This is a re-posting of the older sheer tutorial from my previous website version with some new added information. I will be redoing this tutorial with better information and examples and a wet fabric tutorial at a later date.
The miniature used in this tutorial is 2632 Jahenna, Vampire, sculpted by Dennis Mize and produced by Reaper Miniatures. This is a very good example piece as you can not miss where the skin goes!
I personally consider “Sheer” as three different types. The “sheer sheer” is where the cloth is pretty much nonexistent and unnoticeable next to bare skin, “demi-sheer” where you have just the barest glimpses of skin under the cloth and not as much skin detail showing, and “wet fabric” sheer where the cloth is actively sticking to the skin and changing as it dries. “Wet fabrics” have different shadows and highlight placements than either version of dry sheer cloth.
It is very easy to go from “sheer sheer” to “demi-sheer” by overdoing the fabric and because of this, this tutorial is done as “demi-sheer”, the easier of the two to follow along with. Likewise, I have chosen blue as the color for this tutorial as it is easier to correct and learn with than white or darker sheer colors.
It’s always a good idea to eyeball your miniatures while cleaning them and get an idea of what you would like do with the miniature color wise. This also gives you the chance to do any conversions you might want to add. For me, this is also the time where I map out where exactly my sheer is going to go and how sheer I want to make the figure.
One of the most important tricks to sheer fabrics is painting your skin normally! This means the full shadows, highlights and mid tones just as if your model didn’t have any clothes on. If you skip this step, your sheer will look off. I also recommend dull coating your miniature, as this will protect your hard work on the skin and allow you to “erase” some of the paint later if you mess up while doing the fabric.
The below pictures show you the model and the black lines show where I plan to put skin tone. It’s very important to follow the body when doing sheer. It’s also very important to know how each different sheer behaves so you know how much skin you need in each area of the body.
The following pictures show her base coated. The base coating step of skin is important because it lays out exactly where your skin will be showing through the cloth. If the legs, arms or any part that will be under cloth does not look like it belongs now, it won’t look good when you are done and needs to be corrected here.
If you get the flesh tone on the cloth where there won’t be flesh showing, that is not a problem as the skin color does reflect slightly in sheer fabric. If you are messy and hit the areas where the cloth will be solid it is coverable and it is better to go a little over than not have enough skin painted. However, you don’t want to be too messy or you’ll make more work for yourself when it comes time to layer in the sheer.
Since this mini has one leg up and leaning against the gravestone, it is important to get both sides of the leg painted so that they look even from the front. Her left side shows clearly where the leg should go, but it is not as well laid out on her right.
Since I am happy with the above base coat, I’ll finish up the skin, face, eyes and mouth. I highlight all of the skin areas fully before I start laying in the sheer fabric. Finishing the skin completely is VERY important!
I start with an extremely thin wash of blue over the all the cloth covered skin. In this case I used Vallejo’s Transparent Blue. It should be thin enough that when you spread a brush load over your pallet, you can see the pallet’s color.
I consider the face to be the life of any miniature, most importantly, the eyes. If the eyes look bad then the entire miniature will look bad, no matter how good the paint job. This tutorial shows how I paint the eyes on my figures.
To start the eyes, I do a base coat of skin over all the skin areas on the miniature. There is no need to worry about excess skin tone over the eyes if you are sloppy.
I then block in the eyes with white, again it doesn’t have to be perfectly neat at this stage and going larger is easier to correct than making the eyes too small.
Next I add in the eye color, in this case, a nice vibrant shade of green. If the green is too much it’s very easy to correct it by re-adding white at this stage.
The pupil and lining of the eyes is next. I fix the eyes to the final size at the time I line it. Anything outside the lined area gets touched up later with the base flesh color. For this figure I used a gray rather than a pure black to line the eyes. Pure black can often give the miniature a more pronounced set of eyes than is desirable. I’ve also used skin shadow tones or brown to line my eyes, if I feel the miniature needs a color other than gray.
I correct as needed at this stage. When I am happy with the eyes, I add a white “hot spot” to give them extra life and the gaze further direction.
If the lining is too dark at the top of the eyes or uneven at any point, I don’t worry about it at this stage. It gets corrected when I add eyeshadow and blend the skintones to finish the rest of the face.
It is important to note that eyes take a lot of practice. Acrylic is also a very forgiving medium. As long as your paint is thin, you can paint over or correct an area many times.