Footsore Flashback: A Guide to Painting Faces

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Sculpting, Painting and Gaming.

This week we offer you another chance to read Pedro Guerra Cernadas’ guide to painting faces. A popular article on the Footsore Miniatures’ website, we bring you this post as a spiritual sequel to his excellent guide to painting wood, which you can read here.



Wood, metal, cloth, skin, facial hair and fancy shield designs are the main things you will need to paint in your Dark Age army.

Today I’m going to share my guide to painting skin. The face is one of the most important parts of a figure, so it deserves a lot of attention

Before we start, there are two important things that will help you get a nice result:

  • A well sculpted and cast miniature (and Footsore makes superb ones).
  • Thinning down the paint and applying thin layers.

All the paints used are by Vallejo. Let’s start:

1. I like to prime my figures in a light grey (I use Vallejo surface primer grey), and then apply a wash with Umber Wash (73.203), this brings out all the details of the figure.


2. Apply the base coat of the skin using Flat Flesh (70.955). Allowing the previous wash be seen through this base coat will create some shadows on the face.


3. Apply a wash to the whole surface with Fleshtone Shade (73.204).


4. Make a wash with Flat Earth (70.983) mixing one drop of paint with three of water. Apply it to the deeper areas (both sides of the nose, under the lip, the gap with the helmet, the neck etc), then apply a wash with Umber Wash (73.203) to the eyes and mouth.


5. Paint the eyes and the teeth with Ivory (70.918), leaving a thin outline.


It will be easier to turn the figure upside down when painting the left eye (or the right to us lefties!)


6. Paint the pupils with black. You can paint it in different positions to change direction the miniature is looking, but you have to paint the pupil in the same place in both eyes.


7. Apply the highlights using Flat Flesh (70.955), and then add another highlight using a mixture of two parts of Flat Flesh (70.955) and one part of Ivory (70.918).


8. Paint the eyebrow using two thin lines of Chocolate Brown (70.872).


9. Prepare a glaze by mixing a drop of water or medium with a little bit of Cavalry Brown (70.982) on the tip of the brush.


Here you can see the difference between a wash and a glaze.


Apply the glaze on it on the cheeks. The first layer will not be appreciable, but a nice tone will present itself with successive layers. It’s important to let each layer dry completely before applying the next (you can use a hair dryer to speed up the process) . I usually apply four or five layers.


10. Now prepare another glaze with a mixture of one part of Flat Flesh (70.955) and one part of Basalt Grey (70.869). Apply it to the top lip and jaw to create a five o’clock shadow.


11. Finally outline the face with a mixture of two parts black and one part Chocolate Brown (70.872).


Here are some examples of faces painted using this method:



About Pedro Guerra Cernadas

Hailing from Galicia, Spain, Pedro is a military history and modelling enthusiast. He started painting miniatures when only 9 years old, and hasn’t stopped since.



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About the Author

Paul L. Mathews
A born-again wargamer since 2015, Paul L. Mathews is now the editor at War Banner. He is also the head honcho at his own freelance enterprise, Tabletop Creative. A dull boy, Paul's interests include editing and staying up past his bedtime

1 Comment on "Footsore Flashback: A Guide to Painting Faces"

  1. The face painting is beautifully done! Have to get me a couple more 10-0 brushes. How do you keep yours sharp, or do you use a new one every x number of figures?

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