Though this page is basically a glossary, I wanted to let everyone know about a really great resource. The usefullinks page in the subreddit minipainting has numerous video links, discussions, and in-depth content about some of the items you may be looking up here.

Click the letter below to jump to the section with words that start with that letter.




The base color that an individual part on a model will be, such as a medium-red for a red shirt, which will then be shaded using a dark red and highlighted with a light red.


Detailing the base of the miniature.


The substance that keeps pigment in place after the paint dries. Acrylic paint has acrylic polymer as its binder and this forms a film after the water has evaporated — Liquitex


Creating smooth transitions between two (or more) colors.

Color Blocking
  1. Pairing colors that are opposite on the color wheel to make interesting and complementary combinations. Complementary adjacent colors trick they eye into viewing them as more intense.
  2. The process of blocking in separate colors with a dark brown or black line in order to create more contrast and make the colors stand out on the model. Also known as black lining or dark lining

Dry Brushing

Painting or highlighting a surface typically using a flat, wide brush with almost no paint on the bristles.

Edge Highlighting

Using a lighter color to trace the edges of the different parts of the model to make them stand out more. Using the side of the brush is easiest when possible.


The brush hair or bristles are positioned within the ferrule to provide shape and behavior. The hair is thoroughly glued to the ferrule which seals the brush and ferrule to avoid shedding of the hair and prevent the seepage of water or medium into the brush. In addition, the ferrule is often crimped to ensure its hold on the handle.

Flatting (aka Sketching)

Applying colors roughly without concern for blending or achieving even coats in order to plan out your colors as well as shadows and highlights.


A method of applying paint and/or a general paint consistency. A glaze can refer to a very thin down paint or ink that is meant to tint a surface slightly. –Miniac
Ultimate Guide: Glazing


Models or miniatures painted such that they are considered dark, drained, beaten, battle-worn, melancholy, foreboding, or heavy laden. In the Warhammer community it’s commonly aligned with the theme of dark realism, dystopian struggles, and dark fantasy. The key being that though it’s a fictional world it feels very realistic.


Applying a brightened color or shade on what would be the raised or brightest point on a model, i.e., the tip of a sword or a raised fold on a dress.


Using multiple thin coats that get successively smaller and smaller in the surface area they cover to build up a smooth blend and rich color.

NMM (Non Metalic Metal)

The use of colors without metallic pigment to achieve a metal looking finish, typically using black and white.

OSL (Object Source Lighting)

Using paint to simulate light that would be emitted from an object such as a flame or lamp.
Tutorial – Flourescent Paint OSL – Chaos Warrior


Generally, using a normal paint brush with a small amount of paint on the bristle and only brushing over the raised areas of a model, sometimes with the side of the brush, similar to dry brushing.


Granular solids which give paint its color. They are milled to a tiny particle size and do not dissolve, but remain suspended in the paint. Pigments can be organic, inorganic, natural and synthetic. They have little or no affinity for the surface to which they are applied. — Liquitex


Not to be confused with basecoating, priming is applying a special formula of paint called Primer to a model, primer typically is made to adhere to a model’s bare surface and provide a uniform color and surface to paint on.


The process of painting a thing.

SENMM (Sky Earth Non Metalic Metal)

Using various colors to achieve a highly polished metal look with non-metallic paints, i.e., painting something to look chrome.


Applying a dark color in recessed or otherwise dark areas of a miniature, i.e., the inner folds of a dress or piece of cloth.

Sketching (aka Flatting)

Applying colors roughly without concern for blending or achieving even coats in order to plan out your colors as well as shadows and highlights.


Painting with lots of tiny dots of paint rather than brush strokes.

TMM (True Metalic Metal)

Using metallic pigmented paint to achieve a metal looking finish.

Value Sketching

Painting with whites, greys and blacks to set the highlights and shadows before adding color.


A very thin mixture of paint, typically with flow-improver added, that is used to apply over an entire surface, intended to fall into any recesses on the model and provide shading.

Wet Blending

Applying new paint to still wet paint and blending the two colors together and create a mid-tone as a transition between the previous two colors.


To absorb or draw off (liquid) by capillary action.

Zenithal Highlight

A technique that quickly reproduces the light and shadows produced by an imaginary light source directly over the subject.

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