How Do You Paint?

Today I'm partly going to show a model I'm very pleased with - one of those "one offs" which aren't for any particular project, but rather just painted up for fun.  But I also want to share a quick breakdown of my painting style, just to throw it out there and see how other people approached their painting.

Anyway, this model is a 28mm Games Workshop Tallarn officer.  My brother is doing a 28mm Imperial Guard desert fighters army, and this chap is a liaison officer from my own Palladian Guard force.  Since he's a liaison to an Arab-themed army, what better name for him than Lawrence of Alrishia?

I'm really very pleased with how he came out.  Since discovering Army Painter Soft Tone about five years ago, my painting method hasn't really changed at all:

  1. Block colours
  2. Soft Tone wash
  3. Re-highlight in the original colours
  4. (Lighter highlight)
On bulk models, I usually omit Step 4.  They look fine en masse, but for special models like this one I do extra highlighting.  The key to this style is making the contrast between Step 3 and Step 4 quite marked - more than you would if you were painting a real picture.

Left to Right:  1) Block colours, 2) Soft tone wash, 3) re-highlight in original colour, 4) lighter highlight

Basically, highlighting doesn't have to look "real" - it just has to be noticeable from a distance.  Thus, for skin tones I make quite a leap from a dark shaded flesh tone in Step 2 to a light "Elf Flesh" highlight in Step 4, so that it's visible from a distance.

I realise this isn't particularly groundbreaking, and that all my readers are accomplished painters who will already know this stuff.  In fact, this style evolved out of reading other people's posts - especially Dai, Admiral Drax and Sydney Roundwood.  But perhaps you might comment below with some thoughts on this style - or even do a post of your own, lifting the lid on the simple art of painting, which is so basic that we don't often give it a thought when showing off our finished projects.

1) Block colours.  You can see how simple this looks, and it doesn't take very long.

2)  Soft Tone wash.  Instantly a huge improvement.  If I was in a rush, this would do if I was trying to meet a deadline.

3) and 4), highlights.  You can see on the sword and the red sash in particular where I did an extra Step 4 highlight to emphasise the contrast. 

I love this style because it's quick and easy, lends itself well to batch painting, and it works for all scales.  I use this (or a variant of it) on my 2mm armies and 1:3,000 ships, and it works equally well in 15mm and 28mm.

Please comment below with your thoughts, and feel free to take up the mantle and do a post of your own sharing how you approach model painting.

Coming up later this month will be some more posts on 15mm painting, and we will shortly be fighting another Superbattle with worldwide participation.

Paint safely, people.



  1. Good stuff, man! This is pretty much my method exactly as well - I'll generally go with more varied colored washes on the various pieces (carroburg crimson for the sash, reikland flesh on the skin and gold, dark tone on the metals, etc.), but I will admit I go through a TON of soft and strong tone as well! Lovely results!

    1. Thanks mate. That's interesting, I never thought of doing that before but I suppose that's a good way to take the painting to the next level. So is Soft Tone used just for brown parts and every single colour has its own shade, or do you only use specific shades on bright colours like the gold, skin, red you mentioned above?

  2. Erm, yeah. Prolly. I'm ding some tonight so will pay attention to what I'm doing.

  3. I paint in pretty much the same way- except I use the black or strong wash 99% of the time. Soft wash only comes out on white/ cream/ yellow figures.



    1. Interesting - I did try Black wash, but I thought the shading was too stark, I thought the brown was a bit softer and it gives it a "brown feel" from a distance. I'll have to get some spare stands and paint up a comparison!


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