How to Paint Miniature Art the First Time

December 29, 2017

Red Bud and Blue Birds is a miniature oil painting by Beverly Abbott

Have you heard of miniature artwork before? They're a special form of original art. Known for their graceful gemlike quality, miniatures contain all the mastery of their larger counterparts rendered into a smaller scale, resulting in a beautiful viewing of fine detail rarely seen elsewhere. But did you know that making your own miniature painting is easier that you think? We'll show you a few tips from the pros how to create these beautiful jewels of your own.

 Tip #1: A One-Handed Fit is the Key.

Best Wishes is a miniature acrylic painting by Debra KeirceBefore you begin designing your painting, you have the option to submit your work to a miniature art society. If you do, make sure to educate yourself in the society's sizing criteria that define true miniature artwork from small paintings. Each one has different specifics, so you'll want to follow them closely. Otherwise, most societies determine that an artwork is miniature if it fits in the palm of one hand. 

 Tip #2: Invest in Good Quality Art Supplies

There's no doubt about it - if you want your miniature painting to look good, treat yourself to a sampling of high-quality paint. You'll notice how much smoother the paint glides on as well, which allows that finely detailed look to develop as you work on it. This kind of paint can be found in art supply and specialty shops. 

 Tip #3: Fine Tips, Smooth Surfaces

Another secret to great-looking minis is the use of fine-tip brushes on smooth surfaces such as a board or vellum. Centuries ago miniature art was painted on thin sheets of ivory because of their smoothness. Ivory is no longer in use of course, but vellum will achieve a similar desired effect with the smooth look of fine brush strokes on a thin surface.

 Tip #4: Use the Masters as Your Cheat Sheet

 A good way to begin painting your first miniature is to study the technique of miniature painting in museum exhibits and art shows. Seaside Art Gallery’s International Miniature Art Show, for example, is a good opportunity to examine different brush stroke styles from artists around the world. Then, when you’re brave enough to paint your first piece, start with a small format, which can be corrected easier and finished quicker than larger ones. Ask yourself as you’re painting it if you can observe your strokes with a magnifying lens. If you can, then you’re well on your way to developing a wonderful miniature painting!

 A Whole New World

In many ways, the tiny world of miniature artwork is much bigger than we think. Gazing at an owl’s face or a striking leopard from the palm of your hand can create a very personal experience. We hope that this post inspires you to create your very own little treasures. And if you’re looking for more inspiration, you can see miniatures online or in person now during our 27th International Miniature Art Show. See you soon!

Chelsea Reed is a freelance copywriter and blogger. She writes articles, blogs, online content, press releases, websites, and is published in North America. 





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