Tutorials / Techniques


Painting techniques:

I always paint my miniatures from the inner to the outer parts. That means, that I paint the areas which lie under other areas first. First the things under the skin like eyes, wounds etc.. than the skin, clothing, decoration, equipment and so on.

I work with very diluted paints. You have to paint lots of layers before you can see a result. But it is worth the hard work because of the many layers the transitions between the colors are much nicer and not so hard. The layer beneath the last has to shine through the new layer. It is very hard to find the right consistency of the paint, it is a question of the right feeling and experience.

I will try to describe the right consistencys:

- if you dry brush, the paint shall not be too thin. In this case the paint will not stick to the brush when you dry it on a towel and you will not see any results on the miniature. But it is not OK either if the paint is to dry because than it will stick to much to the miniature and you will see the brush strokes too clearly. In this case you have to add more water and try it again.

- if you use a glaze there is nearly no paint in the water. Just begin with a brush tip of paint and a drop of water (you can also use the Retarder-Matt Medium-Mix), add more water if the mixture is to thick. The palette has to shine through the mix. Use only a bit of paint (the brush shall only be a little damp not wet), the paint shall not flow into the crevices but shall only cover the highlights.

- if you put the base coat onto the miniature, the paint has to be thick enough to cover the surface and shall not be mixed with the Retarder-Matt Medium-Mix because it makes the paint translucent and in this case this is not what we want. The paint has to be the consistency of buttermilk, it's all the same if you use white or any other color to base code an area of your miniature. If the layer is not thick enough just add another thin layer.

- if you wash an area of your miniature, the paint must be not so thin as if you want to make a glaze. It has to be very thin also but it must be so thick, that it will not flow uncontrolled over your miniature. I never let the paint just flow over the mini, I paint all the shadows. That has the merit, that you can better control where you want to place the shadows. If you blur the edges of the layer you painted the transitions will be a lot smoother than just by letting the paint flow and dry in the places "it" chooses. :)

Each color is painted in the same style:

I begin with a color somewhere in the middle of what I want. This color is painted in 2 or 3 thin layers until it covers the surface smooth and even. Now I can start with the shadows.
In 2 or 3 steps I mix a little bit more black (if the base color was blue, green or grey etc.) or a dark brown (if the base color was ivory, brown, red or yellow etc.) into the color to paint the shadows. With each step the painted space gets a little bit smaller and is nearer to the edges or deepest parts of the painted area to make them darker.
I mix white into the base color for the highlights (if the base color was blue or grey etc.) or yellow (if the base color was red or green etc.) and paint each layer a littler bit smaller towards the highest points of the painted area until only a small nearly white stroke is set as a last bright spot.
If you think, that the transitions are not smooth enough yust put a glaze over these parts and add another highlight.
For the so called NMM-technique (Non Metallic Metal) you can use this techniques as well, you just have to choose where to place the highlights to give your piece of work the look of reflecting metal.
To make the transitions smoother you can apply a thin layer of paint and than blur the edges of these layer with the tip of your brush. This is a little bit easier if you use the Retarder because the paint will not dry too fast.
The very thin layers of paint and the blurring of the edges are my only little tricks! The rest is practice and stamina! ;)

Oh one last little trick: if you think the highlights are OK, than add another one and the result will look even more impressive! ;)



If gaps emerge during the pinning and gluing, you can fill them with Green-Stuff and prepare the surface of it in a way that you canít see them any more.
You can entirely glue a miniature with Green-Stuff and use the mass that ooze out to remodel the gaps. Or you can glue them together with superglue gel or similar stuff and remodel the gaps after the glue dried. Put a bit of Green-Stuff onto the gap and push the mass into it, than remodel the surface as you wish.
I use a modelling tool from Games Workshop or dentist tools to form the modelling mass.
Just take care to use two equal parts of the Green-Stuff and mix them very well. No hints of blue or yellow must be left. The mass is very sticky, so dip your tools and fingers in water before touching it, because you will stick to it otherwise and it will never stay in the places you want it to be. ;)


How to take care of your brushes:

Many people ask my, why their brushes donít last very long. The tip of the brush splits or bends and a little hook appears. I am a brush torturer myself. But I think that I can give you a few hints:

Synthetic brushes will bend faster than red-sable brushes. They are harder then the red sables, which makes them very good for brushing miniatures, and I use them to basecoat my minis. I use the red sable brushes for everything else.
They last very long if you take care of them, the tip is very sharp and you can use them very good to paint very thin lines. They are wonderful for the ďblack-liningĒ because they follow the outlines of areas and adjust themselves to the edges.

My favourite brush is the Maestro Ė Tobolski ĖKolinski made by DaVinci. It has very long bristles which can hold lots of paint, a long curved shaft and it holds its sharp tip for a long time. I use mostly 0/2 or 0 sized brushes. The smaller ones dry too fast because of the small paint volume that they can keep. The price is O.K. it is not the cheapest (because these will loose there bristles on places you donít want to have them) and not the most expensive ones (I donít know if you need a Windsor & Newton Series 7 brush). The DaVincis cost around 4,50-6,00 Euros. One brush can last 3 or 4 miniatures.

Your brushes will be very thankful if you dip them into water before you use the paint and after painting a while, even if you use always the same colour. Otherwise the paint will dry on the brush and can never be removed and your brush will get thicker and thicker if you donít wash the paint off, and you canít paint small lines any more. Beside this I rotate the tip of the brush, after a little brake (for example if you clean the brush). Rotate it a little bit, than continue painting. After a while you will do it without thinking about it, but the tip of your brush will thank you for this little help!

If you put the brush down, to open a new paint, to make a break or something like that, put it onto a piece of foam, the brush canít roll away and the tip is safe from bending on the glass of painting water or the paint pods.

If you dipped the brush too deep into the paint and the paint touches the end of the bristles near the spot where they meet the metal you have to remove it immediately. If the paint dries on this place the tip will split and you can say farewell to a wonderful brush.

After finishing a painting session you can thank your main tool with a warm water washing with a re-fattened soap. After the cleaning you can form the brush tip with your lips. The salvia glues the bristles together and the tip will stay sharp after drying.


How to take care of your paints:

The Duncan paints I use are delivered in 59 ml bottles with a very tiny opening. Because of this they do not dry in the bottles like other paints. My paints are partially 5 or 6 years old and you do not see it.
It is very important to close the lids of the bottles after you removed the colour you need!!
I think that everyone of you knows already, that you have to shake the paints very well before using?! ;)
If your paints get a little bit too thick you can rescue them with a little bit of distilled water, just donít wait until they dry completely! Put one drop after the other into the bottle and shake the paint well, if the consistency is still too thick, repeat it.
In addition keep in mind, that you shall never dip the dirty brush into the paint bottle, if you do it too often you do not have a nice pure colour but a muddy mixed one!


How to mix paints:

I am a rooter of this technique. You do not need many paints to get started because you can mix the missing colours by yourself.

What you really should acquire is a palette. It doesnít matter if it is made of plastic, ceramics, metal or aluminium foil and cardboard like mine. The main point is, that you have enough space to mix the colours well.

The good thing is, that you can mix nearly every colour you want yourself, you do not need much knowledge about chromatics. You can try it out or you can use a colour wheel. It shows you how the primary colours mix with their neighbours (red + yellow = orange; yellow + blue = green; blue + red = lilac and so on).

The bad thing is, that you have no names of the colours to compare your work with other painters. If someone tells you that: ďthis cloak is painted with Blood RedĒ , most people know the colour. If you mix your paints you do not have so much references. In my opinion that is not too bad, because you can describe the colour or show the people the paint-bottles with the mixed colours. Than they will know what you mean!

I want to tell you a few words about the brightening and shading of the colours. I would say that you can brighten and shade the cold colours with white and black (for example blue, green and grey). Warm colours like red, yellow, brown, green and so on can be changed with brown and yellow. It depends on what effect you will achieve, but I think that this is a good hint to start with.



I have not much experience with varnish, because I paint only showcase miniatures which are not touched after the painting. A few years ago I used Marabu spray varnish, which was very good. I would use a gloss varnish for the durability followed by a matt one for a better look.
But I think that you will find many more and better hints at the internet about this topic! :)



Tutorials / Techniques