Jul 12, 2011No Comments
When we paint our miniatures we are almost always going for that natural look. Even if we are using colors that are not natural or painting miniatures that are based on some unnatural beings we still can achieve that it looks realistic. This is done by making shadows, weathering and highlights. Highlights are generally a must when painting a miniature, as they make smooth changes between darker and lighter parts. Weathering is not that important, however, if you are painting a vehicle that has been on the battlefield you should consider doing this. Anything that has been out for some time is probably dusty or can be covered in mud. That is why these techniques help us achieve that realistic look.
I am a huge fan of dark and deep shadows. Well, that is maybe because I like darker colors and darker settings, so I always tend to go for that natural dark look. Shadows are for where there is something to block light or when there is little light at all. For example, if you paint a miniature that is moving threw sewers it shouldn’t be painted in bright colors, as it is probably dark around it and dirty.
One way to make shadows on your miniature is to apply darker colors in areas that are not affected with light. If you are going for a bit rough highlight you can use similar technique for shadows, just keep in mind that shadows are not black, there are only darker than the other parts of that miniature. For better effect multiple layers should be applied. Mix one part paint and one part water, and you are supposed to achieve a very watery substance. Apply it in layers so that you have a smooth change between shadow and other parts. If there are deeper areas and recesses you can use colors dark as black, as in those areas there is no light at all.
One of the easiest ways to make shadows is by using ink wash. I am not that big fan of this technique, although I have seen people make great shadows with washes. Working with wash is really easy, you should only apply it where you want your shadow to be. If you are going for a dirty look you can wash your entire miniature and it will make it dirty as well as nice shadows, in all those areas that are likely to have them.
Another way of making shadows is with an airbrush. One of my favorite methods is this. First of all you basecoat your miniature with a white color. After that you take a black color and paint all those areas that are supposed to be darker due to natural shadows. An only when you have finished with this you can apply your main color. Parts that have been painted black will stay darker, although you can always add some more shadows. Keep in mind that if u use dark colors, darker parts that you have painted before, before applying the main color, will not be visible.
Making shadows is one of those techniques that take time and patience. And of course a lot of practice and experience.