Shaetann’s Demonic Skin

ToadChapel’s good friend Lee Hebblethwaite, aka 10Ball, returns with another tutorial that will give you a glimpse into how he achieved a stunning, unearthly effect on the skin of his recent Shaetann bust. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one!


I’ve had quite a response to my latest project, Shaetann (by Raul Garcia Latorre), which is lovely to hear, and it’s always a bonus when people ask how I’ve gone about certain aspects of a miniature. So in response to a number of requests about the bust’s unusual skintones here’s a small write up on my approach and my thoughts about painting it.

Read on for a breakdown of how you can pull off this incredible effect.

Originally I had planned to paint him red, thinking of the devil, but after a bit of research into said Satan I realised that different cultures depict the devil in many other guises, as well.

Some interpretations represent him with hair all over, or reptilian in nature, while others cloak him in human form.

I found one description of Satan with rotting flesh which I thought was particularly disturbing. I didn’t want to go to ‘Nurgley’, so I tried to find a middle ground of rot, maybe with some bruising or even with translucent skin. I started by tracking down some reference photos of a few colour ideas.

That’s some rotting meat and for the translucent effect I referenced some movie photos from Alien.

Looking at the finished miniature I feel the effect I’ve achieved inclines more towards the bruising and translucent effect than one of rotting flesh, but I’m still happy with the results.

As always, good preparation is essential to a satisfying end result, so take time to remove the mould lines, flash, etc. before you start applying paint.

These are the colours for the skin. Deathclaw Brown (GW) is the main colour used throughout and is added to every stage and colour mix (in varying amounts) to maintain a unified overall tone.

Whilst I’m on the subject of paints, for anyone who hasn’t used Jo Sonja before, I find them terrible for base coating, but for glazing they are very good, and they are fantastic for adding extreme highlights. This is because of the way the pigments behave. With Jo Sonja you are able to ‘drag’ the color around as required.

Basecoat several thin layers of Deathclaw Brown, then with an 80/20 mix add Fenrisian Grey (GW) and begin to ‘place’ your highlights. For a 28mm or similar mini I usually do this over the whole figure, but for a bust or larger miniature I concentrate on one area and build it up in stages before moving on to another section. With Shaetann I concentrated on the face first, getting the skin 70% finished before moving on. This allows you to go back and adjust things, fine tuning as the miniature evolves.

Once happy with the highlight placement, give the whole area a wash of Scale75 Indian shadow, then a more controlled wash of Scale75 African shadow for deeper shades.

Using mixes of Deathclaw Brown and Fenrisian Grey (increasing the amount of Fenrisian Grey as you progress), layer up the midtones. Take care not to cover the shades you’ve established. At this stage, start glazing some blues and reds onto certain spots, such as the area around the eyes, nose, etc. Also at this stage work on the eyes, in this case using yellows.

For me, a mini is always a work in progress, constantly evolving, and many times I find myself going back to add to or take away from what I’ve already done.

Now begin to add more Fenrisian Grey, pushing the highlights further, then add a little Jo Sonja Unbleached Titanium  to the mix. Use these same colours to highlight the blue areas. It makes sense to highlight them at the same time. Try to keep the brush strokes thin and going in the same direction. By using the same highlight colours for the blue skin as for the brown, it helps to tie the areas together.

As you provisionally finish each area/stage, go back and very carefully glaze in some of the base colours to the blending and add certain tones for shade or colour. In the deepest shadows add various tones of blue and Fenrisian Grey (with a spot of Deathclaw Brown). Doing so creates almost a ‘shine’ of colour within the recesses. This variation and overlaying of color and value help to create the impression of bruising and impart an almost translucent look to the skin.

Complete the skintones with final glazing, highlighting, and smoothing. Glaze in Jo Sonja Burnt Sienna in select places, taking advantage of the contrast this color provides against the blue tones. Jo Sonja Warm White can be added for the very extreme highlights on both the blue and brown areas.

Now it’s a matter of many successive glazes to smooth blends and add depth to shadows. This is time consuming and can easily be taken too far, especially with the shading, so be careful. All the glazes are done with the above colours.

The painting is the easy part… the hard part is knowing when to stop. I’m still trying to figure that out!

– Lee Hebblethwaite (10 ball)


Thanks, Lee, for this interesting look at your process in creating a terrifying version of Shaetann! As always, you’re testing out new approaches to achieve unique effects.

For more articles by 10Ball and others, be sure to check out the Tutorials section of ToadChapel. There’s a lot to discover!

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