🤏 Miniatures
🖌 Painting

Updated at 2020-12-24 11:19

Plan your paint job in advance. People usually default to crafting approaches they are familiar with and quickly stop improving. Plan "in broad strokes" how you will complete your models to introduce techniques to get you outside your comfort zone.

Syntax I use is:

Dark Tyranid Trial #3:
    + [x] Exoskeleton, Basecoat, GW Thousand Sons Blue
    + [x] Exoskeleton, Wash, bottom 1/3, GW Druchii Violet
    + [x] Exoskeleton, Wash, recesses, GW Nuln Oil
    + [ ] Exoskeleton, Highlight, bright blue
    + [ ] Carapace, Basecoat, black
    + [ ] Carapace, Pattern, yellow/gold
        + do a wavy line following the spine
    + [ ] Bone, Drybrush, white

And then you would fill-in the exact paints, details and techniques used.

Every model has "the ugly stage". You are working on it. Your creation might look horrible after just the primer and basecoat but will get better.

Don't paint your army like a display piece. You will never finish an army like that.

Don't worry too much about being neat while basecoating. Try to color inside the lines but hitting adjacent areas is not an issue. If you hit an unpainted section, you will obviously paint over it later. If you hit an already painted section, you can clean that up with a thin layer of the previous basecoat later.

Use less of different paints. A fledgling painter might use over 30 different paints for a single miniature. This is too much for all situations except maybe display pieces, competition projects and busts.

Painting in sub-assemblies is only good for huge miniatures. Mount the components on rods or corks. Never paint the normal miniatures in sub-assemblies, it's an overkill.

Clean up your model after washes. Apply heavy glaze highlights after dried washes and Citadel contrast paints. You might also be more careful when applying the washes to begin with, only applying them to the recesses and not let them pool on the raised areas.

Add more contrast to your models. Increase contrast between light and dark. Use washes to make parts darker and various highlights to make parts brighter.

Use volumetric lighting. Steer towards making your models 3D instead of 2D. Add other highlights in addition to edge highlights; how light would naturally hit on the object in a 3D space. Edge highlights are important in creating visual interest and separating model sections though. Manually apply washes only to recesses as washes go with the gravity and know nothing about light source.

Generate visual interest with tiny details. Add controlled amounts of tiny details like mushrooms on bases, scratches on leather or color variation on surfaces.

Add color variation to make large areas more interesting. Color variations make models more interesting e.g. making elbow more pink than the rest of the arm.

Make the focal point, usually the face, the crispest and the clearest. This is the part that people will look at first.

Painting Faces - Simple

  • [ ] Face Edges+Mouth+Chin, Glaze, blue
  • [ ] Face Cheeks+Nose, Glaze, red
  • [ ] Face Forehead, Glaze, yellow
  • [ ] Face, Layer, skin
  • [ ] Face Lips, Glaze, red
  • [ ] Face Middle Lower Lip, Glaze, pink

Painting Eyes on Small Miniatures - Simple

  • [ ] Eye Socket, Basecoat, dark skin tone
  • [ ] Eye, Basecoat, black
  • [ ] Eye Left of Iris, Layer, white
  • [ ] Eye Right of Iris, Layer, white
  • [ ] Eyelids, Retouch, base skin tone

Painting Eyes on Large Miniatures - Simple

  • [ ] Eye Socket, Basecoat, dark skin tone
  • [ ] Eye, Basecoat, black
  • [ ] Eye, Layer, white
  • [ ] Iris, Layer, place slightly above the mid-point, black
  • [ ] Eyelids, Retouch, base skin tone

Painting Faces - Professional

Paints recommended:

  • Medium Flesh Tone
  • Light Flesh Tone
  • Flesh Tone Wash
  • Standard Black
  • Standard White
  • Standard Red

The workflow:

  1. Prime the face; red-brown is best but any color works
  2. Basecoat face with medium flesh tone
  3. Mix red and black to get brownish-red
  4. Apply brownish-red to eye sockets, eyebrow and mouth
  5. Mix medium flesh tone and white to get warm-white
  6. Apply warm-white to create eye whites
    • upper eye outline should be thicker (eyelashes)
    • distance between eyes should be one eye with
    • eyeball is half-covered by the upper lid
    • make sure eyes look somewhere, not dead-center
  7. Mix medium skin tone with brownish-red to create pinkish-red
    • use to pain lips, lower lip is thicker
    • add white to make more pinkish
    • use to lighten lips
    • add white to make more pinkish
    • use to highlight lips
  8. Mix red and water to get a red glaze
    • glaze the face; focus on cheeks, under nose, under lips and jaw
  9. Use light flesh tone to highlight the skin
    • focus on forehead, nose bridge, nose tip, lower eyelid, upper lip edges and chin
  10. After done with hair/helmet, apply flesh tone wash on the recesses bordering the face