When I first started learning to paint miniatures–I mean really trying to improve my work–I searched everywhere on the internet for the best tutorials for how to paint non-metallic metal (NMM). NMM-style painting is the method of painting metallic-looking objects using regular paint that doesn’t contain any reflective metal flake pigment.
Although, knowing how to paint NMM isn’t the “end all, be all” of mini painting techniques, it is very useful to have the concept of NMM in-mind. Being able to see reflective surfaces that aren’t actually on the model is a central aspect to painting NMM.
By practicing NMM techniques, you’re broadening your ability to envision how light interacts with objects in the world.
A non-internet resource for NMM instruction that I highly-recommend is this book by Angel Giraldez (more info below).
Here are the top 3 online sites I’ve found to be helpful for learning how to paint with NMM:
Some eye opening tips on how to paint using the non-metallic metal effect. The big piece of advice that I use now for my work is the concept of using four imaginary spots light above the model. These spot light become the reference light sources for building up your highlights and shadows that make the high-contrast NMM effect more realistic.
Although I don’t play Relic Knights (the game), I have appreciated the anime style of the miniature line. This particular article on the Bell of Lost Souls provides an excellent step-by-step instruction on how paint of metallic surfaces across an entire model. The complexity of the approach is simplified through thoughtfully presented photos and text.
An obvious place where I personally wanted to put NMM into action was on swords and other weapons made of metals, e.g., axes, blades, spear tips. This particular site was very helpful early in my miniature painting career. It lays out the basic formula for applying highlights and shadows on the flat surfaces of blade weapons. It also gave me the inspiration of using more color in my NMM painting. Although, the tutorial focuses on the use of Citadel paints, I’ve been able to use the basic premise with other brands.
And, here’s an example of my work that incorporates the tips I’ve gathered across these websites and books (other resources).
A non-internet resource for NMM instruction that I highly-recommend is this book.
Angel Giraldez, studio artist for Corvus Belli (maker of Infinity the Game). The highly illustrated, step-by-step book is a clearly written and easy to follow guide for applying paint in a way that makes your models pop off the table. Although I’ve gone through cover-to-cover, I keep going back to the photos and instructions for reference. You can see some of my work that used the instructions from this book in my gallery (here).
Buy it on Amazon (here).
Do you have other tutorials for NMM painting? Did you find these links helpful?
If so, please like, share, and post this article on social media.
Please leave a comment if you have found other tips for painting NMM. I’d love to hear from you.