Julie Guthrie mage face detail

The Solis Media
Guide to painting miniature figures

FACE OFF

 
     
  The Idea  

 

Painting faces on small miniatures is a difficult task. You are at the mercy of the designers and mould makers. If there is insufficient detail, flashing or simply poor features, then you have your work cut out for you!

 
  Some Examples  
Julie Guthrie mage face detail The mage has probably my favourite face on a 25mm figure. Its sculpted by the fantastic Julie Guthrie. The figure detail is great to start with, and the face looks good on the figure. I started with my favourite dark undercoat, and then built up layers in contours mixing tans, pinks, yellows and whites into the mix until the top highlights were reached. The eyesare off white with dark vertical slits, and a blue spot added. If you try to paint round pupils, the figures look pretty surprised! Ive left darker lines to accentuate the features, which looks great here.  
Of course, you dont have to stick to normal colours. Everyone knows Orkie Boys wouldnt look the same without a bit of luminosity glowing from under that old iron helm.... If you want to get bright BRIGHT BRIGHT colours like this, try using a white undercoat and laying down coloured inks. I did that here, with very bright green and yellow paint over a white base. I gradually built up the contours with the paint and added an apple green ink over each layer, whilst not quite dry (experiment with this, its cool when done well, naff if things go wrong....). More ink for the recesses, and white tusks added WHEN THE INK IS DRY!  

This face on this figure has been treated differently again, with careful shading to the cheeks and lips. She is a 'Beast Mistress' from Grenadier. It lends itself to shading because the face is smooth and easy to get at with the brush. I start as always with the dark matt, but thinner than usual here. Next soem off white eye detail, then on with the face. I mixed a very matt tan with white Citadels flesh colour acrylic (its quite a pale shade), to get a creamy paint. This was applied and shaded on-figure with more tan, a touch of pink water colour paint, and some sepia ink. (I find this keeps the mix fluid which we need to be able to shade properly). When dry, I added a pale green eye shadow (you girls! Cant go anywhere without your face, can you!) and red lipstick. I also upped the rouge on the cheeks with some red gauche (like watercolour but more opaque) but I think I overdid it.

 

J G Elven Ranger

Now, they dont always go to plan.... This Elf face if sculpted to perfection. The look of disdain is just right for a Tolkien Elf looking down on a mere man.... But the face needs to be soft and gentle, with delicate shading. Well, the paint mix dried a bit quick and went grainy. This kind of thing happens with a duff batch of paint, old paint or when you mix incompatible potions, er, I mean paints. Rather than start again, I carried on. Not what I wanted, but not bad never the less.

 
 

Ere! don't you go fergettin' me now, will ya! Take yer 'ed off, I will, if yer fergets me!

 

 
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