How to paint dwarf miniature
Table of Contents
Introduction from Anamnesis Studio
Disclaimer before we dive in, I’m trying to explain as best as I can using “known” technics but not explaining them in detail. So if you don’t know some of them, a quick search on the internet should give you a few explanations or videos on the subject, this is to keep this tutorial shorter than a novella! If you have more questions or something in particular you want to discuss, feel free to reach me on social media.
1- How to paint dwarf miniature: Skin
For the skin, I will paint it like any other surface, using my preshading and focusing on highlighting the upper part which should receive more light. Remember to pull your brush from the darkest point to the most highlighted one, also don’t put too much paint on it, you want it to apply evenly and not run everywhere when you paint.
I apply a coat of PA Shadow Flesh to the whole flesh in two coats.
(2) I apply a wash of S75 African Shadow (this is just African Shadow diluted with water). You don’t need to have an even layer, but you just want to tint the base and have it run in the recesses for shading; try to avoid big pooling in the recesses, though.
Time to highlight the skin with diluted PA Shadow Flesh, this should give you a nice transition between your previous step. Remember to pull your brush toward the top of the muscle to leave the recesses shaded, this should be the main tone of the skin. Gotrek doesn’t use suncream (!), so I want his skin to have a dark tone- akin to sunburnt, but not quite.
Always going from dark to light, I continue highlighting using PA Tan Flesh diluted (dilution depends on the brand, the point is to avoid having a lumpy finish on the mini!)
(3) Using PA Tan Flesh with a bit of PA Ivory I highlight only the top part of the muscle. This should give you a strong contrast between the top of the muscle being very light, and the dark base of the adjacent muscle.
To give some variation to the skin, I glaze PA Dark Blue under the armpit and around the nose.
I push the highlight on the face using more Ivory. The face is one of the focal points and you want to push the contrast to make it stand out. For the hand, I highlight lines on the joint to give the illusion of wrinkles.
I want to emphasize Gotrek’s hand, for this I use diluted PA Transparent Red and glaze the knuckle and the first joints of the hand.
(4) Working on the face, I glaze PA Transparent Red over the nose, same around his dead eye and the wound. I mark the wound with pure Transparent Red to give it a fresh wound feel in the cut and where the eye is supposed to be.
I painted Gotrek’s right eye with diluted black.
Paint the eyeball with PA Bright Warm Grey but leave a black rim around it.
(5) Paint the pupil with black, you don’t need the smallest brush possible for this, but you do need a good point. To give you an idea I’m using a size 2 brush. I also painted the eyelid with diluted Dark Blue highlighted with a tiny of Tan Flesh and Ivory I had on the palette.
To give life to the eye, paint a reflection with a white dot on the pupil; take your time, this can be annoying but if you mess it up, you can redo the previous step and try again.
2- How to paint dwarf miniature: Pants
I’ll be using stippling for the pants to give them texture and an old feel. It’s a technic which works wonders from textiles, NMM metal, or True Metallic Metal (TMM). Pro Tip: You can use an old brush or a sponge if the surface is big enough, it will give you a varied texture and it won’t destroy your new brush!
Paint all the pants with PA Blue Black (I also painted the hair and beard with PA Burnt Sienna for later).
(6) Stipple PA Blue with a tiny bit of blue black on the upper parts of any large areas, to give you space to highlight it further.
Add PA Grey Blue to desaturate the blue and continue stippling, reducing the zone of application toward to upper part of the pants.
(7) Second round adding more Grey Blue and repeating the process.
(8) To smooth the transition, glaze a mix of Blue Black and Blue starting from the top and pulling my brush toward the shadow.
(9) I add a bit of wear and tear to the pant, I take diluted Grey blue with a tiny drop of Blue, and add a few scratches and points.
3- How to paint dwarf miniature: Leather
Similar to the pants, I’ll be using stippling again for the leather boots to give it a worn texture so typical of leather.
Basecoat the leather with PA Dark Umber. That’s when I realised, I forgot to paint the nipple, so I just used the skin paint on my wet palette to draw one. Start with a round shape of Shadow Flesh, then a circle of Tan Flesh leaving a dark round in the middle. Finish with a dot of Tan Flesh and Ivory!
(10) Start stippling PA Light Umber, trying to also make some lines to represent scratches.
Add PA Pale Yellow to Light Umber and stipple again focusing on the upper parts, it needs to be quite a stark highlight.
(11) To give a bit of shine and smoothen the strong highlight, I glazed S75 Chestnut Ink slightly diluted over the whole shoe, this will tie in the highlight and give some shine to the leather and done! Easy leather.
4-5 How to paint dwarf miniature: Red & Tattoo
The red skirt was painted with black leather with the previous step.
(12) Since it’s small part, I won’t spend too much time on it, just highlight in two or three passes the raised part with PA bold pyrrole red. Red is a slightly transparent pigment, building the effect by reducing the surface of application each time will give you an easy and smooth transition.
Before trying to paint the tattoo, I suggest finding a reference you like and draw it on a piece of paper to give you an idea on how you’re going to draw it before committing on the mini, as it’s much easier to see where you can have problem.
(13) When you’ve found your design and ready to paint it on the mini with PA Blue black with a tiny bit of PA Shadow flesh, start drawing the design. I found it’s easier to deconstruct the design into lines starting in the centre and drawing toward the outside of the design.
The more precise you’ll be, the less touch-up you’ll have to do later, if you went a bit overboard, you could take off the fresh paint with a clean damp brush, scrub gently to remove the latest coat. Just let it dry before starting again.
Since it was a bit light, I shaded the line adding a bit of black to my previous mix, it’s very light and don’t show well on the photo.
I underline the tattoo with tan flesh underneath the tattoo line to give it more contrast.
(14) I highlight the tattoo lines on the raised part adding tan flesh the step 1 mix.
6- How to paint dwarf miniature: Hair & Furnace
The hair and beard have been base coated with PA Burnt sienna previously, it’s time to highlight them using AK Cadmium red (which is a dark orange to be honest).
(15) Continue highlighting pushing the light toward the top as usual using PA orange. If you’re a bit lost where to highlight you can look at the picture of the pre-shading.
Highlight adding PA Warm yellow to orange, remember to reduce the highlights at every step.
Since it’s a bit to yellow for my taste, I glaze back PA burnt orange pulling my damp brush from light to shadow this time.
(16) I strengthen the shadow with a precise wash of S75 African shadow in the deepest recess and between the braid to separate them.
I want to give a little glow to the furnace inside the axe, but I don’t want to have it overpower the rest of the mini, that’s why I’m using very little white.
Basecoat the whole furnace with PA Titanium white in two coats, you want the recess really with the raised part are not too important at this point.
I also painted the weapon handle at this point, there isn’t much to it, the base is S75 Black leather and I wet blend adding PA Bright warm grey toward the top.
(17) Wash the whole part with PA Transparent yellow.
Using PA Transparent orange diluted, I wash the recess only applying less in the centre of the furnace.
(18) Same as previous step but using diluted PA Transparent red, focusing on the side of the furnace, last highlight will be linked with the next step.
7- How to paint dwarf miniature: Steel NMM
There is as many recipes as there is people to paint NMM, the main point is to have a strong contrast between the light and dark, usually going from black to white, but working with colour opposition also work, in a word experiment to find something you like!
If you don’t know where to place the highlight just place your model under a light and see which part in the light and which park remain in the dark, this will give you a main direction.
Don’t forget that the ground should also reflect partially on your metal part!
Last thing, NMM has this strange tendency to look rubbish until you add the final light, so don’t be discouraged midway!
I quickly finish the furnace with a bit of white on the central part only to give it more pop.
On a black base, I quickly sketch the light point using PA Blue Black the main reflection is the biggest, the secondary reflection should be smaller.
(19) Reducing the zone of application, continue highlighting using KK Mourning Sky, the lightest point should be in the middle of the reflection as indicated in the picture, pull you brush toward this point.
I continue highlighting using KK Cloudy Sky, you can see the shoulder pad have a small centre reflection on the part toward the ground where the upper part toward the sky has a bigger highlight. This picture is midway to see the transition and how this step is starting to look like metal.
(20) This is the Cloudy Sky highlight on the blade, don’t forget to edge highlights to give definition to the different volumes of the weapon.
Highlight only a few to the most exposed edges and points with PA Pale Yellow to put the final light in
Glaze back some Mourning Sky toward the shadow without touching the yellow to smooth a bit the transition, be careful to have very diluted paint or you will see the mark on the pale yellow.
(21) For the pseudo chain mail on the tabard, don’t highlight each round like a shape in itself but consider the whole tabard, you can see in the picture the ones in the recess cloth a highlighted just on the edge but that’s it, where the centre one has a broader highlight but still a light point on the upper corner. The final points of light will be added when the gold NMM is complete to do all of them in one go.
8- How to paint dwarf miniature: Gold NMM
Basecoat all the golden parts with PA Dark Umber.
(22) Sketch the highlights using PA Burnt Sienna following the same principle as before.
Continue highlighting using PA Yellow ochre, always reducing the surface of application and don’t forget to highlight the edges.
(23) Main yellow tone is added using PA Golden yellow and it’s starting to look like gold now!
Time for the final light with a mix of 50/50 PA Golden yellow and PA Bright ivory, I mark the main light and highlight only the raised edges.
(24) Using the same mix, I add specular points of lights in the darkest part to give the impression of reflection, I do this on the steel and the gold. I also do a few points on the brightest point of my reflection on the steel to give it more shine.
To finish the blade, I do a few scratches with pure black and underline them using my highlight colour.