How To Paint Miniatures

From a Class by Mistress Amber Sturmwulf

  1. Outline your miniature lightly in pencil
  2. Decide what colors you want where.
  3. Divide picture into parts, i.e. background and figures or background, middle ground, and figures.
  4. Start with background scenery that is farthest away, i.e. sky, then horizon (trees, bushes, houses), then forefront land.
  5. Treat and human/animal figures last, after background is complete.

Mixing and Applying Colour - 3 pot + 2 rule.

RULE: always apply a base coat!

Pot 1

  1. Your base coat should be a middle shade; for example, we'll use the color blue. Take a color (ex. blue) and mix with white. Add one drop gum arabic and mix to the consistency of light cream. This should give you a medium shade of blue.
  2. Most middle tones can be made by mixing a color + white. Exceptions are orange and green. Mix these with yellow and maybe a touch of white.

Pot 2

  1. Make your lighter shade by taking a quantity of your base color (medium blue) and adding more white. Again, adjust consistency to that of a light cream.

Pot 3

  1. Make your darker shade by taking a quantity of your base color (medium blue) and adding more pure color.


  1. Highlights and edgings - Take white and add a touch of light blue (Pot 2) and take pure blue and add a touch of dark blue (Pot 3)

Applying Color

  1. Apply base coat (Pot 1) fairly thick, smooth, and even. allow to dry.
  2. Take your darker color (Pot 3) and shade areas you wish darker. Then take a clean, slightly damp brush and gently blend edges together. A medieval style would be to shade in short, small strokes, applying layer upon layer to achieve gradient shading.
  3. Take your light color (Pot 2) and repeat for areas you wish lighter.
  4. Highlight and define edges where needed (+2). Leave tiny details until last - grass, flowers, branches, fruit, stars, etc.
  5. Repeat 1 through 4 for all background colors.

Applying Pure Color

When the need arises to apply a pure color, example the purple on the Kingdom arms or the green on the Laurel badge, mix a base shade as you did for Pot 1. Lag on color smoothly and allow to dry thoroughly. Take your pure color, add just a touch of your medium shade to it, one drop of gum arabic (it should be slightly transparent) and apply over base with fast, even, slightly overlapping strokes.

Details Make the Painting

Things to do to make a good miniature better:
    Things to do to make a good miniature better:
  1. Diaper or checkerboard the floor or background.
  2. Add trim and patterns to clothing.
  3. Add brooches and necklaces.
  4. Use background details, e.g. grass, fruit (apples), and rocks.
  5. Most rooms had cloth dividers or backdrops. Pattern them with lines or gold dots, or even repeating
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