Highlighting is a miniature painting technique that involves adding lighter colors to the raised areas of a model in order to create depth and contrast. It can be used to accentuate specific features and make a miniature pop, adding an extra layer of detail to your work. Here is an in-depth guide to highlighting miniatures:


  • Miniature to be painted
  • Paints (at least two shades, one light and one dark)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Palette or mixing surface
  • Water (for thinning paints and cleaning brushes)

Step 1: Basecoat Start by painting your miniature with the basecoat color of your choice. This will be the darkest shade used for highlighting, so make sure it contrasts well with the lighter shade you will be using for highlights.

Step 2: Choose the Highlight Color Select a highlight color that is lighter than the basecoat color. This will be used to paint the raised areas of the miniature. You can mix the highlight color with a small amount of white to make it lighter, or mix in a darker color to create a warmer or cooler highlight.

Step 3: Determine the Light Source Consider where the light source is coming from in your scene. This will help you determine which areas of the miniature to highlight. For example, if the light source is coming from the top left, you would highlight the top left areas of the miniature.

Step 4: Apply the Highlight Color Using a small brush, carefully paint the highlight color onto the raised areas of the miniature. You want to keep the color within the highlighted areas only, so try to avoid painting outside of those areas.

Step 5: Blend the Highlight Color To create a smooth transition between the highlight and basecoat colors, blend the highlight color into the basecoat color. You can do this by using a dry brush to gently feather the edges of the highlight color into the basecoat color.

Step 6: Add Additional Layers Depending on the level of detail you want to achieve, you can add additional layers of highlight color to build up the contrast and make the highlights more pronounced. Just be sure to blend each layer to create a smooth transition.

Step 7: Final Touches After you are satisfied with the level of highlighting, you can add some final touches such as edge highlighting or glazing to further refine the miniature.

Highlighting can take some practice to perfect, but with time and patience, it can add a new level of depth and realism to your miniatures. Keep experimenting with different colors and techniques to find what works best for you and your painting style.