STEP BY STEP PAINTING TUTORIAL of how to paint the Songs of War Miniature by Ruben Martinez
Are you bored of painting miniatures without story-telling behind the whole process? Want to enhance the visual aspect of your pieces? What are those sloped plinths for? No worries, we are here to help you.
In this tutorial, you´ll see how to deal with a sloped plinth, far beyond the bust thematic, in order to create a background for your miniature. Place your character wherever you want (only your imagination is the limit!)
This is the plinth chosen for this tutorial. Look at those natural wood grains! It’s nice and sleek, so this could enhance the presentation and the final results of our painting work.
Of course, you could choose a more neutral option if you use a flat black plinth. The black surface will do the job in every piece for sure because this is just a frame for your picture or miniature that would not distract the viewer.
Some sanding work is needed in order to adapt the base of our figure to the angle of our plinth. Just check from time to time that you are at the right angle!
For the background surface, I’ve chosen a plasticard piece cut with the same width as the plinth. Choose a wide height to allow more “air” for your background theme.
This is the reserved place for gluing both pieces together, so make sure that no paint reaches those areas for a stronger joint.
Some putty is needed in order to fill the gaps between the figure and the plinth. It could be very fun to model not so detailed forms like these stones, so enjoy this step 😉
Final texturing for the base with Turned Earth Ground from Ammo, to create additional texturing on the uncovered plinth areas.
Masking tape to save the plinth from unwanted brushstrokes, airbrushing, and handling abrasion along the painting process.
Here is the double priming coat phase. First a black spray priming coat over the whole surface. After that a white spray priming coat from above in order to mark the lights on the miniature.
For the background, I’ve applied a strong coat of white because it will enhance the brightness of the following layers of colors onto it.
The first layer on the background is applied with an airbrush over the whole surface.
Using torn tape I’ve marked the line for the mountains far away in the landscape. This is a basic technique used in aerography with nice and quick results.
Same process with a bright and saturated red placing the tape a little bit lower than before.
Aaaaaand again with a deep red color…
Here are the results after the airbrush sketching in the background. You can notice some ambiance and sense of distance right now.
It’s time to use the brush and add some detail. I’ve sketched some lines in order to suggest the parts of those mountains hit by the sunlight.
The background can´t be as defined as the miniature because this fact will attract too much attention in the background, losing the sense of distance. This is why it’s called background XD (and this is a golden rule in canvas painting where we usually love to inspire ourselves for our works).
Applying glazes with an airbrush (air blending technique which can be learned in some of the videos at Bigchild Creatives’ Youtube channel) or the brush, you could smooth the brushstrokes as much as you like. For me, this is a good point to see the background almost finished.
Additional touches adding some blue at the upper part of the background are enough to finish this part of the scene. Don´t forget to unmask the reserved area before gluing onto the plinth!
About the figure, I´ll talk only a little bit because it’s not the main topic for this tutorial, But you will see how the colors and the techniques used on the miniature are quite similar to the ones explained before, looking for the harmony between the background and the miniature, making the whole piece a strong and unified composition. Here you could see the double priming coat on the miniature.
Lights were applied with the airbrush onto each element in the miniature. Don´t worry about painting outside the borders because later will be fixed.
Shadows were applied using the same primary red which I´ve used for the second airbrush layer on the background. This will help to achieve a coherent ambiance.
Some washes were applied to darken the deepest recesses on the miniature. It’s time for the dark browns!
Sketching the warpaint is all I need to have all the pieces ready for refining. From now on the process it’s about increasing contrast, blending the gradients, applying highlights, defining edges, etc which could be longer to explain here, so let’s jump onto other aspects more related to this basing tutorial.
Here you could see the miniature almost finished. Some blood left to be split and, for my taste, the wooden plinth it’s maybe too light. I´d like that the highlights of the miniature are the lightest in the whole piece, so I need to darken the wooden base a little bit…
Sounds crazy but yes… you could tint the plinth with inks. I´ve used Aero Medium which increases the adhesive power of the Aero Color Inks. Of course, no need to mention that I’ve airbrushed the mix for a smoother finishing.
Finally, the piece is ready for gluing the background!
We hope you like this trip for the world of crafting and ambiance on miniatures. Place your miniatures in the world that you want and let your creativity fly free!