Eye of Darkness and Light

Author: Arturo Arellano Miniatures
Materials covered:
Techniques covered: , ,

First I start with a double priming, first with black for better adhesion and then white so the details pop out and our colors are brighter when applied. Over all black it would take more layers and in the end the colors will feel a little bit more dull.

I used Scale 75 black and white primers, applied with an airbrush.

Scale 75 – Black Primer
Scale 75 – White Primer

For the basecoat I go for a dense layer of Hull Red from Vallejo mixed with a little bit of Orange Red from Vallejo. I don’t thin my paint at all, as I want a very solid basecoat.

Vallejo – Hull Red
Vallejo – Orange Red

For the next steps I used an old brush that has its hair opened like in the pic. This is a very worn synthetic brush, perfect for this kind of work where detail and precision are not needed.

I give another coat of the base mix and let it dry a little bit.

Vallejo – Hull Red
Vallejo – Orange Red

I keep adding more orange to the mix and I start painting wet on wet, leaving random patches of the new mix over the still wet base coat. This will give color variation and will start faking the clay look.

Vallejo – Orange Red
Vallejo – Hull Red

When the tablet starts to dry, the orange patches become more obvious. The process can be repeated multiple times, even going back and forth between colors until you are satisfied with the look. Control and precision are not needed, so the more random, the better.

I keep applying the same technique and I start adding Valllejo Ochre Brown to the mix. This is much more noticeable because we start moving from oranges to yellows. Too much ochre will make the contrast too high making it look weird, so less is more in this case.

Vallejo – Ochre Brown

I carefully paint the inside of the symbols with a mix of black and red ink from Scale 75. This will give them a very glossy finish, but it doesn’t matter at this point. Any very dark color will work here as long as it’s an intense dark/reddish brown. Inks give a lot of saturation to the color, what is very good for shadows.

Scale 75 – Inktense – Red
Scale 75 – Inktense – Black

With the same mix, I paint the inside of the bigger cracks and add definition on shadow areas.

In places where there’s a lot of noise I used that same mix, but very thinned, to apply some kind of “wash”. I circled those parts in the pic.

Scale 75 – Inktense – Red
Scale 75 – Inktense – Black

Due to the colors used in the mix I lost some saturation, so what I did to recover it and give the piece a more “deserty” look is apply a filter with Cassandora Yellow from Citadel, diluted with thinner in a 1:5 ratio. I used an airbrush for this step, but if you use a brush, dilute it more.

At this point it’s important to remember that less is more – too much will make the piece look yellow. I just wanted to give the color a little bit of punch as if it was under the scorching sun of the desert.

At this point it can be called finished, but let’s play a bit more with it.

Citadel – Casandora Yellow

Let’s use powder pigments to give the tablet a very believable stony/dusty look!

Pigments are just paint in its powder form, not mixed with any medium to create a liquid.

I usually use a round, soft brush for this. I take small quantities of the pigment and start rubbing it in randomly, as if you were applying make up.

Leave all the “specks” that fall from the brush as you are rubbing it, as this will give it a lot more detail. We will fix them to the prop later on.

I use Medium Rust from Ammo MIG for this step.

This is the brush I use and the quantities of pigment I usually scoop. Those specks will fall out on the prop while rubbing it around. If you don’t want them, just remove them with the brush or blow them off.


You shouldn’t touch the places where the pigment is applied yet, nor place paint, water or anything liquid as it will remove it.

This can also be an advantage – if you don’t like the pigment in an area, just use a brush with water to remove it.

Dry pigment in its pot.

Ammo MIG – Pigment – Medium Rust

To fix the pigment to the prop, you can use either pigment fixers, which you can purchase with the pigments, or turpentine. This two will give permament results.

Other fixers such as airbrush thinners or some varnishes can be used, but those won’t be as permament and will go away if you manipulate the piece too much.

I load the brush with pigment fixer and start touching the surface with the tip. Due to its nature, it will cover large surfaces leaving the pigment unaltered. It takes a while to dry and will leave a glossy finish. Don’t do anything until it’s perfectly dry.

I placed more pigment in random spots as I wasn’t satisfied with the results. I wanted more texture and specks.

Ammo MIG – Pigment – Medium Rust

I add Sand pigment from Ammo MIG in random places.

Ammo MIG – Pigment – Medium Rust

All is left is giving a good matt varnish finish to add final protection and remove all the glossiness from inks and pigment fixer.

Back to Tutorial Archive

Stay in the prop-loop! Join our newsletter for news, freebies and more.

Copyright © 2024 Props&Beyond
Privacy and Cookie Policy
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram