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.

Painting Tutorial: Concrete Barriers (Versatiles: Dark City)



  • brush with a fine tip
  • masking tape (5-6mm will be the easiest to use, but any will do)
  • scraps of blister foam


  • Vallejo Gray Primer
  • VMC Dark Bluegrey
  • VMC Medium Sea Grey
  • VMC German Camo Beige
  • VGC Black
  • VGC Heavy Goldbrown
  • Army Painter Strong Tone


Spray paint all the barriers with light gray primer (e.g. Vallejo Gray Primer)


Use a piece of blister foam to cover the barrier with uneven splotches of VMC Dark Bluegrey. You don’t need to be very thorough, leave some of the lighter gray showing.


Do the same with VMC German Camo Beige, focusing mostly on the edges, with just a splotch or two here and there. This will not only serve as a kind of pre-weathering (imitating breaks in concrete at the edges), but also as a way to vary the tone a bit, so it’s not all flat gray.


Continue using the blister foam, this time painting with VMC Medium Sea Grey. Cover the piece fairly thoroughly, with only some of the beige and other grey tones showing.


Use a masking tape to protect the parts outside the security stripes as shown.



Once again use the blister foam for painting, this time with VGC Heavy Goldbrown. I didn’t use the masking tape for the top stripe as it was fairly easy to just use a piece of foam with a more regular edge. The use of blister foam helped us achieve the look of rough concrete texture earlier on, and now it will help us get the security stripes looking as if the paint was quite old and flaking.


Using a brush and heavily diluted VGC Black, paint the black stripes over every second yellow one. If you do it right (read: keep the paint quite thin), you’ll get a nice look of weathered black paint over flaking yellow. Make sure the stripes match the other barriers you’ve already painted (so all the end pieces are either yellow or black).


Now, using the Army Painter Strong Tone, we’ll add some dirty streaks to the barriers. Using a brush, place a pool of ink on the side of the barrier and after 2-3 seconds pull down quickly with a brush, possibly wiping away the excess with your thumb. This will allow for easy modulation between parts where the dirty water pooled on top of the barrier and the fading streaks.