Julie Guthrie mage face detail

The Solis Media
Guide to painting miniature figures


  The Idea  



This is an easy technique to begin with, and can give great results when mastered. Quite simply, you aim to deposit paint on the raised surfaces of your figure by dragging a brush gently across the surface. The brush has been dipped in paint and then 'dried off' on kitchen paper leaving only a small amount of paint on the brush. Be selective when using this technique. Its great for stone effects, gnarled wood, swarthy ogre skin and for the masterfully sculpted diorames you make!

  How To Proceed  

Start with a dark undercoat, in a shade that will work well with your main colours. Allow this to dry fully before continuing. Dip a medium sized brush in a mid to dark tone and wipe it off on kitchen roll, sponge or something similar (I end up using the back of my hand). At this point, the brush doesnt need to be too dry, we still want quite a good coverage. Gently pull the brush across the figure where the paint will stich to the raised areas. Apply more or less pressure, and stroke faster or slower to achieve the desired effect. You are aiming to draw the raised areas out of the shadow. You dont have to wait for the paint to dry before the next pass, but be aware the dryness of the previous layer will effect the next. Using a lighter tone, repeat the process until you get a good effect. Aim of three to four layers, with the fourth being a real light highlight. As you build the layers up, make sure the brush becomes drier before using it or you risk colour bleeding from or washing into darker areas. Of course, you can use this to your advantage too!

Drybrushing is great for chain mail armour. A base of dark brown with a drybrush of mid grey, followed by a mix of good quality silver and black or grey works wonders. Add specular highlights of pure silver or gold to make them glint.

You can experiment with old figures too. Use a big old brush with mid brown or grey and brush very fast with a very dry brush over a base coat of brown/black to get a really fine covering that looks like stone. Add some greens and yellows to give a covering of moss or lichen to the 'damp' areas and then finally drybrush with pale brown for the highlights. And there we have an instant statue!


2000 Solis Media    
faces | flesh tones | gallery page | shields and banners | HIGH IMPACT
15mm examples | Preparation | Dry brushing | Shading | Contouring
Ink Washes | armour | fur and feather | Flags and Banners
trees and rocks | scales, fangs and all things nasty | Varnishing | Clothing and leatherwork