How to Paint Water
Making It Look Really Impressive
You just got your new mini, a marvelous mermaid of the myriad monsters. Or perhaps a Lovecraftian octopus cthulhoid that will haunt your dreams. Those beings from the deep are fascinating, but what makes them more interesting is where they originate from, the deep blue sea. Water is the reason we can live on this planet, it makes most of our body composition, but bodies of water also house incredibly beautiful and scary creatures. Water can also be part of a castle moat, a waterfall in your battlemaps and so on. So how do we paint water and make it look impressive?
Diving Right Into the Base of It
One of the most common uses of water in minis is building water bases. Of course, a lot of aquatic creatures and characters you can get will already have a water base, but what if you want to build one, or make yours more realistic? Many mini collectors create water bases by using special kinds of epoxy, Vallejo still water, gloss varnish, or even some tricks with nail polish. Once you get your water base form/texture that feels liquid enough, you have to color it in a way it really looks like what you are trying to represent. Time to pick the colors of your water.
Eternal Blue, Eternal Beauty
Unless we are speaking of a mystical entity that lives in lavender lakes (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you will probably be using shades of blue or green for water. To build the nuances of depth and contrast, you can mix the same blue paint with some black for the deeper áreas, and with some white for the shallow areas.
Using those gradient techniques alongside the textures, you can achieve a really interesting look and feel. If the water has waves, you can give it more depth by using the darker tones under those structures.
Layers Upon Layers
Just because you decided to create water with an usual color, it doesn’t mean you cannot get a little bit more creative to make it interesting. Since you are already using the gradient techniques, how about making the water base or the larger body of water custom according to what you want it to mean? Is that a water base for a shark-like creature? Well, if there are sharks, some drops of blood can make it look more fierce. Is it a mermaid’s lair? So let’s make it shiny and pearlescent as much as we can. Fantasy art and minis aren’t about representing the real world as much as the world you would like to imagine. So go ahead and include some sickly green shades below your lovecraftian sea monster, or maybe the shadow of the bones of its last victims.
Finish It Up
It’s easy to get lost looking at water, so let’s try to avoid that thousand yard stare. Homogeneous substances can have this kind of hypnotic attraction, but it’s when you look closely that you can find what’s missing. If there’s foam, use some pure white to make it stand out. If there are tiny rocks or coral, make them the right colors to not be lost inside the water. Make the water in your minis or maps something you would be excited, mesmerized, or afraid to swim on.
Loot Studios can help you paint highly detailed minis, statues and props. Choose your favorite bundle from our previous releases or sign up for Fantasy or Sci-Fi to receive a new bundle every month. You can also check out some tips at our YouTube Channel.