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Wamp - Arwen - How to paint a Golden Demon finalist - step by step
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  • Arwen - Painting a Golden Demon Finalist - Step By Step


    Arwen is a model I painted this year and entered into GD Germany and UK. She got a finalist in both competitions. In this step by step tutorial Iíll cover everything from prep, basing and painting of both the model and base. Iím always happy to answer questions, so feel free to drop me a line/catch me at a show (if you donít know me as Chameleon some of you may know me as Sue Rigby/Griffin).

    First off, apologies for the background/workspace and the flitting between things on the mini. My life is fairly untidy and I tend to paint that way. Unfortunately, Iím not a painter that tends to go from A-B-C-D, which is why this is the first time Iíve attempted a SBS. The way that I now paint is heavily influenced by my attendance at a 1 week workshop with JBT Ė I hope youíll bear with me, as this messy style and flitting from one part to another is something that really improved my painting and I think it can be a real strongpoint as it allows you to balance the paintjob between areas.

    Secondly, I use a wet palette Ė I find this really helps my free flowing style of painting. Itís not a posh one, itís just made from blister pack sponge and grease proof paper.

    I also use a lot of colour theory in my painting, which I will explain as I go along Ė every colour has a reason for being there as they allow me to get as many forms of contrast possible into a mini.

    Part I: Prepping the miniature.

    Generally for metal miniatures, I use metal files to get remove mould lines, and a scalpel blade to remove any mould lines that are harder to reach. I often come across difficult mould lines, but as a general rule Iíd rather damage an area and then re-sculpt it then leave a mould line that Iíll regret later on. I also always remove the tab before I do anything else and then drill some holes in the feet to add pins.

    Once Iíve removed the tab and mould lines, Iíll then take my dremel tool with a brass wire brush head (Iíve actually got a RotaCraft, which is basically the same but cheaper) and I give the mini a good burnish to make it come up nice and shiny Ė it helps to smooth out the surface for the next steps. Here you can see what she looks like after polishing (youíll notice the base in the background Ė Iíll come onto that in the next part). Youíll hopefully see Iíve had to add some milliput to her left breast as the cast was poor, and I also had to re-sculpt her right boot due to damaging it when taking off a stupid leaf/bush thing that is sculpted between her legs.

    Part II Ė creating the base

    To create the base I used sculptiboard, milliput, Instant mold, a root from the garden and a necklace from a M&Co (a girlís uk clothes shop).

    I start by making a mold of the necklace using Instant mold (you just heat it in some water, and when it cools it sets). Make sure you use a bit of cling-film if your work surface is covered in rubbish as mine is! Next, mix up some milliput and press into the mold. Place something heavy on top to stop any air bubbles forming whilst you wait for it to cure Ė I use my water pot.

    The outcome should look something like this:

    I then needed to do some cutting/chopping to create the base I was aiming for. Apart from the top step being made out of pressed milliput, the rest of the base was constructed using sculptiboard. Pieces were then glued together to get the rough shape you see below. At this point the back of the base is not flat, but I find it easier to put it all together and then saw the back off Ė that way you donít have to worry about making all of the bits exactly the right size before glueing them together.

    To make the sides of the Ďwalkwayí slightly more ornate, I take some brass etch design (from scalelink) and glue it to the sides of the walkway.

    At this point I saw the back of the base to make it nice and straight and then add a bit of plasticard to the back to give a nice finish. For some reason I don't have picks of this - look at the pics at the end of the article to see what I mean regarding the finish.

    The next step is to add some height and interest to the base Ė at the moment itís a bit flat, straight and one dimensional. So, after my husband had finished some gardening I stole some roots from the garden waste! A bit of clipping later, and Iíve got a relatively realistic tree to add to my base. At this point itís useful to include your mini on the base to see how itís going to look when itís finished. The next step is to add some foliage to the edges, a bit of grit and some brass-etch leaves, and then itís job done!

    Right, thatís the base and the mini prep sorted!
    At this point I prime the mini with white and the base with black (both from GW). I then paint both together. The idea behind this is to allow you to use the same colours on both the mini and the base (to tie the two in together), but having one on a white and one on a black base means that the colours on the mini are lighter and it keeps the focus on the mini and not on the base.

    Part III Ė slop it on!

    Ok, so now weíve got a primed mini and base, weíll look at painting the mini. Painting minis should be fun and sometime painting tiny details and being so careful not to go over other areas can take a bit of the fun out of it and give me a bit of neck strain! This is a technique I learnt from JBT in a workshop in France. The basic principle of this is to work out the balance/colours that you will use on your mini. I generally add a blob of every colour I think I might want to use onto my wet palette and then the fun begins! I hold the mini at armís length and start slopping the paint on with the biggest brush I own (size 3 R&C series 33). I make sure the paint is mixed with plenty of water so itís relatively thin. Here she is before and after slopping (and a pic of my palette so you can see how thick the paint is):

    These are the colours Iíve used for each area:

    Dress: Vile Green Ė itís a v.old GW colour. If you donít have this you can make it by mixing Goblin Green with some Menoth White Base (P3), or bleached bone would probably work if you donít have any P3s. I tend to put more coats of this where the shadows are and keep it thinner where the highlights are to help with Ďpre-shadingí.
    Face: Reaperís ĎFair skiní mixed with a little vile green.
    Sleeves of the underdress: Menoth white base with a little vile green.
    Shoes and sword hilt: English Uniform Brown (VMC)
    Sword: Choas black Ė this is just a Ďplaceholderí. The basic idea is to keep it a dark colour and not to distract from the figure.
    Hair: Scorched brown.

    I wonít show all of the pics, but as I paint the mini, I keep adding the same colours that I use to the base to build up the general Ďatmosphereí of the mini. When you're adding the colours bear in mind the overall colour you want it to be - I don't want it to be bright green, so I just add small amounts of green, but lots of the skin/brown colours. It doesnít need to be neat, just slopped on as shown below:

    At this point Iím going to take a small detour into some theory regarding creating a focal point, to explain why Iíve used the colours where Iíve used them. Please feel free to skip this if youíre not interested but it may come in useful to some!

    There are numerous ways to create focal points. A good, introductory (artistís) explanation can be found here:http://thevirtualinstructor.com/how-to-create-focal-points.html

    The main method I use is contrast. The main focal point that I want is the face. To achieve this, I try to include contrast of both hue and tone around the face. If youíre new to colour theory, thereís a brilliant and simple explanation of what hues and tones/values are here (be sure to read through all 8 pages Ė itíll explain a whole new world to you!):

    So, first off Ė tone. You can create contrast by having colours with a very light tone next to colours of a very dark tone. Sometimes, the easiest way to look at this is to make a black and white version of the photo. In this case, the face is the lightest part of the mini and focus is gained by making the hair the darkest part of the mini. The rest of the mini should be effectively Ďgreyí/non-descript Ė not too light, not too dark. Iíve got this by having a mid-green colour for the dress.

    If, for example, you decided to use colours such as blue and red next to each other Ė whilst this is great in terms of colour contrast, if you turn the picture to black and white you will see that the tone is actually very similar and so doesnít add any tonal contrast. There are a million and one examples of how to create a focal point using tone, but hereís one I pulled out using some google-fu Ė hopefully you can see what Iím getting at!

    Secondly Ė colour/hue/temperature: you can also create contrast by using contrasting colours. If you cut a colour wheel in half you can separate the colours into hot and cold. Red- yellow = hot, and Green- purple =cold. Therefore, to add some contrast of temperature, I make sure the skin contains some green (ie. cold) and the hair contains some red (ie. hot. Scorched brown is a very red brown Ė you can tell because if you add white it goes pink!).

    Part IV Ė painting the dress

    The first step in painting the green dress is to add the shading. For this I use watered down scaly green Ė an amazing colour that I was sad to see discontinued by GW L. I literally, just continually glaze scaly green into the shadows. You can see where you should be after about 5 rounds of shading:

    Scaly green is great dark green colour, but to really add some more depth, I then add scab red to the scaly green. This adds contrast in 2 ways:

    1) By altering temperature as I discussed above Ė cold midtone, and warm shadow and so I get a contrast of hot/cold colours.
    2) By helping me to add saturation contrast. I intend to highlight the dress using white, so it's important not to use black in the shading. For those who are new to the idea of saturation - saturated colours are 'pure' colours (like on a colour wheel). You can desaturate a colour by adding white, grey or black. So in order to have a contrast of saturation you want to have a desaturated highlight and a saturated shadow (or vice versa). So, when I make the shadow it's important for me to try and keep the colours relatively 'pure' ie. not add black/grey to them to try and keep them as saturated as possible.

    Next, I add some highlights. Again these are very thin. I start off with some menoth white (P3) to highlight and then to go pure skull white on this highlights. At all times I tried to work with the principles of zenithal lighting Ė ie. the lightsource is from directly above the mini.

    At this point I stop in the dress. It'll probably need some more highlighting/shading/tidying but I will come back to it later to balance it with the rest of the mini, but for the minute itís good enough now to allow me to move onto the next section Ė the face.

    Part V Ė Painting the face.

    First off, sorry for the pics Ė she has a very small face and itís very difficult to get pictures in focus.

    Generally speaking, I go by the sentiment Ďred is lifeí. By which I mean if you want to paint a nice vibrant face, it should have red in it. If you want to paint an undead zombie, steer well clear of red because the red will make it look too Ďaliveí. With that in mind, the colour Iíve used to start shading the face is GW Tanned flesh.

    At all times, I use the principles of zenithal lighting and keep the tops of the cheeks, the nose and the top of her forehead lighter than the rest of the face.

    I then add some GW Elf Flesh to help the blend between the basecoat and the Tanned flesh. I add black to the eyes at this point Ė I find this helps me get a better look at what the face will turn out Ė having the eyes bright white is a bit freaky!

    The next shade is using Reaper Tanned Shadow. I then start to highlight using Reaper Fair Skin, then highlight some more using Reaper Fair Highlight.

    At this point Iím happy with the general lighting of the face, but the colour is still not quite rich/warm enough yet and Iíve lost a bit of the shading whilst doing the highlighting, so I go to Reaperís Golden skin and add this in glazes to the midtones to try and change the tone of the face slightly.

    I then do a 1:1 mix of Golden Skin:Tanned flesh and shade some more. In this picture youíll also see Iíve added the lip colour, using this mix, with a small highlight on the lower lip using a mix of Golden Skin, Tanned Flesh and skull white. I also added some eye shadow using some thinned down Scaly Green. Now weíre really getting somewhere!

    I add another shade using Tanned Flesh to really deepen the colour of the cheeks.

    Lastly, I add some pure white to highlight just the top of the forehead, tip of the nose and the parts of the cheeks under the eye.


    Thatís it Ė weíre done! Now we just need to follow a similar process for the rest of the skin, although it doesn't need to be exactly the same process Ė as long as it looks close enough itís fine!

    Part VI- balancing

    Now that the face is painted, I realise that the dress needs some more highlighting to match with the level on contrast I have on the face. To this end I add some more very dilute skull white to the dress highlights and really highlight the underneath of the folds/areas that catch the light. The key to this is only adding this white into very small areas Ė thereís always a temptation to beautifully blend from dark to light right across the area. However, contrast is gained by having very dark section right next to very light section Ė that sharp change helps add the contrast.

    So after some tweaking this is how the dress now looks:

    Part VII- finishing the rest of the mini

    Firstly, I paint the trousers under the dress. This is a fairly simple mix of 1:1 scaly green to hawk turquoise (GW). This is then shaded with some scab red (GW) mixed into this base at ~1:1 ratio (it should almost look black).

    So, next up is the cuffs/stitching. I decide to go for a nice pastel yellow colour for this. As yellow is right next to green in the colourwheel, itís a nice colour to use in a green colourscheme. However, in order to not overpower a mini and alter the focus, if you add one of these colours into a central area, I generally find itís best to keep it very desaturated so it doesnít pull your focus away.

    I first basecolour with P3ís Menoth white base (a nice desaturated yellow colour). I then shade by mixing in a roughly 1:1 ratio black:Liche purple (GW) and add that to Meneth white base at ~ 1:5 ratio of purple/black to the Menoth white base. You will find that you end up with a kinda grey colour.

    I use purple in this mix because it is opposite yellow in the colour wheel Ė this gives you a complimentary colour contrast. Lastly, I highlight by painting up to pure skull white.

    Next up is the boots. I decide I donít like the brown boots and think Iíll go for more of a dark leather look. With the exception of areas where I want to add focus, I try to include the same colour in every area of a mini Ė it helps to add a nice harmony of colour. Itís not always possible, depending on the colour, but I try to include it where it is possible.

    I paint these by taking Vile Green (the same colour as the dress base colour) and mixing in a 1:1 ratio with black. I then successively add more black to the mix to shade until I get to pretty much pure black. Lastly, I highlight the base mix (1:1 black:vile green) by successively adding Fair skin (Reaper) Ė the same colour as I used in the flesh.

    Now weíre getting there! Next up is the hair. The hair is shaded with scorched brown mixed with regal blue (GW) and scab red. Itís a roughly 1:1:1 mix, but should be fairly dark. I then add some black to this for the parts where it needs to be really dark. The hair is then highlighted with Golden Flesh (Reaper).

    The blue is used to help add contrast Ė the final highlight will be a bronzed orangy colour Ė blue is the complimentary colour to orange so adding blue to the shading helps to add contrast of both temperature and colour. Red is in the shading because I want the face/head to be a natural focal point, and adding red helps it to contrast with the all of the green (same principle Ė red is the complimentary colour to green and so adds contrast of colour and temperature).

    Lastly we have the sword. I have used normal metals, however, the principles of NMM still apply even when using real metallics. I try to apply the highlights in the same position as I would if I was painting NMM. The other thing to remember is that one of the forms of contrast is shine/matt, so it works well if your highlight is shiny and the shading is very matt.

    So I first started with a basecoat of Boltgun metal (GW), highlighted with Chainmail (GW) then Methril Silver (GW) and finally with platinum (VMC). I shaded with a simple mix of scaly green and black and then pure black in the recesses.

    Part VIII- Freehand

    I wanted to add a small bit of freehand onto the mini, just on the outside of her sleeves. I start by sketching the outline with a bit of bubonic brown (GW) mixed with some Vile green and some menoth white base (around 2:1:2). The green is there to help it blend into the dress.

    I then define the outside of the freehand with some scaly green and go back and forth until Iíve got a nice tidy pattern. Then I highlight the top of the pattern with some diluted pure menoth white base.

    Part IX Ė finishing off the base

    So, if youíve been slapping some paint onto the base as you go along - and adding the bulk of the skin/brown colours as sugggested, then it should have turned a horrid brown colour. Iíve added lighter colours to the areas that have got light and the darker colours from the mini to the shadowy bits. It should look something like this:

    I then highlight by drybrushing with pure skull white. I like to drybrush stone work on bases Ė it helps to add a bit of texture.

    I then add back some shading using the GW washes. I use Agrax Earthshade, badab black and greyphonne sepia washes. Each of them are diluted and added to the base Ė I try to concentrate some of the deeper shadows where the mini is going to sit to help add a shadow/focus to the mini. I also add some touches of vile green onto the floor to help tie it in with the mini and highlight the tree some more to make it a bit lighter.

    I then add some finishing touches of adding some more grey to the highlight and adding some red to the green leaves/grass and blacking out the bottom of the base.

    Part X - The finished article!

    Finally the mini and the base are reunited!

    Here are the final pictures.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. kenan's Avatar
      kenan -
      excellent Step By Step.
      Thanks for sharing