Painting: the White Hand of Saruman

Mae govannen.

Welcome to another blog post on this Uruk-hai campaign that I have been hosting.

This post will be focused on free-hand painting the White Hand of Saruman: firstly a symbol of Saruman the White, wizard and guardian of Middle-earth, and which after his corruption became the symbol of the uruks and warriors of Isengard.

Either if the painting of the hand will be made on a large banner or on small points of the miniature (helmets, shields, quivers or faces), this guide might be of use. This process will follow two phases:

  1. preparation and the basics of the White Hand
  2. free-handing the White Hand

Up until this moment:

 Isengard Bases | Feral Uruk-hai | Uruk-hai Crossbowers

Uruk-hai Berserkers | Mauhúr

Preparation and the basics of the White Hand

First of all, one can't do free-hand painting on a miniature without sketching it first. Luckily, the White Hand of Saruman is a fairly simple symbol that anyone can manage easily.

The steps I went through to prepare my hand and my mind to the task was: 

  1. Sketch the lines of the hand with pencil and paper
  2. Sketch the hand with a brush on a paper 
This first step aims at designing and understanding the way we want our lines to go. I just drew a lot of hands, in diverse sizes and styles to get myself acquainted with the pattern.

Then I moved to the brush on paper, trying to set up some steps on which I could work from. Trying to do it on the smaller scale possible will be beneficial in the future.

After all those steps, these are roughly the resolutions I arrived to:

  1. Start with a kind of "7" and work the palm of the hand from there.
  2. Sketch thin lines on the miniature before going straight to the free-hand design and larger strokes.
  3. Decide the length and position of the fingers, paying special attention to the thumb (this will make it look more realistic).
  4. The White Hand will benefit from some irregular lines. We don't want a perfectly straight print.
When I was positive about all these preparation steps, then I felt confident to proceed to the miniatures.

Free-handing the White Hand

As you can see I sketched the edges of the hand with two thin lines beforehand. The fact that this is a banner helped a lot, since the "canvas" gave me a large space to work on.

Now, when dealing with small White Hands on our miniatures, there are some mistakes to avoid, and which can be seen on these Uruk-hai crossbowers' quivers. Of course, any mistakes can be amended easily, you just need to correct the lines with the base colour or paint over and start again.

The first mistake can be spotted on the right-most miniature. The hand looks silly and undefined, and I left it like that for this particular tutorial. 

What was my mistake with that uruk? Well, I thinned the white paint too much, which resulted on a lack of control of the lines drawn by the brush. What we want for absolute control of the brush-stroke is to be austere on the thinning of the paint or, in other words, don't thin the paint too much.

About the rest of the hands portrayed on the photo above, they surely may be refined: the left one needs a correcting of the index finger (it's too long and wide) and maybe the thumb; the centre-left miniature looks too straight and schematic (the edges of the palm could be rounded up); the centre-right miniature would surely benefit from having that gap between the fingers and palm diminished. Also, the pinkie is way too long.

All these aspects get better with practice for sure, and it is important for us, as hobbyist painters, to take a good look at our miniatures and objectively spot the mistakes we did. Then we just need to decide if we are going to correct them or move on and  do it better on our next minis.

And that concludes this post!

I'm hoping this little tutorial may be of use to someone.

Until next time! Keep on Painting and Wargaming!
Also, don't forget to have fun doing so!



  1. Great thoughts here - painting white hands on all my Uruk-Hai Scouts and Warriors has been quite the ordeal (and some of the hands I'm really proud of, others not so much). I'll be trying out this technique on the last few Uruks I have to paint!

    1. Yes, it happens a lot to me while free-handing as well.
      I found that sketching first and not thinning the paints too much helps a lot defining and controlling the paint-brush.
      But, in the end of the day, practice will still make perfect.


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