Pre-shading and Pre-texturing (Tutorial)

A while ago I’ve bumped into some tutorials by Aythami Alonso Torrent on his YouTube channel – specifically the ones detailing what he calls ‘sketching’, a technique roughly resembling the pre-shading techniques used by some scale modellers. The idea is to start with black undercoat, follow with pure white wherever you want the highest contrast highlights to be, and only then add the proper colours with translucent glazes/washes. It allows for great looking, high contrast highlist with much less effort than classic layering

I’ve tried this technique out on a couple of minis, like this Deadshot:


…and this Batfleck:


As I’m a quite lazy painter when it comes to miniatures (especially since painting up the terrain kits has become part of my job description), I must say I was really happy with Aythami’s technique as it allowed for cool looking results very, very fast. And as I had a quite intricate piece that required a lot of contrasting highlights coming to the webstore (namely, the Guardians of Traffic), I’ve decided to try using this technique on a larger piece, using it not only to add highlights, but also a bit of a rough limestone texture. Here’s the final result:


Not bad for little over a an hour of painting, right? If you want to get your Guardians (or any other similar terrain piece) looking like this, below you will find a simple step by step for achieving such look.

Step by step: Pre-shading and Pre-texturing terrain: Guardians of Traffic


  • Airbrush
  • Fine painbrush
  • Blister sponge


  • Chaos Black Primer
  • Vallejo Grey Primer
  • Vallejo Game Color White
  • Vallejo Model Air Sand Yellow
  • Vallejo Glaze Medium

Step 1: Priming

The pillar with statue was primed with GW’s Chaos Black Primer

Step 2: Midtone

I wanted a bit more subtle transitions on such a large piece and decided to use Vallejo Grey Primer to add midtones before going with pure white.

Step 3: Texture

Using scraps of blister foam the same way I did on the concrete barriers, I’ve added rough patches of pure white, focusing mainly on the upper parts of the moddel.

Step 4: Highlight

Now it was time to refine the results a bit. Using painbrush, I did some edge highlights on the upper parts of the model.

Step 5: Adding Color

Now it’s time to add some color to the piece. I hate cleaning the airbrush, so I didn’t want to use more than one color – I went with Vallejo Model Air Sand Yellow, mixed in a little over 50:50 ratio with Vallejo Glaze Medium. In hindsight I guess I should go with even higher amount of Glaze Medium, so the paint doesn’t cover the highlights and textures with a layer that’s too opaque.

Step 6: End Result

And here’s the end result. A bit rough in the close-up, but looking good on the table – and saves you a lot of hassle with highlighting. I guess it can be even more effective if more than one color is used and the pure white shows fromĀ  beneath several translucent layers.

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