Tutorial: Freehand Banner.

Here's a tutorial for the freehand banner that I did for my Astral Knights standard bearer. Read on below...

First you need to start with a nice smooth surface. This dark blue was built up over 3 or 4 very thin layers.

Next I sketch out the design at 1:1 scale. Check the proportions look right and it looks good.

Then starts the scary stuff. Initially I transfer the design onto the banner with very thin black paint. Don't worry too much if it's perfect as you can always adjust it later. The reason I use paint rather than pen or pencil is so I can find out at this stage if I can't do any of the shapes easily.

Next I fill in the block colours. In this case beige for the scrolls and yellow for the sword/star. Again make sure your paint is thin to stop any unwanted surface texture. I had to do three coats of each.

After the colours have been blocked in I start to put in the shading. In this example I used a brown wash (agrax earthshade) as paint to start to shade in the scrolls.

I finished off the shading/highlighting on the scrolls by using nuln oil wash as a paint in the very darkest areas, and screaming scull (thinned to wash consistency) for the highlights.

You can also see that I have started to sketch in the detail on the star and sword. This is once again done with agrax earthshade. Continueing with the agrax I start to shade in the dark areas for the NMM. Then shade in the highlights using a brighter yellow.

This effect is finished of with a bright highlight of off white.

The process is repeated on the sword blade and the details/borders are put on. I used a very pale grey as pure white looks too stark.

The jewel at the swords pommel is done exactly as you would a gem on a model. Highlight to the bottom right, shade to the top left and a bright spot in the middle of the shade.

Finally comes the lettering. I did this by brush though if you found a small enough pen you could use that. Plan this very carefully so that the letters fit on evenly. With the 'knights' at the bottom I started with the g in the middle and worked out from there...

So there you have it one freehand banner.  All told the banner alone probably took 3/4 hours so not something for your rank and file but well worth it for a stand out piece.

As always comments and questions are very welcome.


  1. Holy crap that is a high standard (yes that was a bad pun) to set for 3 or 4 hrs! Great job!

    1. Cheers zab. I was astralnomically happy with it...

    2. Oh great, now I'm wearing my tea.