Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Squarg the Frog Rider - Part 1

It's time to unveil my latest work-in-progress and this time I've gone for a bit of a fairy tale theme. The mini is 'Squarg the Frog Rider' from Blacksmith Miniatures.
I first spotted Squarg some months ago and decided to paint him right there and then. I usually like to see a mini for real before I decide to buy; but I took a chance, and ordered him straight away. I wasn't disappointed, the sculpting by Allan Carrasco is exquisite and the casting is top quality!
I'm taking a different approach to painting the frog from my usual method and working with transparent layers over a light base colour. I think this will be the best way to achieve the subtle variations of colour and tone that make up a frog's markings. For reference I've used a selection of images of the European Common Frog. Although there are many shared features, the patterns and colouring on individual frogs can vary a great deal. Rather than trying to slavishly reproduce the makings from a particular frog, I'm picking and choosing features to give the look and feel I want for my frog. Having good reference will (hopefully) help me to paint my frog as naturalistically as possible.

The first stage consists of a series of transparent coloured glazes. Unusually for me I worked over the entire skin area creating a layer of under painting that will form a foundation for the frog's markings. Working this way also enabled me to test out and finalise the colour palette I'll be using.

The colours used in the frog's skin tones

Next I began to strengthen some of the colouring by building up further glazes. The intention is to leave the highlight areas with less layers of paint on them, so that light base colour shows through more than in the shaded areas. If successful this way of painting will give a rich and luminous colour, as the light passes through the layers of paint to bounce off the light basecoat beneath. I also started to paint in the frog's markings, a series of spots, splotches and stripes.

The colours for the eyes and markings

The intention is to create varied and natural looking textures within the marking. To achieve this they are built up with a combination of daubs, stippling glazes and sponging. Combining techniques makes for a less obviously painted look, I feel.

Progress on this mini has been surprisingly fast (for me) and that would seem to be as a result of the change in technique. The frog is turning out to be a really enjoyable mini to paint and I'm quite excited about how the project will develop.


  1. Wow thats quite disturbingly realistic, especially the face! I wonder how this technique would translate onto some river trolls.

    1. Nice idea! I think this way of painting would work really well on River Trolls.

  2. That seems like a very pleasant technique to use. The markings are very natural looking the the eyes are superb.

  3. Beautiful work - and as Ed said scarily realistic!

    Only issue would be the markings around the mouth that, though accurate, does leave you with the impression that the frog just ate a bar of chocolate... They could perhaps be toned down a bit?

    1. I've mixed feelings about the mouth so I'm holding off until I get a bit more done and then I probably will knock back the markings. That or I'll sculpt a half eaten bar of chocolate for the base ;)