Painting Scanlan Shorthalt, the Gnome Bard | Critical Role

We used the Army Painter range of paints for this tutorial. They have great surface coverage and a wide range of colors. Make sure to shake the paint pot before you apply to your palette to make sure it’s properly mixed. Once you’ve applied the paint to your palette you will need to thin your paints down with a small amount of water. About a 1:1 ratio will work for most paints.

Due to the size of this miniature, you are going to want to use a smaller size brush with a fine point. The majority of this miniature was painted with a Size 0 brush, going down to a Size 00 or even 000 for the ultra-fine details.

If this is your first time painting a miniature, then this probably seems a bit intimidating. No worries! You can stick to Step 1,2, and 3 and then base the miniature. Practice makes perfect and you’ll be up and running in no time.

The most important thing to remember when painting miniatures is HAVE FUN!

Step 1 - First Layer: Apply your Base Colors

  • Lute – Crypt Wraith

  • Flute - Skeleton Bone

  • Jacket – Deep Blue

  • Shirt – Deep Blue

  • Hat – Deep Blue

  • Flesh – Kobold Skin

  • Trousers – Chaotic Red

  • Hair – Necromancer Cloak

  • Shoes – Oak Brown

  • Yellow Trim – Desert Yellow

  • Belt Buckle & Sword Details - Weapon Bronze

We start by blocking out all of the different areas of the miniature with a dark basecoat. These colors act as the shadows for the final colors, and make them a bit easier to apply. We want to apply a couple of thin coats of paint instead of one thick one so we don’t obscure any of the details.

Scanlan is wearing multiple items of clothing that are then covered in smaller details. To make sure we don’t get paint onto areas we have already worked on, it’s best to start with the larger layers that are closest to the body – the clothes closest to the skin for example – and then move on to the outer layers such as belts, armour, and accessories.

As Scanlan’s clothing is made up of multiple items in a variety of similar tones of purple and burgundy red, we can start them all off with the same base color (Deep Blue) and then as we highlight them, use other paints to differentiate them. This will help tie the final piece together.

Step 2 - Second Layer: Brighten up your Base Coat

  • Lute – Banshee Brown

  • Flute – Drake Tooth

  • Jacket – Alien Purple

  • Shirt – Ultramarine Blue

  • Hat – Crusted Sore

  • Flesh – Barbarian Flesh

  • Trousers – Dragon Red

  • Hair – Crypt Wraith

  • Shoes – Dirt Spatter

  • Yellow Trim & Panels – Phoenix Flames

  • Belt Buckle & Sword Details - Bright Gold

Now that we have our different areas all blocked out, we will start to add depth to the colors by brightening them up. Concentrating on the raised areas and sections that would be exposed to more light, we start to apply the brighter versions of our base colors. This is generally on the tops of an area, the ridge of a fold of cloth, and on the more pronounced details of a face like the eyebrows, nose, cheeks and lips.

When applying these we want to be careful to leave a small amount of our basecoat in the folds and recesses of the area we are working on to act as a shadow.

Just like Step 1, we want to start applying paints to the areas closest to the skin and in the centre of the miniature. This will help to avoid slipping and getting paint where it’s not supposed to be. No worries if you do though – just wait till the paint dries, grab that original basecoat and touch up the mistake. Good as new!

Step 3 - Third Layer: Applying Some Washes

  • Lute – Soft Tone

  • Flute – N/A

  • Jacket – Purple Tone

  • Shirt – N/A

  • Hat – Strong Tone

  • Flesh – Soft Tone

  • Trousers – Red Tone

  • Hair – Strong Tone

  • Shoes – Strong Tone

  • Yellow Trim & Panels – Strong Tone

  • Belt Buckle & Sword Details - Strong Tone

These washes will help to add shade to the miniature and increase the definition on highly detailed areas. Mix them well, but don’t water them down too much or they can dry leaving a very chalky finish.

This is where all of the different layers of clothing on Scanlan will start to stand apart from each other. The wash will flow into the recesses of the cloth creating a shadowed effect.

Due to the nature of a wash, they are much thinner than the paint we have been using and can be harder to control. Don’t overload your brush or allow the wash to pool in the creases as it can run into other areas of the miniature. No worries if some accidentally goes on there though. Just like with the highlights you can go back and touch up slips.

Step 4 - Layer: Edge Highlights and Touch Ups

  • Lute – Drake Tooth

  • Flute – Mummy Robes

  • Jacket – Alien Purple mixed with Oozing Purple (50:50)

  • Shirt – Viking Blue

  • Hat – Wasteland Soil

  • Flesh – Elven Flesh

  • Trousers – Vampire Red

  • Hair – Castle Grey

  • Shoes – Werewolf Fur

  • Yellow Trim & Panels – Daemonic Yellow

  • Belt Buckle & Sword Details - Bright Gold mixed with Shining Silver (50:50)

After we have applied the washes to add depth and enhance the details of the areas, we can go and do a layer of color to brighten it up again.

Just like before, we want to concentrate these colors on the raised areas/details of the miniature such as the tip of the nose and cheekbones for the face, the top ridges of the folds for the cloth, and the sharp edges of the lute and scabbard.

We can use these highlights to also add depth to the various materials by painting in the same direction as the folds and layers. For example, the small folds on Scanlan’s trousers are diagonal, so we make sure our brush strokes follow these lines to enhance the sculpted details.

It’s best to use the smaller Size 00 or 000 for this stage as you need to be very careful, especially on the face and when applying those edge highlights to the varying materials..

Brilliant work, you now have a painted Scanlan Shorthalt!

Step 5 - Optional Final Highlights and Finishing Touches

This is an extra stage where you can choose to add another layer of highlights or go back to the miniature and pick out small details, paint in eyes/mouth, or enhance the details by taking the Size 000 brush with Matt Black to carefully paint in the lines between each different area. This technique is known as “black lining” or “lining in”. This will really add to the contrast for the black areas.

With your miniature painted, you can choose how you would like it to be based. It’s perfectly fine to leave the base black, but just make sure to clean up the edge and give the base a nice even coat of black paint to really help the miniature look finished. Alternately, you can use sand and glue or pumice gel to give the base some earthy texture and then paint it to match whichever setting you like. You can then add some static grass or grass tufts to bring the base to life.

If you plan to use this miniature for gaming, it is a good idea to seal it with either a spray-on sealer such as Testor Dullcote or Army Painter Anti-Shine. There are brush-on options available if the idea of using a spray can on your freshly painted miniature is something you’re wary of. In either case, be sure to follow the application instructions provided. Always test your sealer before applying it to your miniature to make sure it cures correctly.

We would love to see your results so post them up on Twitter and Instagram using #CrittersPaint hashtag.