Painting Faces on Busts

It’s been a while since I’ve added to the hobby tutorials on ToadChapel. Let’s remedy that! As we near Christmas, I’ve painted 18 miniature busts since COVID sent us all inside back in March, so I figure that would be a good subject to explore.

The essence of any bust is the face. Many busts consist of little more than the head. In this tutorial I’m going to focus mostly on painting the face, though I may make incidental reference to how I approach other elements on the model.

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Touille

A few days ago I finished painting Touille, a delightful new miniature from Blacksmith. The model gave me a chance to continue my exploration of strong saturated colors, complex color composition, and vivid skintones.

I enjoy peaceful, happy, whimsical minis. Too often I show my enthusiastic two-year-old daughter a figure I’ve painted, only to have her point out that he’s ‘really grumpy’ or ‘really scary’. When I find an excellent sculpt like this one, then, that I know will catch her eye, I’m excited to get my hands on it. To be clear, these are also the kind of miniatures I like to paint most. I have no more fondness for demons clutching severed heads than my daughter does. Ok, maybe a little.

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Brand New Bust from Blacksmith

I’m a big fan of the small French miniatures manufacturer Blacksmith. I backed their Kickstarter bringing to miniature life the artwork of illustrator Jean-Baptiste Monge, and I have a few other minis of theirs as well. I have been impressed every time by their finely detailed and clean casting, and I love Blacksmith’s children’s book aesthetic.

I was very excited, therefore, to see Blacksmith offering a new sculpt by Matthieu Rouèche, whose beautiful and distinctive painting I have admired for a long time. Blabla, as Rouèche is sometimes known, has provided box art for a lot of Blacksmith’s models, but this is the first figure he has added to their range. I can only say that it fits right in!

On Touille I’m trying to further my study of powerful color which I began on Radigundus. I’ll probably tone things down from where they stand here, but I do want to retain the strength of those beautiful tones. Let me know what you think.

Keep your brushes wet!

Radigundus Complete

Santa’s ugly little helper is finished! I had the week off and found plenty of time to get this miniature bust to the finish line.

Radigundus will be headed overseas as part of a secret Santa mini exchange. I wanted to create something that would look Christmasy enough to remind my recipient of the occasion, but that wouldn’t look out of place the rest of the year.

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Radigundus WIP

I’ve started a quick project, one I’ve had in mind for some time. It’s Radigundus by Forged Monkey, released by FeR Miniatures. Forged Monkey is the imprint of the brilliant Raffaele Picca. I painted another of Raffa’s busts back in May and really enjoyed the experience, and I had admired Radigundus for a long time. It’s been fun getting some paint on this little cracker.

This will be a gift, which I’ll explain later. You can probably see the Christmasy vibe I’m chasing.

I don’t expect this tiny bust to take all too long, so check back soon (or better, subscribe!) to see him come to life!

Cormac 26 X

I have more progress to share with you on Cormac. I’ve been able to paint nearly every day recently, often for nice stretches, and I’ve built up good momentum as I’ve worked through most of the major areas on the mini. Still a lot of work remains, though, as the details will require care to do justice to the sculpt and my vision for it.

Textures have always been an important part of the way I paint, and I hope I’m achieving finer and more interesting material effects now than ever before. Certainly as I strive to fulfill the artistic course I’m charting, I want to incorporate the continued and conspicuous use of textures in my work.

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Cormac 20 X

It’s been sheer joy painting Lucas Pina’s Cormac bust (Black Crow). Every pose and gesture is super expressive, and the face shines with humanity. It’s my first time painting one of Lucas’s sculpts, but it will definitely not be my last.

I’m daydreaming of painting Cormac when I’m at work, eager to explore his character and effects. I have a clear plan of how I’ll handle the various textures, but the spirit of discovery will guide my brush.

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Sansa Looking Severe

My most recent project is a 1/10 bust of Sansa Stark. The figure is ‘Queen of the North’ by Nuts Planet.

I had a lot of fun painting Sansa, while also pushing against my artistic & technical limitations. This was my goal!

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Rolf, My Boy, See If This Pot Fits on Your Head.

I have put the final brushstrokes on another bust from ZabaArts. This is Rolf, a dwarf with a, er, versatile hat.

As with all Zaba characters, Rolf has a ton of personality that is a joy to draw out and interpret with your brushes.

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