We all here about source lighting a lot these days and since it popped up its raised the bar for mini painting and given new realism and depth to
our tiny friends.
This tutorial covers the other end of the light spectrum, shadows to be more exact.
We're going to go through what I call grey scaling, It's a way of shading flesh and other colours without just using a darker tone of the colour you
When you look at real shadows they are a greyer in colour. Adding black to our source colour gives models a very real feel.
Things you need.
X1 00 sable brush for fine detail.
X1 0 sable brush for base coating.
X1 black paint.
X1 white paint.
X1 mid flesh paint.
X1 light flesh paint.
X1 mid green paint.
X1 mixing palette.
X1 clean water.
X1 model to paint.
Prepare you model by filling away the flash and giving it a light coat of white primer
The first coat of paint we'll be applying is the mid flesh tone.
Take a few brush loads of mid flesh paint and a small spot of our green paint mix in some clean water till it's the consistency of milk, then paint on
two thin coats.
It is better to paint a few thin coats of paint rather than a single thick layer as you will get a much smoother finish.
Allow this to dry.
In the second step we will be adding our first lot of shadows.
Try to imagine a light source above your mini, lets say the far off sun in this case.
This means that our highlights will be at the top of our model and the shadows below.
Keeping this in mind add a small spot of black paint to your original flesh colour and some more water to keep it fluid and begin to paint in the
Start at the bottom and draw the paint up.
I started at the legs and worked up the body.
Places that would be in shadow would be under the knees, inner thighs, behind the knees, the inside of the arms, under the chest muscles,
armpits, under the chin and brow and beneath the nose and so on.
Basically any part of the model that points towards the ground or is shadowed by another part of the model.
Another good way of seeing where the shadows is to shine a spot light on your model and see where the natural shadows lie, This works for the
highlight in the next step as well.
In the third step we will add our highlights.
This time we have to try and imagine what our light source will be hitting, obviously the raised areas will catch most of the light but not all of them.
This is a huge misconception with mini painting that every raised area must be highlighted.
If we were to highlight every raised area on this model it would not look right at all so, we have to think logically about what to bring out and what to
leave the basic shade.
Lets look at the chest as an example. a lot of us would automatically highlight the nipple area the lightest when we should be starting from the top of
We paint this highlight the opposite way to the shadows, IE we paint from top to bottom.
Take some of your original flesh tone and add about half a brush full of the lighter flesh colour, add some water to get the right consistency.
Apply this first to the face and shoulders and top of the back and chest. We start our highlight at the top of these areas and draw the paint down.
It will look feint to start with but allow it to dry and you will see the highlight taking shape.
You should only paint half way down towards our shadowed areas leaving space for the colour to blend through the original flesh tone into the
Repeat this step again but first add a little more of the light flesh colour to your mix.
This time we paint less again as to leave our first highlight showing and thus blending into the shadows.
In the final highlight we add just a touch of white paint and only apply this to the tops of the shoulders and the brow, cheeks, nose and the tops of
the chest muscles.
Now sit back and look at your mini, this is where you can touch up your highlights and shading.
Add starker highlights for light sources that are closer and make more mellow for more ambient lighting.
You can also add other colours to you highlight such as yellow to simulate flames and greens and blues for magical fire.
Perhaps you could invert the shading and highlight to make you mini look like it is being lit from the bottom.
Your imagination is the only limit.
Good luck and happy painting.