Artist Spotlight: Lyla Mev – The Mini Witch

 If you ever a had question about miniature painting most likely you ended up searching for answers on YouTube. Luckily, nowadays there are many content creators addressing miniature painting questions that anyone might have. One of them is Lyla Mev – The Mini Witch. In almost 3 years of making videos on YouTube, she managed to answer most questions that a beginner hobbyist might have and explored topics that even a seasoned miniature painter can learn from. What makes her stand out from the rest is her background as an art teacher. Her videos can be compared to a small lesson or a lecture. They are well structured and can help you break down and understand even the most complex topics. A great example is her video on Object Source Lighting. This is why if you have any miniature painting questions we highly recommend checking her channel out.


About The Art

What makes Lyla’s works stand out from the rest is her artistic background. This can be seen through her works in many subtle ways. The color pallet she uses is well-thought-out and shows a clear understanding of the color theory. The light and shadows tend to look realistic compared to the exaggerated style prevalent in the hobby. All of her models have a clear focal point that shows an understanding of composition. All this and much more come together into a uniquely distinct style. That can be described as a mix of classical art and vintage fantasy art. This is why we asked Lyla to be on the judging panel of the currently running Miniature Painting Challenge #004.

The Interview

– How would you describe what you do for people who might not know about you?
– I paint pieces of plastic in a closet for the internet. But for someone in the hobby, I would explain that I am an occasional college art professor and professional artist who teaches miniature painting on YouTube in a very down-to-earth style.

– What do you consider the beginning of your miniature painting/hobby journey?
– I begrudgingly agreed to play dungeons and dragons with my husband, not expecting to fall in love after my first session. I became so invested that I decided that I (and everyone else) needed to have their own custom models for the DnD table. It really all spiraled out from there.

– I noticed that many of your painted models tend to look like classic paintings. Is that a deliberate look you aimed to achieve or did the style come naturally as a result of your art background?
– It is definitely from my art background. When I was doing photography work, playing with light and color was one of my favorite things to do; my goal was frequently for my work to look more like a painting than a photograph. It evidently bled through into my miniature painting-whether I meant it to or not.

– Do you think it important to learn traditional art in order to paint miniatures?
– It depends! If you paint for Warhammer: absolutely not. If you paint for fun: it might be interesting. If you want to have a deeper understanding of colors, light, and storytelling within your miniatures: then absolutely.

– When you paint, do you plan your paint job ahead or do you improvise on the go?
– I am a planner. Sometimes I envision my model and paint straight from that, or I will do a digital mock-up and paint several versions of a model on my iPad before I even consider zenithal priming it. I find that if I don’t plan, I can accidentally paint myself into a corner, which is no fun.

– Do you find yourself painting more as a result of being a content maker?
– I definitely paint less! I have to think about what my viewers want to watch, who I’m being sponsored by, what will make a good thumbnail, and then, of course: everything that comes along with making videos. I love my job, but it is definitely a lot more work than just painting.

– How do you find ideas for your videos?
– I get a lot of my ideas from the private lessons I give! My students ask really great questions; thoughts I had not considered because I had taken such things for granted. Painting comes very naturally to me, so it is very helpful when my students ask questions that require me to break down my own processes.

– From an idea to a posted video, how long does it usually take You to make one?
–  A fast turnaround time for me is a week. Usually closer to two. I still work full time, and I need to have time for my family and friends. If I’m lucky, I’ll also have time to paint for fun. I am a workaholic so I need to set boundaries for myself, otherwise, I would never stop working.

– From all the models you’ve painted are there any that you would consider your favorites or most hated model?
– There are a few things I hate painting. Every time I paint something bigger than 75mm I always say: “never let me paint something this big again.” and what do I do? I paint something that big again. I’m hopeful that one day I will learn my lesson. The other thing I hate is when a model has hair that partially covers one eye. Just enough where you feel like you SHOULD paint both eyes, but it is probably going to be impossible. Why do sculptors do that!? And my favorite models to paint are badass women.

– There’s one question that is unavoidable in our hobby. Did you ever mistake your paint cup for your drinking cup?
– I have never drank my paint water, but I have stuck my dirty brushes into my tea/coffee before.

– While we’re on the topic. What would be your drink of choice while painting?
– Coffee all day every day.

– Last question. What would be your one, most important piece of advice for any miniature painter?
– Look at reference photos. Studying life will tell you almost everything you need to know about miniature painting. From that foundation, you can paint anything.