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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More Progress on My ‘Simple’ Diorama

Well, another figure entered the scene, and two more are on the way! I am having a lot of of fun cramming as much information, humor, and drama into this tiny diorama as I’m able, so I just keep adding more details & minis!

The latest is the legionary hanging out by the door, watching the scene unfold but doing nothing to help. The miniature’s face points at the main character, but if you follow his eyes he’s actually checking out the senator’s wife!

I also added a number of scenic details, finishing the rubbish & mule dung, smashing a wine cup onto the sidewalk, and tucking a tiny lizard up onto the roof above the barkeeper.

Power Couple

I’ve continued adding to my Roman diorama and lent some sophistication to the street with the inclusion of a senator and his elegant wife.

Trouble at the taberna

I’ve been painting the figures as fast as I can, aiming to get them done in an hour or less apiece. I’m after a strong expression, which I feel I’ve achieved despite poor quality sculpts. I’m making good use of the ink technique described here to liven up their faces. By concentrating on the relationships between the characters and what you cannot see (who is that fellow yelling at and why?) I’m hoping to suggest a human story with this diorama.

Below are some WIP shots.

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Another Base without a Face

I’ve found time here and there to complete another little vignette. This one features a dead tree, which I haven’t done in a while.  As usual, this one is a kind of lesson to be applied in basing minis, as well as a little imaginative refuge in its own right.

A detaile base featuring a forest scene without a miniature.

The base is 1.5″ square. I like the challenge of telling a story or creating a scene dense in interesting details on a very small scale. Continue reading “Another Base without a Face”

Feeling Foresty

Whenever possible I’ve been stealing moments to further this project, another little woodland scene.

This one has a dead tree on it, and I’ll be adding mushrooms, grass, and whatever else I can think of. These are a few bolete-style mushrooms ready for painting. Continue reading “Feeling Foresty”