One of the most mysterious and impressive techniques used in miniature painting is the enigmatic OSL, which translates to On-miniature Source Lighting. Whether you like it or not is a matter of personal preference, but why shouldn’t you learn how to use this technique? These tips may be useful for this purpose.
I wanted to explain my way of painting light on miniatures. On our forum we had a discussion about Ana’s spellsinger, and it inspired me to writing this article.
The way of painting light will be explained using my Demon of Chaos for the example. To begin with, we’ll remind several technical things that everybody should know:
In my humble opinion it’s best to start with painting the mini in any way you like, and only then apply the light and shadows. More work will be needed, but the effect will be better (I know it from my experience). If we start with painting the effect of light, we can en counter various surprising problems, and they will not help us for sure…
When the mini is painted, we can start painting our light. We’re starting with painting the light source (in this case – from the lamp), which will be helpful when we’ll be painting the reflections.
I started with the darker colors, and I worked toward the lightest point (Fiery Orange, Golden Yellow, Sunburst Yellow, white). We’re keeping the transitions smooth. The reflections can be made with glazes, which will create the natural effect of light falling on the surfaces.
As for the reflections, we’re starting with the surfaces positioned close to the light source, where the reflections will be stronger (the demon’s stomach and head). One can start with a darker color (eg. Blood Red) and mark the places where the light would fall on the whole mini, which will allow us a more complete view of the whole project.
Using glazes for the large surfaces we’re applying successive layers, until the effects satisfies us, but let us keep the color darker than the light source. Glazes will be no good for smaller elements, because thinned paint can run into recesses, etc. And that’s how we paint all the lit surfaces.
The last thing you can do, if there is such need, is making the surfaces opposite to the lit ones darker. I can give you another advice: the reflections near the light source will connct with shadows in a more rapid way: much light – much shadow (eg. the demon’s head). The farther reflections will have more delicate, subtle, and smooth transitions into the local color and then into the shadow (eg. the demon’s tail and tentacles).
And then we can use the same method for the miniature’s base