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How to Paint Realistic Stone for Miniatures

Painting realistic stonework will enhance and make the diorama look more believable.

Painting realistic stonework will enhance and make the diorama look more believable.

How to Dry Brush a Miniature Piece

The first time I picked up a White Dwarf magazine back in 1991, dry brushing was a very popular technique used by wargamers. It's an easy method to follow, and many miniature painters like to utilize this technique of painting.

Today, more painting techniques are available, which means miniatures painters don't dry brush as much. However, it's widely used in painting miniature terrain and from the looks of it, it's not going anywhere. All miniature painters at one time or another will have to dry brush to paint their groundwork.

What is dry brushing?

Drybrushing is a method to highlight the raised surfaces of a miniature by applying a very small amount of paint to your flat brush and then dragging it across the grain of a surface to create texture.

How to Dry Brush

Begin by painting from the ground up.

  1. To create textures such as miniature stones and rocks, dry brushing is usually done with the darkest colors first.
  2. This is followed by the second layer of paint with a lighter color.
  3. Successive layers would be lighter each time.
  4. The final color would be white or almost white. For example, when a base color is dark brown, a medium-brown color is used for dry brushing next. This is followed by a light-brown or yellow color over the previous layer.
  5. Once done, place the dead leaves, grass or paint algae on your rocks to complete your miniature masterpiece. Have fun!


  • The key to creating realistic-looking stones to study scenes or photos of rock formations.
  • Note all the colors present, from dark to light. Then, apply the darkest colors first and work up to the lightest one.
  • Build the layers as thinly and slowly as possible so you can monitor the progress and not overdo it.
  • Try not to accidentally cover up all the bottom paint layers on your miniature during the buildup or else you will get a flat texture and have to start all over again.

How to Dry Brush a Miniature Model


Turbothingy on May 06, 2010:

What have you used for the tree and foliage, and also, I notice the colours you use are not citidel colours, what are they? Do you recommend any particular paints for particular purposes?



Sharif Ishnin (author) from Singapore on February 17, 2010:

Thanks. Yes, it should be good for warhammer as well.:)

jayjay40 from Bristol England on February 17, 2010:

Love the hub, I'll use this for my warhammer buildings. Thanks for sharing