How to Paint Caduceus | Critical Role

Bidet Critters,

We’re back with another painting tutorial for you wonderful people out there to draw some inspiration from. Start out by cleaning and priming your miniature. Before painting your miniature we recommend you check out our article detailing how to assemble Caduceus here. Preparing your miniature is a very important step as it will help make the painting process much smoother and more enjoyable.

For this tutorial, Army Painter paints were used. These are nice paints that are widely available online and at your local game store. When using Army Painter be sure to shake them very well, and when you squirt them out onto your pallet mix them with a wet brush before applying them to your miniature.  Once you’ve applied the paint to you 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 details 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 0 0 or even 000 for the ultra-fine details. 

If you’re brand new to painting and find it all a bit intimidating, we hear you! To achieve a great-looking paint job using some fantastic beginner techniques, only follow step 1, step 2, step 3, and step 5. These steps show the basics of blocking-in base colors over the entire miniature, adding some washes to these base colors to help bring out the detail of the sculpt, and some finishing touches such as basing your miniature.

Most importantly of all, take your time and have fun with it! Let’s begin!

Step 1 - First Layer: Apply your Base Colours 

  • Armour – Wizards Orb

  • Skin – Wolf Grey

  • Trousers - Angel Green

  • Leather – Oak Brown

  • Hat – Banshee Brown

  • Shirt – Castle Grey

  • Lichen/Hair – Vampire Red

  • Gem – Alien Purple

 
 

We’ll start by blocking out the different areas of Caduceus 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. 

Caduceus is wearing two main 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, lichen and accessories.  

Start by filling in the armour sections and the trousers. After that you can work around the miniature blocking in each remaining color, concentrating on the neatness and getting a solid coverage.  

You might need to do two thin layers of paint rather than one thicker layer in order to get a solid coverage of paint when painting the lighter colors such as on Caduceus’ sleeves and skin. 

Step 2 - Second Layer: Brighten up your Base Coat 

  • Armour – Royal Cloak

  • Skin – Fog Grey

  • Trousers - Angel Green mixed with Wizards Orb (50/50)

  • Leather – Dirt Spatter

  • Hat – Skeleton Bone

  • Shirt – Ash Grey

  • Lichen/Hair – Pixie Pink

  • Gem – Oozing Purple

 
 

Now 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, the 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 Caduceus. This will help limit any slips 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! 

It’s best to paint the Lichen colors on last so you don’t have to work around the small details.  

Step 3 - Third Layer: Applying Some Washes 

  • Armour – Green and Blue Tone Mix (50/50)

  • Skin – N/A

  • Trousers - Green and Blue Tone Mix (50/50)

  • Leather – Strong Tone

  • Hat – Soft Tone

  • Shirt – N/A

  • Lichen/Hair – Red Tone

  • Gem – N/A

 
 

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. 

When applying the blue/green tone mix to Caduceus take care to not cover up the lichen areas as well. Use a small amount of wash on your brush and gently apply it to the correct areas for better control.  

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.  

Step 4 - Layer: Edge Highlights and Touch Ups

  • Armour – Elemental Bolt

  • Skin – Stone Golem

  • Trousers - Wizards Orb

  • Leather – Dirt Spatter

  • Hat – Skeleton Bone

  • Shirt – Stone Golem

  • Lichen/Hair – Centaur Skin

  • Gem – Oozing Purple mixed with White (50/50)

 
 

After we have applied the washes to add depth and enhance the detail of the areas, we can 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 mini 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 daggers.  

The highlights at this stage are quite small and pronounced. They cover only the uppermost areas on cloth folds and sharpest of edges. We do this to add more contrast between the light and shadowed areas and increase the look of light shining on the various materials. 

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 black 

When highlighting the Lichen try to paint inside of the previous color you applied, leaving a small amount of the previous color showing as a border. This enhances the effect and helps it to stand out.  

Step 5 - Final Highlights 

  • Armour – Kraken Skin

  • Skin – Stone Elemental Bolt

  • Leather – Werewolf Fur

  • Hat – Drake Tooth

  • Shirt – White

  • Lichen/Hair – Centaur Skin mixed with White (75:25)

  • Gem – White

 
 

This layer is an extra step that we can use to boost the colors and contrast on Caduceus even further. The highlights will be pretty small at this stage so its best to use a size 00 or 000 brush. 

Just like before we want to concentrate these onto the very raised areas, sharpest edges and smallest details.  

Step 6 – Finishing Touches 

Congratulations – you can add a painted Caduceus to the party!

This is an extra stage where you can choose to add another layer of highlights or go back to the mini and pick out small details, paint in Eyes/mouth or enhance the details by taking the Size 000 brush and Matt Black, and 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 them 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 to show it to the community, Critical Role and Steamforged Games!