Red Hair Tutorial Part One: Dain Deepaxe

Over on the Reaper Forums I started a red hair tutorial and thought I would cross post it here as well. I love painting red hair and have done so on a far amount of miniatures. The fun part with any hair color is you can use almost any shade and vary it from mini to mini as real hair has so many different shades and variations naturally even on just one person.

I plan on painting three miniatures with red hair for this tutorial and varying it on each one. Here are the paints I selected for this tutorial.

FullSizeRender (21)

And of course the victims.


This part will be all about Reaper’s Bones Dain Deepaxe 77074. Here is my palette of colors I used on him.

dwarf colors


Bottom row (left to right)

1:1 Brown liner / Auburn Shadow

Auburn Shadow

Carrot Top Red

Middle row (left to right)

1:1 Highlight orange/ Blonde Shadow

Highlight orange

1:1 Auburn Shadow:highlight orange (I mix this up to help blend some transitions)

Top row

Blonde Shadow

Not pictured

Brown liner (step one)

Blonde Hair (final highlight)

I usually mix these up as I go but since I am trying to capture each step I mixed it all at the beginning. To preserve the paint I put a wet sponge on top of the wells I was not using especially since I paused for photos and of course to pet my dogs when they ask for attention.

Step One: For Dain I started with my Brown liner and painted all his hair. I wasn’t as concerned about coverage at this point as you can see in the photo. However I did make sure all the recesses had a good coat with no white showing.

dwarf 1


Step two: Here I took my mix of brown liner/Auburn Shadow and made sure to get a nice even coverage, in the deepest recesses you can still see the brown liner but most of it was covered.

dwarf 2

Step three: Finally he is beginning to look like a red head. I took Auburn Shadow and broadly applied paint to all the surfaces that aren’t in shadow. At this point the only brush I used on him was my synthetic round 2

dwarf 3

Step four: Time for carrot top red. I make sure my paint is the consistency of skim milk at this point and will likely go over an area at least twice sometimes three if I need better coverage. I am still keeping my highlights fairly broad but a bit tighter than the last step. This is the final step I used my round 2 for.

dwarf 4

Step five: This step I switch my brush to my sable round one, and I keep my round 2 close by damp so if I need to feather out some paint with it I can or if I mess up and want to take off some paint I can use it for that as well. I think this step you can really begin to see the highlights taking shape. I took my highlight orange and again just like step four applied the paint carefully where I want it with a few passes until I get the coverage I want.

dwarf 5

At this point sometimes I will feel it is necessary to use a glaze of my Auburn Shadow to hit up transition areas. I define glaze here as a super thin paint almost to wash consistency that I diluted with distilled water that with only a small amount on my brush I apply just where I need to ease the color transition. I did not do a glaze on him I felt overall his hair looks ok without it and I wanted to show how you can get away without it especially for a gaming table top mini.

Step six : I skipped using my highlight orange and blonde shadow mix and went with just my blonde shadow for this step. I could use the mix to ease some transitions but for hair especially beards I think it can work without it. Keeping the highlights much smaller and trying to pick out where I really want my light reflections I used my blonde shadow and again did this a few times until I achieved the proper coverage.

dwarf 6

Step seven: Not a big difference from step six just tighter highlights. I used Blonde hair (sorry I didn’t have it on the palette at the beginning) again thin like skim milk. And carefully applied the highlights on the tops of the areas that the light would hit  the most.

dwarf 7

And that’s it if I was planning to paint him up to a higher standard I would go back and glaze over some of the transitions and possibly revisit the highlights as the glaze would tone them down. But for a fairly simple but effective red head he works, and overall the steps are fairly minimal.

I shall paint the ladies within the next week and let them share the spot light as well. For now goodnight and happy painting.

~ by liviasminiatures on August 17, 2015.

3 Responses to “Red Hair Tutorial Part One: Dain Deepaxe”

  1. That’s great! Thanks so much for sharing this! I may have to go grab that carrot top color!

  2. I’m new to miniatures and currently painting Dain, myself. Would you be willing to share any more pictures. You did a really wonderful job!

    • Thank you. I actually only used Dain for this red hair tutorial. At some point I may paint him up the rest of the way. Look at the reaper gallery for some excellent photos of him. Hope you have fun painting him up feel free to post some photos I’d love to see him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: