How to Paint Miniatures

So I took the plunge and learned to paint miniatures. I had painted a miniature at Dreamation convention a few months ago. That got me excited. So I bought the Reaper Core Skills paint kit. It came with three miniature so I can learn and practice. I chose the skeleton archer because it looked the easiest and it won't be so bad if I mess up.

The set comes with two small brushes. One that is flat and one that is round for detailing. Now this set comes with paints that are water soluble. You need to have a container filled with water. A plastic palette to put paint on and mix. I used a flat plastic cover from a food container you get at Korean take out. Some paper towel for drying and cleaning the brushes. I am middle age so I need my trusty reading glasses because I am looking up close to them. My vision is still good for all other things.

I also used a Citadel Painting handle to hold the miniature on so it is easier to paint. I placed my skeleton miniature on the handle. It clamps on the base to hold firmly. Now we are ready to begin.

Step One: Base Coat

First thing first is the base coat. The paint bottles are squeeze bottles which can squeeze a drop of paint at a time. For the skeleton body, I used a Desert sand color. I painted on a layer of paint all over the bones. I tried to make it as smooth as possible without seeing any brush strokes. I used the flat brush for most of it. If you missed spots or if it is too thin in areas, don't repaint it. Let it dry. I am impatient so I used a blow dryer on the base coat to dry it. 

After it is dry, paint over the bones again with the same color. Keep an eye for spots you missed or that are too thin. This is the layer to fix all that. Once you're done, let it dry for several minutes. Use the blow dryer too.

Step Two: Wash

Now is the wash. Wash is for darkening areas of shadow and bringing out the details. You need to first mix one drop of a darker color (I used Mountain Stone) and 3-5 drops of water. Mix it all together to make it very watery and translucent. Paint on a newspaper, if you can't read the type underneath the paint, it is too opaque. Add drop of water until you can read the type. The wash should be subtle. In the image, you can see the area under the rib cage as well as the crevasses between the bones are darker. Let the water paint pool in these areas. Paint the textures and grooves of the miniature for the wash.

Step Three: Drybrush base color

The wash brought out more details of the miniature but also darkened the skeleton's body over all. So you want to lighten it up with the base color. Drybrushing means your brush is dry. So I dipped my flat brush into the Desert Sand paint, but then I wiped off the paint on a dry paper towel. Then I lightly dry brush the skeleton body. The paint barely goes on as you want subtlety. Drybrushing is quick short strokes like you're dusting the paint on. 

Step Four: Drybrush highlight color

After that, I wanted to do highlights with dry brushing. So I used Dragon white and dabbed the paintbrush on the paint. Then wiped some off on a dry paper towel. Then I went over the areas like the top of the skull and the face as well as top of the arms and legs so it looks like the sun is shining on the skeleton from the front.

Finishing the Skeleton

Now I do the same four steps for the ground, the bow, quiver, arrows, and belt.

After doing the rest, I added another wash with black for the eye sockets and teeth. I had enough to accentuate the crevasses in the rib cage and the leg and arm bones. And I am done. This is an involved hobby. I think I took over an hour just for this guy. Of course, I was learning and then there was the drying times.


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