Miniature Mushroom Tutorial

Spend any time around ToadChapel and you know I’m plum crazy about the fungus. I like the way mushrooms look and I like learning about them, so I photograph them, I draw them, and I use them extensively in my miniature projects. I’ve developed techniques for creating a variety of mushroom shapes suitable for 28mm, 54mm, or larger scale mini scenes, and I’m happy to share my approach with you. Depending upon how you paint these, you could produce many actual mushroom species and an unlimited number of fictional fungi.

These mushrooms are sturdy and small enough to use on gaming bases, especially if you place them intelligently, but they’re delicate enough to add a lot of dazzling detail to display pieces. Read on to learn how to work some minuscule mushrooms into your next modeling project.

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Mushroom Forest

I think I’ve finished up the setting for my next mini creation. It’s a forest scene packed with all sorts of mushrooms. There’s a figure still to come, but I wanted this piece to stand without one.

There were plenty of challenges. Leaves that can’t effectively be bent, rolled, or twisted. Various media fighting each other. Frustratingly slow drying times!

There’s plenty I’d like to improve or change, but I’m very happy overall. The turkeytails and lichens are the best I’ve done. The effect of the leaves in the water looks cool. And the logs are real good to my eye. So yeah, a nice little piece of modeling, I think.

Read on for a tour of the various mushrooms and other woodsy stuff!

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Forest Diorama First Look

I pointed out in a few recent posts that I often draw the same natural objects. I should have mentioned that I model them, too! Here is a sneak peek at a project I’ve been engaged in for a little while. I intend for it to serve several purposes.

Forest Floor
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Drawing with Pointillism to Render Nice Leaves

My friend Lauren was admiring a leaf I drew and saying she’d like to try one like it. I prepared this little cheat sheet to help her in her efforts.

Lauren’s leaf

Read on to learn how I draw a leaf like that.

Continue reading “Drawing with Pointillism to Render Nice Leaves”

From Forest to Page

I draw as often as I can, and almost always draw things I’ve found on my walks in Nature.

A pen drawing of honey mushrooms found on a hike in the woods with my daughter.

I embrace the progressive abstraction as I transfer real mushrooms and other small objects discovered in the course of my hiking to the page. Pens, pencils, and markers help me condense and personalize the often unassuming, ephemeral focus of my fascination. Continue reading “From Forest to Page”

AndyG’s NMM Rust Technique

Today ToadChapel is proud to present a tutorial from the amazing Andy Gillaspy, aka AndyG. Andy is a true master of NMM style painting, but he’s always pushing himself in new directions. In that spirit, Andy has developed a way to render heavy rust in a non-metallic setting.  Read on to learn how to add this technique to your bag of tricks. Thanks Andy!

AndyG's beautiful Wraith from Black Crow Miniatures

I adore non-metallic metals. It’s my favourite way of painting metals. The control on where the highlighting goes, the matte finish which stops unwanted glints from metallic paints so that the mini appears to the observer the way that you want it to rather than how the lighting in the room reflects offs metallic paints is for me worth the effort. This isn’t to say that TMM is not an exacting and difficult way of painting metals well; for example the work of SkellettetS and Megazord Man is superb and they use TMM most of the time.

That said, NMM for me. However, what to do with rust? There I have previously given in and used TMM rather than NMM and I have been very satisfied with the results; the slight application in rubbed spots of the metal concentrates the highlights where you want them anyway so the issues of glints appearing where you don’t want them doesn’t occur as the rest of the metal is oxidized with matte browns and oranges. It was quite a challenge to come out of my comfort zone and decide to see if I could paint realistic and aesthetically pleasing rusted armour with NMM. Continue reading “AndyG’s NMM Rust Technique”

Scratchbuilding a Miniature Wire Tree

Once again ToadChapel welcomes the über-creative Lee Hebblethwaite, aka 10Ball. In this tutorial 10Ball walks us through a process he uses to create expressive scenic trees that enhance the composition of his miniature bases. As you can see from the image below, the results can be spectacular. The method itself, though, could even be applied to gaming terrain. Thanks 10!

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A skeleton from Age of Sigmar stands triumphant before a gnarled birch tree. A grinning skull stands out from the tree trunk.

There are many ways to create miniature trees. Using real tree roots or sculpting from scratch can be very effective, but I find using a wire ‘skeleton’ frame can create a realistic form quicker than sculpting and offers more control to fit the look of the scene than trying to find the correct piece of tree root. Continue reading “Scratchbuilding a Miniature Wire Tree”