Painting Dark Minis
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Thread: Painting Dark Minis

  1. #1

    Default Painting Dark Minis

    Does anyone have any tips on painting minis with dark colours whilst ensuring they still ‘pop’ on the table. I’m painting blood rage and would like most of the minis to look dark and foreboding, but I am finding that all the dark browns and bronzes blend into each other from a distance and the model just looks uninteresting on the table.

    Any tips on making a model striking but not too bright and garish?

  2. #2


    you can play with a few things.

    1. saturation of colors: Make some very strong, saturated, the opposing ones muted, greyish.

    2. you can HL the colors much lighter than you think, you just have to keep the highlights very small. For example you can highlight even black to almost pure white, but the white part must be very small (a few % of the area) while the dark color should dominate (50-75% of the area).

    3. you can play with color temps. Brown (skin, fur usually) is usually hot (reddish, yellowish browns), so use some cold color for other areas (for example blue clothes).
    Forgot, that it works again.

  3. #3


    I am not an expert on this, nor have I tried it so you might want to wait for some more advanced folks to come along (and MAXXxxx is much more advanced than I am) but, you might be able to paint it red (for example) and then give it a wash of black or maybe a glaze of black, brown, grey, etc, over most of it leaving some parts the natural red, this would tone it down yet still allow you to have the general color of red with some brighter spots. And if you highlight the color up higher (on the normal section) that section should really stand out. Basically just making it look like most of the figure is standing in shadow. Or maybe pick two or three parts on the figure, such as an ax, shield, hair and paint those more vibrant then the rest of the figure

  4. #4


    These are some really good tips - thank you!

  5. #5


    even if you're painting dark colors do not be afraid of using high saturated colors for the highlights. example: dark brown i'd suggest go for orange for highlights, black i'd suggest use blue or purple, if you just mix in white with your base color it will look lighter. using that oversaturation or your base color gives the effect of low light intensity just make sure that when you layer and blend to not use alot of surface for the gradiant or else it will give the impression that your surface is exposed to alot of light.
    feel free to check out my stuff if you're not too sure: That's how i got better at painting miniatures, by getting myself inspired by other peoples techniques. I for one was strongly inspired by this fantastic painter called dead fish painting.

  6. #6


    All good advice. Just edge highling things like straps and cloakes might be enough to make it pop and almost a drybrush highlight on furs will help them pop. The other thing you could try is painting the face bright while the rest is dark.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by KruleBear View Post
    The other thing you could try is painting the face bright while the rest is dark.
    that reminds me: warpaints (simple patterns) in different light/bright colors (white, red, yellowgreen). Works well on monsters/barbarians.
    Forgot, that it works again.

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