Many miniature painters don’t address the subject of inspiration or references, but in fact they are very important to their creative process. First, they help to imagine details, then it also helps to make progress.
How I process inspiration and references
For me this is the most important, because usually I mostly know what mood I want to achieve, I can feel the main colors, I’ve got the main picture – a leitmotiv. But to make the figure deeper, more believable, I look for more details. I sincerely encourage you to create your own reference base for your models.
Let me explain how I processed my inspiration for the Babayagha, the Black Mother model from Karol Rudyk Art.
Babayagha, the Black Mother
“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest… because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.” Terry Pratchett
This is the leitmotiv that I had in my Pinterest folder with cool themes for future reference, and it was obviously the connection for me.
As you can see, my model is modified and has four hands instead of the original two. Ths idea came up during a conversation with my friend Benathai.
I checked where I would like to put light on model:
I completed selecting the colors…
…. and looking for details:
The most difficult part is painting the face. That is why I was looking at for pictures of actress or a public person. Especially if you are a beginner in painting faces, thanks to this you can find many shots of such a person and create a character study.
This time my inspiration was Emma Watson:
So now, having all the refrerence images collected, I could start painting and you know what I came up with. 😉
If you want to see some more pictures of my Babayagha, here they are:
I hope to have a chance to paint more of Karol’s models in future. 🙂
I was asked to write a tutorial about how I painted skin on my drunes.So here is few words about my way of painting skin on example of Muldo, Hammer-Brute from Mierce Miniatures. This is quite large figure – 65 mm to the eyes (which are not visible, but still 😉 ) so there is a lot od space to show my technique. I paint drune skin here, but the same principles apply to painting human skin in general.
Here is the mini airbrushed with basic skin color.
If it was smaller or did not have so much bare skin, I would apply basic skin color with a brush. My basic skin color is Citadel Elf Flesh. Most of available flesh colors (including this one) are in my opinion too orange, so I always add a little of light blue (Vallejo Glacier Blue here). In case of elves or females I add more blue (up to 40% of the skin mix), in case of males, especially barbarians or drunes less (about 20-25%).
Since I airbrushed the mini, I added a little white to the last layer and sprayed the mini from the top to build basic highlights that would help me in painting. All the next steps are made with a brush.
In the next step I apply shadows. My primary color for shadows is 50% mix of Vallejo Royal Purple and Vallejo Cavalry Brown. I gradually add it to the base skin color mix. Here you can see my basic skin color (on the left) and shadows color (on the right). What is between is a mix of those two. The shadow color is really strong (it changes a lot the base skin mix, which is quite light) so I add a very little of it to the first shadow layers.
The 2 keywords for painting skin (or any other miniature painting) are DILUTION and GRADUALLY. I want to make all the color transitions smooth, so I dilute tha paint for shading (and highlighting also) and I gradually add shadow color to the mix for each layer. How many layers do I make? Usually 4-5 are enough. In the end I add a little black to the pure shadow mix and paint darklines along borders of skin areas (in this case near armor plates or pieces of fabric). Below there is how the mini looks after shading. There was no highlighting yet and the muscles on the figure are already nicely emphasized.
As you can see I also painted the base. Generally I always paint the base first (if I airbrush the miniature, than in the second step). I use rather simple techniques to the base (mostly wash and drybrush) so I want to do this in the beginning not to spoil paintjob of the mini itself by accidentally messing it up withe the base color.
After shading comes time for highlighting. Again I start from my base skin color mix and I gradually add white (Citadel White Scar in this case). Proper dilution of the layers is also important here. Below you can see basic skin color on the left gradually mixed with white towards the right. Of course further highlighting is possible. The most “prominent” parts like knuckles or tip of the nose are painted in almost pure white. I like to achieve high contrast between shadows and highlights. Again I usually apply about 4-5 highlight layers.
The brute’s body is quite harsh and full of muscles, so there are many spots of shadows and highlights. Here is how it looks after applying highlights:
I hope that now the contrast is appropriate and the mini does not look boring. I could paint more layers and “polish” the miniature more, but I think this is enough. It took me about 5 hours to paint the mini to this stage and as I have limited time for painting – I don’t want to spend more on a single figure. I prefer to paint 3 miniatures to a good standard than 1 mini to a better one. It’s all the matter of compromise between available time and the paintjob quality.
As soon as I paint the remaining parts of the miniature, I will show the final results in the next post.
Edit: HERE is the link do the photos of finished miniature.
Any tutorial is useless until you try to practise it yourself. Don’t be affraid to experiment and find the technique that is the best for your uses.
If you want me to explain something or have any suggestions for future tutorials, please write it in comments section.
I’ve been a great fan of HR Giger‘s art for years. Nothing unusual among us, fantasy and sci-fi fans. But being a miniature painter I always wanted to paint a miniature in a style inspired by HR Giger’s art. When I wondered how to paint Rasputina from Wyrd Games, the concept came to my head…
Everything became clear immediately when I grabbed the base that I chose for the model. The image I had in my head was so strong that I can’t even think about how disappointed I would have been if the customer would have said “no” to my concept.
[inset side=left]I wanted the paintings to immediately remind of Giger’s work.[/inset]
But how can you be surprised? If the whole world is so full of Giger references, how can my little head be an exception? I started with what I had a complete idea ready for – the face on the base (from Scibor Monstrous Miniatures).
My intention was not to copy any particular artwork, but more along the lines of using it as inspiration and fitting it into my own compositions. Still I wanted the paintings to immediately remind of Giger‘s work.
Is there anything that I regret now? Oh, yes. The fact that I didn’t decide to put screws in her cheeks. The idea is still on my mind, maybe to be used one day?
How to paint Rasputina’s base
For the base my inspiration were these two paintings:
Here’s my initial color palette, the colors that I started with.
And the brush that I chose for this part of work. It was going to be fine-detailed painting, so a 3/0 brush from Raphael 8404 series was a good starting point.
And off to painting we go…
While painting such parts remember to take advantage of being able to rotate your model. Adjust its position so your brushstrokes aren’t too much of a challenge to pull off.
[inset side=right]I turned my model upside down, so the rounded shape didn’t require any corrections.[/inset]
Here I wanted to achieve a nice, rounded finish for the stripes, so I turned my model upside down so I could pull the brush from the top downward, so the rounded shape didn’t require any corrections.
I know that everybody is holding their brush in their own way, so I recommend that you pay attention and observe the way you’re working with your brushes, so that you can take advantage of your own work style. Such little details make painting much more enjoyable and faster.
I added little touches like the shadow under the diadem. They may seem to be only minor things in the overall picture, but I found they add a lot to the feel and completeness of the whole paintjob:
Sometimes I thought it would be better to break the surface into smaller ones somehow. And in fact sometimes I treated this idea quite literally. 😉
And this is what my palette looked like by the time I finished painting the head. Much richer than at the beginning, isn’t it? 😉
Now here is a photo of the finished head. This photo shows its colors, tints and hues much better than my humble WIP pictures:
How to paint Rasputina’s cloak: front
Here’s what I started the cloak with:
For the cloak I chose motifs that would look good in the composition, but also the ones that I liked more.
Sometimes shapes or edges of the sculpt suggest me where to place those motifs. A photo is always flat, so you may have difficult time noticing the reasons why I placed those details the way I did…
When I planned how to place the first three graphic elements, the surrounding space inspired me with its shape and shadows to arrange it this way, with the skull and female body:
And here’s another motif from Giger, arranged to follow the edge:
And the lower right part, below Rasputina’s feet, just begged to be painted with those… let’s call them “fishes” for political correctness’ sake:
When I covered all the surfaces with freehands, I considered the front of Rasputina’s cloak done:
How to paint Rasputina’s cloak: back
I got a bit distracted and forgot to catch the earlier stages of painting this element on my photos, so here’s the first shot of this part I managed to get:
There were two paintings from Giger that were my inspiration for this part of my paintjob:
This time I had to start with some larger shapes, so I started with a larger brush. A 1 from Raphael 8404 series:
I planned to place the skulls on raised parts of the surface and started painting the weaved pattern. The way I painted it will be easy to follow on the next few photos. Painting such plaiting could be explained in a few points:
[inset side=right]Painting plaiting could be explained in a few repeating points.[/inset]
sketching the lines,
separating them with the classic black line, creating a chaotic plaiting,
glazing over the whole surface,
adding more lines,
separating them with the classic black line, creating a chaotic plaiting again,
adding another layer of highlight on visually more raised lines to emphasize zenithal lighting of the model,
glazing over the whole surface again,
… and so on, until I ended up with what you saw on the photo above. See the whole process on the following photos. After this the surface was ready to paint a few skulls on it.
To add some color variation between the elements – the skulls and the background, I shaded the skulls with a slight addition of this color:
Although it is not a huge difference, it brings them a bit forward and sets them off from the background, as you can see on this photo:
Adding the fern
Now that the main model was painted I decided to tweak the base a bit, so I can also show you how I played with the fern:
Despite all my admiration of this pattern of bases, I must admit that the way those floral motifs are sculpted is not making painting any easier. I decided to cover them a bit, but to tie the real fern a bit more with the sculpted ones, I had to exaggerate a bit on the real thing, making it a bit grotesque:
[inset side=left]I used strong hair modelling gel to shape the fern[/inset]
As you can see I applied some glazing and then drybrushed highlights on it before applying the fern on the base. Later I only needed to tweak shading a bit, and adjust the shape of my fern.
I used strong hair modelling gel to shape the fern:
See how it added some detail and depth to the base?
Done! My model was ready.
Now you can see which bits from Giger’s paintings were my inspiration for which parts of my paintjob.
Here’s the finished paintjob. I think the question “how to paint Rasputina” has at least one answer now. Not the only one for sure…
But if you happen to have any more questions, feel free to ask them. I will try to answer and offer my help where I can.
I am really curious what you are going to do with your interpretations of this little miniature. Looking forward to seeing your versions!
[inset side=right]This special pack includes the tutorial enhanced with even larger photos.[/inset]
Although this is already the whole tutorial that I prepared for you, and I think the size of photos is completely sufficient for understanding the process and concepts behind my paintjob, we prepared some kind of a gift for some of you! Or actually a way of saying THANK YOU to those who offered donations that help us run the website.
This special pack includes the tutorial enhanced with even larger photos. They allow to see details that you might have difficult time spotting even in real life, including flaws, imperfections and often even individual brush strokes.
So if any of you decided to share a donation with us and let us know you are interested in the bonus, and we’ll make it available to you. This is our way of showing our gratitude for supporting us.
It’s been some time since Urbik described how to make candles for your miniatures. Still, after all this time the tutorial may still be interesting for many hobbyists, so we’re making it available again. Urbik wrote:
I thought that since I already registered here and have been browsing the forum for a few days, it would be nice to write something too. And because I have a lot of time, I decided to describe my own way of creating candles in scale of Warhammer Fantasy Battles miniatures, like the ones I presented during Polish edition of Golden Demon.
Note: If anybody had a similar idea and published it before me in the internet/paper/radio/poster/leaflet/TV/another medium, I would like to explain that this idea is my own and hasn’t been stolen from anyone. In case of any similarities, I am not responsible. 😉
OK, so you want to know how to make candles? Let’s get started!
What we need
wire or a piece of “something” of 1-1.5 mm diameter
thin string or thread (much thinner than the wire above)powyżej)
At the very beginning we have to decide about the size of our candles. After a few attempts I found that their standard height would range from 3 to 6 mm.
We divide the wire (or “something” else) into pieces of our chosen length. These bits will become the main (wax) parts of our candles. I used a chopped spear of an Empire soldier, something that I have a lot of, so I could use it with no regrets. 😉
We make a small greenstuff ball (proportional to the size of our candle) and press it to a chosen part of our model. We put a piece of wire into it and wait for the greenstuff to harden. Whe wire is to become our candle.
It looks more or less like this:
Now it’s time for the most important part in the whole process of candle creation. Sounded very serious, didn’t it? 😉
Because burning is the most important job of a candle, we should create a few drips of wax – just like we tend to see on real candles.
We’re going to use PVA glue for this purpose. We thin the glue down a bit with water (don’t overdo it!) so it has convenient thickness for us to work with. Then we use a toothpick (or some other little thing) to apply some glue onto the candle body, creating “spots” in several places of our choice. When the first application of glue is dry, we can add some more in the same places. Usually it’s enough, but if we want even more prominent drippings, we can add even more layers.
Now it’s time for proverbial icing on the cake. What would a candle be without a wick?
We make a wick from thread (which can be hardened with some superglue) or thin string. Then we glue it to the top of our candle with strong glue.
Painting! As we should know from our experience, candles can have very diverse colors. And I don’t really mean cheap candles in bad taste that you can buy at fairs, but different colors that can be spotted in various lighting conditions.
I tend to use two ways of painting my candles:
basecoat of Rotting Flesh (maybe slightly darkened with a little black or Catachan Green)
highlight up to white
basecoat of Bleached Bone (also darkened – for example with light brown)
highlight up to white or to Bleached Bone (if the basecoat was darker than that)
This time I decided to use the first method, which is the best imitation of wax in my opinion. I recommend using naturally smooth transition of colors, without rapid changes or radical contrasts. The results may look like this:
That’s it. As you can see the technique I use to create candles for my miniatures is not that complex and one doesn’t need to prepare more greenstuff and then remove excess with scalpels. How precise your approach is going to be depends only on you.
Such candles look great on religious-themed models – like flagellants, war priests or inquisitors.
It’s a pretty original method of making the model look more unique and interesting, and many Games Workshop models don’t include candles at all. Well, there are some exceptions, but they only prove the general rule 😉
I hope you find this tutorial useful and now you know how to make candles for your miniatures.
We keep receiving questions how some of your favorite works were created or about some aspects of their creation – like NMM gold recipes. Recently painted Black Templars terminators from Irkuck and Benathai caused another wave of such questions.
To respond to popular interest, we asked both authors of these miniatures how to paint NMM gold the way they do. They answered and here are the recipes they shared:
Benathai’s NMM gold recipe
Basecoat: P3 Bloodtracked Brown (or Citadel Bestial Brown)
Highlight #1: basecoat mixed 1:1 with Sunburst Yellow
Highlight #2: Sunburst Yellow + a little white
Shadow: Devlan Mud or Black Wash
Glaze: Yellow Glaze (or P3 Yellow Ink)
Finishing touches: final white highlights
Irkuck’s NMM gold recipe
Wash of Badab Black
Wash of Gryphonne Sepia
Now here is the finished unit – some miniatures were painted by Benathai and some by Irkuck. Do you think they blend together well enough to make a coherent unit?
If you would like to know more, feel free to let us know or ask your questions in the comments section.