Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Painting monsters monstrously fast

In the 'pre game chat' phase of an RPG session the other day, people were showing their fantasy figures (as you do) which for me includes this big guy:

This is of course Reaper's Bones version of Cthulhu. When I mentioned that I painted this monster in probably less than an hour overall painting time, some disbelief was expressed. In this post, I'll explain the technique I used to paint Cthulhu by painting another figure using the same technique.

The technique in question is ink staining over a black base coat with a very heavy white dry brush on top of it. Staining ink over this results in an immediate shading effect. Let's show this on a figure of a forest troll. First, the black base coat:

Then, heavy dry brush of white:

And then the colour layers come in. Basically, just flow ink all over the areas that need colour. I use Windsor & Newton inks -- I've put the colors I've used in the photographs below:

And that's really all there is to it. With just two applications of ink (with a day between them to allow it to dry), this figure is pretty much done. I will add some detail to the teeth, nails and fungi like protrusions on the troll's body, but the main part of the figure is finished.

This is not a new technique by any stretch. I know of at least two other people who use it. One is Ed from the venerable and now long disappeared Ed's Hobby Hovel, the other is a French guy from the Lille club who uses it to successfully turn out thousands of 15mm figures for his painting service customers.


  1. I adhere to the doctrine that if you get good results with technique "A", then no matter how unorthodox it may be just use it.....bugger the "proper" way! These minis turned out great, and with minimal work they're even better.

    Well done :)

  2. That's a nice Cthulhu. Thanks for the call out. I was very surprised at the end there. Yeah, I used to paint a ton of stuff like that. I've cycled through a couple other styles since, sometimes changing just out of boredom. But that style sure was faster than what I've been doing lately.

    I put up a Google sites page a little while ago to restore a tiny bit of Ed's Hobby Hovel, mainly the Rencounter rules: The original was archived by the Wayback Machine at, which I used to fish that copy of Rencounter back out. But most of my recent blogging has been at

    1. Thanks! Your site was a huge inspiration back in the early days of the web. Glad to hear you're still active and some of the content is back