Light Miniatures

Never be afraid to paint outside the lines


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  1. Really great paint work. Keep it up!

  2. Hi Althai!

    You have a lovely blog. I enjoyed looking through it and seeing your progression as a painter. Please keep posting! I would love to incorporate you somehow in a video on my budding youtube channel. My channel is all about miniature wargaming. Right now were focusing on the basics as there are so many new painters who might benefit from simple information. The next video is about painting at a beginner level but I have plans for all sorts of videos. My hope is that with these videos I will give people confidence to paint their own miniatures, too many models go unpainted!

    I hope I can paint as well as you some day. Your Abalam was very very good. Here is one of my most recent projects:

  3. Hi, I just started mini painting about 3 months ago, and I’ve got wet blending, base coating, zenithal shading, drybrushing, and washes down pat. I’m hitting a brick wall now, and was wondering what techniques I could employ that are at the medium to hard level? All of the tutorials on YouTube seem to be on the things I listed but I may not be looking for the right techniques. My mini’s rank about a 6 or 7 on CoolMiniOrNot. I’d like to bring it up to 8’s and 9’s and I am willing to put the time in, just need some guidance. (I’m going to try the OSL technique next)

    • Hi Josh. Thanks for your interest! If you have minis that are scoring around 7 after painting for 3 months, you’re definitely on the right track. The most important thing is to keep painting and keep trying to improve, and if you do that you’ll definitely get there. Without seeing your work, I can’t say exactly what I would suggest working on, but I can give some advice which I’ve found is widely applicable:
      1) Keep trying to push the contrast: lighter highlights, darker shadows. It’s basically impossible to have too much contrast in your painting, and having too little contrast is extremely common. If you look at the minis that are scoring high on places like CoolMiniOrNot and Putty&Paint, they always have plenty of contrast.
      2) Make sure your painting is precise and details are readable. Even if you are doing something really dirty and grungy, try to portray the dirt and grunge in a way that you can still see all the details of the sculpt and everything is clearly defined. Using dark lines between different objects and light lines for edges that would catch the light can be a good way of accomplishing this. See my Desert Wanderer for example.
      3) Use 2d art for inspiration. Any technique from 2d art can be used on miniatures. It’s up to you what style you go for. You can try for realistic miniatures, or if you prefer you can do a more illustrative/painterly style, or a more comic-book style. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles. I’ve seen some awesome off-the wall stuff, like this amazing cel-shaded model.
      4) To get into the 8s, you have to do something that really impresses people. There are lots of ways to do this, such as mastering some difficult technique like OSL, doing really intricate freehand, using a really cool style, executing a flawless paintjob with really good technique or just doing something really creative and surprising. To get into the 9s, you have to impress people in multiple ways.
      5) Don’t neglect photography – I notice you mentioned painting tutorials you’ve looked at, but have you read any photography tutorials? Photography can make several points of difference in your CoolMini score.
      6) As you improve your brush control, keep upping the level of detail in your minis. You can start with simple freehands, like stripes and borders. Once you master that, try logos and lettering, battle damage, and textures. Don’t feel constrained by the sculpt, and try to treat it more like a jumping off point than a thing to be painted.
      For more tips, I would recommend checking out my article Four tips to level up your painting if you haven’t already. Whatever you do, make sure you keep practicing, and keep trying to improve! That is by far the most important thing.
      I’ve tried to give general advice which would be helpful to almost anyone, but if you’d like a more specific critique, feel free to email me at and include images / links to your work.

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