I need to say that I am a novice and not an experienced miniaturist so I cannot write about 'the basics of miniaturism'. But tips, yes, I can give you many tips ;D I learn from internet tutorials and my own experiments. I'll just try to systematize my humble experience and conclusions in a few sentences. I know these things are clear for most of you but this is what I can help with.
If you want to achieve a realistic look in polymer clay food (and not only) you need to think of these four points:
- precise color
- environment and size of the object.
Texture gives the lovely detail but also the realistic look of an object. Every material/object has some specific texture. Choosing the object you want to represent you need to think also how is the texture to be given. I texture mostly with a pin, brush and aluminium foil but I have made myself also some texture sheets, stamps and so on.
Size and environment are important when the object will be incorporated in a scene, dollhouse, etc. You need to choose the scale and measure carefully in the beginning.
If one or two of these points is missing it won't radically change the viewer's perception of your work (If I make a cake slice with its texture and shape absolutely correct but I make it green allover you would still have no problem recognizing that this is a cake. You might even think that I used the green color intentionally)