Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

How to Paint a Fantasy Horse Figurine

This week, we apply art to something different than usual. We use our skills to transform a Schleich horse or other plastic figurine into a fantasy animal.

Two customized Schleich horses in a flower field.

I have a soft spot for plastic horse collectors, and I follow many of them on Instagram. One of the most inspiring accounts is Lightning Leoo (@lightningleoo). Leo has organized community challenges on Instagram and Discord. I have participated in them a couple of times. Like Leo, most of those who customize collectible miniatures aim to make the animal look more realistic. However, I want to be more playful with colors and ideas.

Step 1 – Choose a Theme and Paint the First Layer

Start by choosing a theme that gives ideas for the coloring. The animal figurine here is a brown Schleich foal and my theme is daffodil. I used acrylic paints to make the legs green, the body yellow, the hoof orange-red, and the tail and the main white – just like the flower!

Scheich horse and the first step for customizing it. See more instructions!

At this point, the animal doesn’t look nice at all, but that’s ok. The idea is just to cover the original paint and make a simple foundation for the decoration.

Step 2 – Add More Tones and Decorations

After covering the original color with the theme colors, mix more tones of those colors. For example, if you have used one green in the previous step, now mix more green tones – cooler and warmer, darker and lighter, brighter and more muted. Add slight variations of tones on the top of the first color layer so that what used to be one solid color has now a gradient of tones. This makes the color more natural. Note: you can use this technique in any art!

A Schleich horse customization in progress.

In this project, I created color mixes of all kinds of greens, oranges, yellows, and whites.

At this point, you can also start decorating the figurine and use these color mixes in decorations, eyes,You and other details.

Decorating a Schleich fowl.

Get ideas for decorations from the theme! I painted small daffodils.

Step 3 – Optional – Add Shadows with Soft Pastels

Soft pastels make the figurine look more real and highlight the best parts. First, scrape them with a sharp blade to get color powder. Use a small brush to spread it where the shadows are, for example, where the leg meets the belly. You can also soften the color changes with pastels.

Repainting a Schleich fowl.

Attach the powder more permanently by spraying the fixative over it. Notice that after attaching the powder, you can continue with the finishing touches in acrylics!

Step 4 – Take a Fantastic Photo!

We always should take a good photo of the finished work, but with a fantasy horse, it is very rewarding. Find a place where you can fool the eye about the scale and bend down to take a photo a bit upwards.

Photographing a repainted Schleich fowl.

Another option is to make a gallery set up so that the background is white and the figurine is photographed like a piece of art.

Finished fantasy fowl repaint.

Another Example of a Fantasy Horse Repaint

Here’s a Schleich horse that is bigger than the Daffodil fowl. My theme for this one was peach. The decorations are simple, but there are many tones and lovely gradients.

A fantasy horse figurine, repainted Schleich horse by Paivi Eerola.

Making one foot in a different color adds drama and a bigger horse is easier to paint.

Two Schleich horses repainted by Paivi Eerola, Finland.

It was fun to photograph these two together!

Taking photos of Schleich horses. These are repainted fantasy horses.

Natural light creates its own effects and makes the fantasy look real.

Miniature horse figurine photography.

Horizontal lines in the background make the movement look more real.

Repainted Schleich horses.

Gift Box for Fantasy Horse

These small fantasy horses are great for presents. I gave the fowl to my friend who owns not just a collection of plastic figurines but a real horse too. I found a sturdy box that I had got when ordering paint tubes.

A gift box for a fantasy horse.

One side had writing on it, but I painted a floral decoration over it.

A gift box for a fantasy horse.

Creative Play as an Art Form

Playing has always been important to me. When I play, I get ideas that go beyond the ordinary and that combine different fields. In 2020, I even made a painting about the power of play called Steppe Wind.

Playing with fantasy horses. "Steppe Wind" - an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola, 2020.
Arotuuli – Steppe Wind, acrylics on canvas, 2020. See more about the painting process: Painting an Intuitive Fantasy

In the course Magical Inkdom, we draw and decorate paper horses and other animals.

Hand-drawn paper horses and a decorated background. Drawing a fantasy horse.
Horses and a fantastic background from Magical Inkdom

By playing we can enjoy the beauty and be comforted. It’s like we enter the same big hall of art but from a different door. Then when it’s time to get more serious, we have new energy and new power to overcome our fears.

Two repainted Schleich horses. Fantasy horse figurines.

That’s why I want to bring up topics like painting and photographing figurines in this blog.

What do you think?

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