Painting Miniature Faces

In this article Sue discusses painting miniature heads using highlighting and fine detail in conjunction with Contrast Paints. For her demonstration, she is using some Sisters of Battle Retributor heads. She personally likes these heads because one head is making a face and the other has a really severe haircut.

First prime with Corax White primer.


Then add the eye makeup/shadows, and paint the lips. I like using a dark brown or a black for the eyes. For the lips anything lighter than Bugmans Glow will not show up very well once the Contrast Paint is applied. I wanted a more natural lip color, so I used Bugmans Glow, but you could just as easily use a red, brown, purple, or other color for the lips. I used a white line on the lower lip. The Contrast Paint will color this line and make it look natural.

Note: Even when painting men, I still use a brown around the eyes to make the eyes stand out. If you don’t want to paint the lips for men, you could still do the white line on the lower lip to indicate the highlight.

At this stage, I also applied highlights to the cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead using White Scar. Hopefully you can see the difference between the flat primer picture, and this one where the highlights have been applied.

Note: Ulthuan Grey is my preference for fixing any mistakes. I find it blends well with the primer.


For the brows, I covered the whole eye/brow area in black, and then drew a white line to separate the eye and brow. Once the eye makeup/shadow, lips, and highlights are done, apply the Contrast Paint. I used Guilliman Flesh for both these models. By doing the highlighting first, the Contrast Paint will blend with the highlights nicely. After applying the flesh Contrast paint, go back and finish the eyes by adding a white line followed by a black dot, (or 2 white dots on either side of the iris if this is your preferred method).

Note: If you prefer to finish the eyes before applying the Contrast Paint, have a second, dry, paintbrush on standby to pull as much of the paint out of the eyes as possible. The eyes may look a little bloodshot if you paint them first, but it’s easier to fix any mistakes before applying the contrast paint.

Note: Alternatively, if you do not feel comfortable attempting the white line or the 2 dots, you could just leave the eyes as is, as there is a natural shadow over the eyes.


Lastly, color the hair and any remaining details. I used the Black Templar Contrast Paint for the hair.

Note: if you made a mistake on the eyes and need to redo them, I recommend doing them before the hair. That way if any paint gets onto the hair area, you can easily touch it up.


These are all the paints I used in this demonstration. This was the brush I used for the lips, eye makeup/shadows, and face highlights. I do have a brush with an even finer point I used for the eyes, and I used a Games Workshop Layer brush to apply the Contrast Paints.

Though there are multiple ways to paint miniature heads, I personally like doing as much detail as possible before applying the Contrast Paint or Wash, so that I can easily correct any mistakes and also I like the way the Contrast Paint or Wash ties everything together at the end.

All brushes, paints, and models came from The Sentry Box.


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