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Making a diorama - Chapter 2: Concept, design and layout of your diorama

You should begin your diorama with a concept. What kind of a scene do you want to make. I envisioned a treasure chest in a small valley being guarded by several skeletons. A wizard at the top of a hill looks down on the skeletons and the chest. Battle is imminent!

You can pick almost anything for your scene. Let your imagination run wild! This is your world. Anything you can imagine you can make


You should start making rough sketches on paper. Draw off a square on the paper and layout your design elements. Where will the trees go. Is there a hill? A waterway? Where will the dirt area be? Where will there be grass. Where do the figures stand?

Once you have the basic layout of your scene you should transfer it to the board you will be working on. This photo shows how I have rough sketched the elements of the scene.

layout your diorama

The X's on the board show the rough location of the miniature figures. In the lower right there is a circle this is where the treasure chest will go. The upper section , to the left is higher terrain (the hill) that the wizard is standing on. You can see the dirt path that leads down into the valley with the skeletons. The lower lefthand corner of the board is a swampy area and the lower right of the board is where the terrain starts to slope back up again. THis gives us the feel that the chest and skeletons is in a small valley.

Once you have the design laid out on your board you are ready to begin the work.

NextContinue on to chapter 3 "Rough Shaping the Landscape"