A matte red surface will not reflect light as other colors, but with a higher intensity of that red. This mean there will be not pink or even orange, but just an intense light tone of red (scarlet, vermillon). You can see that in real world and also in paintings. In fact I guess the problem is that as long as painters try to reproduce a real world image, most often modellers are replicating other figures, painted by other more experienced modellers or are applying a set of techniques that have become a rule, a trend for anyone that want to count in jury’s eyes.
Bellow, see how different tones of red is reflecting light in real life, in paintings and in figurines.
Buy yourself a tube of light cadmium red or scarlet. Yes maybe it's not on the list at your course (class), but when you leave there you are allowed to think with your own brain.
The same logic applies to faces. It seems that the vast majority of figurine painters are applying a set of techniques and a way of working the different plans of light and shade, as has been explained by some renowned painter. While this might be o.k. for bigger surfaces, in the particular case of small wrinkles and accidents of the surface, namely veins, scratches or scars, treating them with the same technique will inflate those details making the figure to look like a ceramic doll, with salami like limbs. It may be a question of taste but I try hard to avoid this.
To illustrate my opinion I took some arbitrary examples from the internet belonging to artists I don’t know. I will not post an image of one of my figures because I’m not trying to say that what I do is perfect, just that maybe I’m following a different ideal than others.
The only painter that didn't comply with the trend and did a wonderful job in my opinion is the author of the soviet soldier bust.
Stop puting those lights under the wrinkles starting down from the nostrils ! There should be shadow there, or at least a dimmer light. Same at the bags under the eyes. If you treat every wrinkle there with shadow and light, every kid will end up looking 90 years old. Wrinkles are volumes not colors.