Painting miniatures old cloaks
Table of Contents
PAINTING MINIATURES OLD CLOAKS: Priming
When I saw this model our friends at RN Estudio sent us, I knew what I wanted this tutorial to be about: painting miniatures old cloaks! The whole model is great, of course, but I saw that very characterful and dynamic cloak she was wearing, and had an idea. In my minds eye I could see a quality cloak belonging to someone of status, but which equally had been used a lot in hard travelling. Sometimes our own imagination is our best source of inspiration for painting a piece!
After assembling the model, I spray primed the whole figure with a combination of black and white spray primer. If you have read any of my articles before, you know I am a big fan of speedy priming, and also zenithal priming! Here it was particularly useful for showing where the shadows and highlights will fall on the cloak. The sculpted ‘billowing’ of the cloak makes it very easy to understand where the highlights will be later!
As you can see, the white primer started to ‘spit’ which can be very frustrating! It is a cold time of year, so you do have to be extra careful with aerosol priming your minis. However, I decided to make lemonade from lemons. Seeing the spots of white gave me an idea. I would ‘stipple’ the cloak to give it an interesting, worn, texture. And the stray dots of white here would be easily covered by the dark colors I would apply to the recesses, anyway.
PAINTING MINIATURES OLD CLOAKS: BASE COATS
This is the finished result we should be aiming for. Perhaps from a distance the cloak looks smoother, but using a detail shot like this we can appreciate the many layers of dots, scratches and detritus that make the cloak a more interesting and storied surface in the overall model. A cloak woven from cotton or wool would texture and reflect light differently than one of silk or man-made materials, after all, and this cloak has seen some hard wear and tear!
Next, I painted the base colours. I wanted quick coverage, but a good midtone. This would allow me to go ‘up’ or ‘down’ depending on whether I was painting in the shadowy recesses or raised highlight areas. I wasn’t too worried about building up many thin layers of this coat, as all my highlights and textures would form from the stippling process later. I chose a rich blue, because to me this model evoked a high-status travelling cleric, not unlike a character from Goblin Slay
I applied this royal blue with an airbrush-formulated paint in a couple of quick coats, and I also put down a quick shade in the recesses. I used the new reusable membrane on my wet palette, and a Size 2 brush for this. The darker recesses were still visible to me up close after this. That was fine as it would make a handy guideline for stippling my darker colors for the shadow areas.
PAINTING MINIATURES OLD CLOAKS: STIPPLING
So what is stippling? Basically, it is a way to add textures to your model via tiny dots, most often for organic fabrics like cloth or leather. Especially if you want to suggest agedness of material. However, pro-painters can also use stippling to create wonderful fleshtones and NMM too, it just involves even more subtle increments of dots… and patience! Stippling can be very time consuming and laborious, but it is very satisfying in the end. It is also not really hard to learn. Looking at the pointillists from traditional canvas art may serve as good inspiration for you, here.
For the first stage of stippling the cloak, I mixed a little sky blue into the base color blue. I used a Size 00 brush to ‘dot’ this color onto the cloak, pretty much across the whole surface. Next I lightened the mix again by adding more sky blue, and dotting with my 00 brush again. This time I focussed more toward the rising folds of the cloak, and didn’t add it to the recesses. Lastly I stippled another finer layer for a highlight, of just sky blue, onto the highest points of the cloak. In the folds of the cloak, I did the opposite, and dotted darker blues.
As it was, the stippling effect was too stark, so it needed toning down and unifying to look more realistic. I used a glaze of my original midtone blue to help unify all the dots together, and I think it was really effective! From a distance there is a suggestion of 3D texture, and then up-close you can appreciate all the subtle tones and variations just like in real fabric. As the hem of the cloak was sculpted to be frayed, I highlighted it with a ‘scratching’ motion of my brush. I think it has helped suggest color fade and unravelling threads.
"I used a glaze of my original midtone blue to help unify all the dots together, and I think it was really effective! From a distance there is a suggestion of 3D texture, and then up-close you can appreciate all the subtle tones and variations just like in real fabric."
PAINTING MINIATURES OLD CLOAKS: FINISHING TOUCHES
Finally, for an added level of realism and weathering, I decided to add some dust pigment.First, I brushed on some odorless mineral spirits to the bottom half of the cloak, where I wanted the dust stains to be. Then, I used a dry brush to ‘blot’ some dust pigment onto the hem of the cloak. The mineral spirits would help manipulate the pigment around the areas I wanted it to collect. Finally, once dry, it would also ‘set’ the pigment in place. The pigment would also set looking dry, which is perfect for the effect I was going for. For now, that is all I wanted to do with this model, concentrating on the cloak rather than painting the whole figure. Here then, was a travelling cleric on the road, and her cloak was dusty and worn out from the hard journey! Enjoy! – James