Friday, October 9, 2015


Here is a technique that I have developed through years of painting and find it most usefull up to this day.

Introduction: Five Layers Technique is a basic technique of choosing and applying colours. I especially reccomend it for begginers as it is simple, easy to learn, fast and rewarding. You can apply almost every colour using this technique and achieve good results as long as you choose proper paints to do so. It is especially good for either painting entire army 'tabbletop level' or preparing a miniature for much more complex paintjob.

The main concept of Five Layers Technique is to paint different colours using five layers of paint. Starting with a foundation layer, covered with base layer, finished with highlights, all being washed and edged. Here's an example of how does it look like when finished:

Choosing colours: It does not matter if you have a steady hand and a lot of patience - if you pick your paints badly this method will not work. Choosing proper colours is the key to succeed. The colours should pe picked in this order:

* Base layer: pick up a medium tone colour,
* Foundation layer: choose darked version of the base colour,
- The exception to this rule is if you would like to keep the colour bright such as bone, vibrant purple, creme, yellow, etc. In this case a little bit brighter, preferrably pastelle foundation colour will do.
* Finish layer: choose a brighter version of the base colour.
- Try to keep it the same distance as it is between Base and Foundation layer.
* Wash layer: use either same colour wash or brown.
-  Brown wash fits in most cases. Be aware tho - it will do much damage if you pair it with pink, purple, violet or white.

Here's and example of a proper layer set:

Applying colours: Let's talk about how to apply choosen colours. There are some rules that must be followed. Below is the order and all the important leads:

- Foundation layer: Must be painted thoroghly. Paint should be delivered into recesses and cover all the flat areas, in the same time it must be kept from obscuring details too much. Some water may be added to the paint to ease the process.

- Base layer: May be painted scruffy and without dedication. Paint should be applied to all the flat areas and bulges leaving some of the Founation layer visible around it. Protruding areas should be 'base' covered wholly. I susually use flat brush for this layer to quicken the process and leave some Foundation layer visible without effort.

- Finish layer: Is the hardest part. Only protruding elements, central parts of flat and bulged areas should be covered. Some 'edging' may be done but next layer will render it almost invisible.

- Wash layer: Is the easy part. A lot of wash should be applied onto efery surface with no regard for details. Medium brush is good for the job as brushes too small won't keep a lot of wash in them.

- Finish layer: Goes once again. Only protruding elements, central parts of flat and bulged areas should be covered but some parts of previous Finish layer should stay visible. At this point 'edging' is desirable.

Here's a step-by-step example of this method:

That's it :) Below are some colours recepee examples for this tutorial:

 Foundation: Khorne Red (GW), Karak Stone (GW), Xereus Purple (GW), Tausept Ochre (GW), Stegadon Scale Green (GW), Regal Blue (GW),

 Base: Wazdakka Red (GW), Skeleton Bone (AP), Liche Purple (GW), Golden Yellow (GW), Hawk Turquise (GW), Ultramarine Blue (GW), 

 Finish: Wild Rider Red (GW), Skeleton Bone (AP) + White, Genestealer Purple (GW), Golden Yellow (GW) + White, Hawk Turquise (GW) + White, Lothern Blue (GW),

 Wash: Red Tone Ink (AP), Strong Tone Ink (AP, Purple Ink (AP), Seraphim Sepia (GW), Turquise Ink (P3), Blue Tone Ink (AP),

 This how it looks like when Wash dries up,

Final Finish: Wild Rider Red (GW), Skeleton Bone (AP) + White, Genestealer Purple (GW), Golden Yellow (GW) + White, Hawk Turquise (GW) + White, Lothern Blue (GW),

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful.

Steel for humans...
Silver for monsters...
Brush for miniatures ;)


  1. Bookmarked ^.^
    Thanks for the valuable knowledge!

    1. Many thanks mate! Another tutorial will be done using the same technique, this time 'painting metal'. Pictures will be of much better quality and there will be a new colour recipee. Stay tuned for saturday 17th ;)