Step by Step - Supreme intelligence bust

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong


This following step by step article will explain my thoughts i had while painting the great bust "Supreme Intelligence" by Schell Sculpture Studio. If you are intrested in the sculpt, which measures 7 inches including the socket you can have more insight in Miniature unpacked about it.

The decision to paint this bust came up with browsing Mr. Schells Homepage. I finally decided too get my hands on one cast to put it to life. Many thanks at this point to corteaous Schell Sculpture Team. Now i invite you, the reader to get down with me to a journey on a really pleasurable bust to paint and also a journey into my mind.

You might encounter problems reading the article and doing completly what i have done as i am often finding my way through a miniature without a fixed plan - I often let the colours decide the path and the project grows from itself. Hard to describe that, sorry. I hope you enjoy this even without exact rules and get an insight into my work. If there are questions or anything else, please feel invited to let me know via comment.


The sketch

My painting style is mostly from rough sketchy painting into detail. So in the beginning there is nothing i can do wrong, just enjoy painting. I did prime the bust with only white primer, as my black primer was out this day. Now i had a great white area too strike and push it dark.

I am still in the middle of tryouts with oil colours and start to love them, even they are a bit tricky when you are used to acrylics. I thought about the approach on the model and wanted to start very bright to bring my areas to darkness via glazing acrylics and oil colours in a wild mix - yeah i know that isn't really a plan but i told you this will be a journey.

After the white primer i applied a gentle touch of a blueish grey via airbrush (some acrylics by citadel, maybe a space wolfs grey with bleached bone or a mix looking similar to that, like a tip of hawk tourquise in space wolfs grey but you will soon realize that this doesn't really matter yet) - Just to stop the white from being white. Why i didn't do the primer this way i can't really tell, maybe i felt that a thicker primer should be under it all.

During being in the middle of the upper explained step i have realized that i will hit the bust from the low with a darker hue of the same colour. Therefore i did put some a tiny amout of black into the mix, but also this doesn't really matter yet, haha... i was a bit too wet with the airbrush mix and here is a photo still showing the wetness of it all, running down, but as i am still sketchy to find my way everything is fine...

Next i have used Umbra Oil Colour to hit the dried bust with it. I am using white spirit to thin it down and this really gave the bust a more visible vision, even it is still sketchy and oily...


As the bust was still in strike range i decided to do the same with some darker blue oil colour to add more shadows. Here you can see a little insight in the White spirit oil colour, you can do great glazes with it afterwards during detail work or hit the fan with full power and pump some thick colour on your model. I did it my way and used the dirty option first as i am still sketching. I am not really into Oil Colours yet, just testing around and i guess as soon as i learn more from these experiments i'll let you all know.


Now it was about 3~4 days to dry the oil colours i have applied. I don't owe an oil stove to make this progress go faster and i also heard that the colours dried inside the stove dry much matter than usual. I do not worry yet. Still sketchy, but after it was dry and i as looking at it for several days i knew the way to go. All the sculpted skin crinkles need attention and i wanted to bring the viewers eyes up to the head, so there would be the highest dark/bright contrast to find. During several weeks i motivated myself to put time into this wrinkle task, hitting the wrinkles that i saw while walking over the face with mixes from Graveyard Earth, highlighted under the "rules" of zenithal lightning with sometimes bleached bone and sometimes rotting flesh, two familiar bright tones. This really took me long and i did on several different occasios with a sharp tipped brush...the colour was not as thin as a casual glaze, it was more like the consestancy  of 'milk' and was used without too much water in the brush (that's why my thumb is always full of colour)

After this i again switched back to glazing in some Dark Flesh by Citadel. Photo seems a bit too reddish but i hope you get what i mean.

The next step seems even harder to explain. About 2 weeks past, i took my time to clean up dirty places, remains from my sketching work. When you see a spot you'd like to call dirty it is mostly a colour transition problem. Two colours that are in different hues lay next to eachother. Just mix the tone between them by mixing them to clean up the area you wish to clean, milky again - this brings several layers of colour, but still thin enough to not damage the sculpted detail of the model. These layers bring more power to your colour as they make the area you work appear more stronger - you might understand what i mean if you take several same coloured polythene foil on top of eachother. The bust took its time with scuh detail work but was always fun to work on. I catched myself doing a photo after a very nice painting night at some friends house where i decided to work with darker blueish tone on the chest. Somehow i wanted this colour difference, it saw the bust standing before me and it cried out louf for this. I took some black and tourquise and blue to dark it down with glazes. This appeared too dark and i decided to go back to the white primer on the chest to bring in some thin pure white again, i took the hit from above to make the light there fit into the overall light situation...

Next i again switched back to my blues and dark mixes i have used before to glaze over the white areas to make them fit better in the overall appereance. Meanwhile the work in the face with cleaning up the mess proceeded and went softer. Photo is a bit too greenish. The socket has been painted black to be the right frame of the miniature - why i do paint my sockets black.

Final work time has begun. I now took my to redefine fine lines and wrinkles with the bright tone on top of them and the darker tones in the depths. I did so at the chest and the face mainly, sure on the back to but that wasn't the place of my most attention. This again took time.

I remember shooting photos of how i have done the eyes but they are missing so i have to say sorry at this point. But i can explain my thoughts and approach. I long time thought about on how to go at the eyes. Bright actionfull eyes would not fit the mood of the model and would draw too much attention in a too positive way to the eyes. I did not want that as this bust shows an Alien, a supreme being of a supreme intelligent race and he should not be friendly in my eyes and his. I did choose a kind of a simple way for the eyes - keeping them dark, dark with no message, no feelings. For this i painted them black completly and start to mix in a tiny brush tip of grey to paint the first highlight via glazing to the lower part of the eye. I went about 2 steps brighter to the lower area until i had a fine bright line. Very similiar to the way gems are painted and explained on Fantasy Miniatures. After this was done i did take pure white to place tiny light points in the eyes and the next step was full of gloss varnish. I did apply unthinned gloss varnish all over the eyeballs for about 3~4 times.

As i was in varnish mode i decided to put a thin layer of satin varnish over the skin via airbrush, suddenly sometimes a drop of gloss varnish also was found in it. All applied thinned 50/50 with water in the airbrush. Now it was drying time again. I then put some final hours in the detail work in the face, wrinkles, wrinkles, wrinkles and wrinkles and decided that my vision i was searching for in this bust was fullfilled in the end...


This step by step hopefully brings you an insight into my work with colours. Surely i sometimes do have a plan about a project but i also love this way. The way of colours to be the executioners, planners and guides. Important is that you always know that what you do right in that moment comes from the heart and is a long time sketch, detail work can be done always and by everyone by just putting more and more time into it. If you are intrested in letting colours decide your path, just grap that experience.

You can find more views and details of the model here and here.


I wish that this article could help the one or the other, even it is nothing more than a brainstorm. If you got something to tell or ask please feel free to do so via a comment. I shall response as i am able.

Keep on happy painting!
Best Regards

PS: The bust is for sale! Contact me via jarhead---at---massivevoodoo---dot---com if you are intrested.


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