The Making of a Paper Soldier by Illustrator Peter Dennis

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How does Illustrator Peter Dennis design a beautifully-crafted rank of paper soldiers, like these?

Find out below in his step-by-step guide.



Step One: I draw the strips at 200% size onto pre-printed ‘cells’ (an animation term I’ve adopted), on tracing paper. 56mm to eye-level gives me a 28mm final figure.

Pencil first. I’m going for a Celtic charge pose for the unit. Pictured left are some of the Britons for the Roman invasion book out next spring.


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Step Two: I complete the pencil then start drawing with a Staedtler pen.

The drawing line can’t be too fine as the reduction is large.




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Step Three: I score and fold the cell, making sure that it lines up.

I use a .3 pen to trace the outline, then start to work on the back view in pencil.

When I’m happy with that I complete the drawing in pen.


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Step Four: Then the cells are reduced to 100% and glued down onto the page artwork sheet.

I like to use the 19th century method of working out of respect for my imagerie D’ Epinal forbears.

That, and me not having any fancy software…




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Step Five: The artwork sheets are then painted at printed size.

On an illustration, I would work at 150% of the printed size.

However, I want these to look like well-painted 28mm flats.

Doing it this way, I am in better control of the final look.


The final finished work looks a bit like this: 

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Now, it’s over to you. Purchase Battle for Britain. Wargame the English Civil Wars 1621-1651, and follow my YouTube guide to creating your own ‘paperboys’!

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6 Responses to The Making of a Paper Soldier by Illustrator Peter Dennis

  1. Paul says:

    The works look great! It is nice to see an old technique to create figures. I hope there will be more such entries.

  2. Nic says:

    Love your work! Keep it coming

  3. Bert de Groot says:

    I just received my copy of the English Civil War (1642 – 1651) in the Netherlands! And all I can think when browsing the beautifully produced 48 p. book is: Wow! Wow! Wow! And: Yes! Yes! Yes! This is where I waited for all this time! It is mainly the completeness and comprehensiveness that I’m so enthusiastic about (and the quality naturally!). You literally get everything in One Book: three pages with information about the main Arms Foot, Horse and Artillery; seven pages of the Infantry (Foot); one page of characters and officers (on foot and on horseback); one page of Infantry Colours; two pages of Cavalry; one page of Cavalry Command strips and Troop Class markers; two pages of Dragoons with horseholders (New Model Army and Royalist); one page of Artillery; seven pages of scenery: a Church and three other structures, individual and Forrest Trees, Bushes, a wooden Bridge, a defensive position for Artillery; one page of Army Commanders; one page with casualties and Smoke Markers; six pages with elegant wargame rules; three pages with a battle each (Naseby, Roundway Down and Tippermuir); two pages with rules for “absolute beginners” and finally one page with roads (an additional five pages are devoted to “the making of” Paper Armies, Pikes, Artillery and Horse). And all this in glorious colour! Wow (again)! I, for one, will certainly buy the other titles in the Series as soon as they are published! Bravo!

  4. Cesar Paz says:

    Could you please tell me what kind of paper and paints have you used at Step Five?

  5. Peter Dennis says:

    The paper is just good quality 100 gram white paper that I print the reduced drawing onto.
    I always use FW acrylic ink from Daler Rowney. I use that for everything, big illustration work, and Paperboys.

  6. Chris Nelson....... Britannia Miniatures says:

    What a fantastic product and idea……

    Always a period I was wanting to do but shekels get in the way……

    Simple idea
    Simple instructions…
    If you are not a Wargames a great set of lets get going rules

    Simply….simply …fantastic…..

    Can’t wait for the next books……

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