In this blog post I'm going to go through step-by-step on how I paint diamonds and gemstones. I hope you will find this tutorial to be useful and interesting. With the steps broken down, you may find that painting gemstones is a lot easier than it looks!
I love painting gems because there is structure and symmetry to each stone. However, at the same time, there is fluidness in each facet, where the light reflects and the color change. Sometimes the most unexpected colors will be added to the diamond painting, but when you look at the picture from a distance, it looks just like how the reflective colors in the diamond would in real life.
Get all your materials ready. Tools you will need are:
- Watercolor Paper (I use Arches Cold Press, Bright White, 140 lb)
- Watercolors and Palette (Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor - variety of colors - I have a palette with almost every color in the color wheel which I use to mix my own colors)
- 2B pencil and sketching eraser (this is to make very light outlines for the gem).
- Ruler - the gems have facets which require straight lines. The ruler will come in handy!
- Water bucket with water & paper towel for soaking up excess water
- Photo of a diamond or gem that you would like to draw. There are several cuts for gems - I have found this Diamond & Gemstone shape chart to come in handy (found on google images).
Use the pencil to draw the outline and facets of the gem of your choice. I have drawn here the outline of a diamond, with the facets I will fill in later with watercolor. You will notice that there are actually way more facets to draw than the cut looks because of the reflections. For each painting I do, there are at least 70 ~200 little facets or pieces to fill in. The more facets you draw, the more reflective and shiny the diamond painting will look.
Fill in the facets of your diamond sketch with watercolor. I usually reference 2 or more photographs of gems (google images is my best friend here) to determine what colors I want to use. I study how the gem reflects. One key note here is that if one facet is bright, then the one right next to it is probably darker (this will give it a glistening, shiny affect). I also like using a gradient effect to show a transition from dark to light in my diamond and gemstone paintings. To achieve the gradient, fill in one side of the facet with one color, then add another color to the other side and gently blend the two together in the middle.
Darken select facets (don't go overboard) to make the rest of the facets really shine. The darker the dark parts are, the brighter and shinier the lighter parts will look.
That's it! Try it out and see how it looks. You might be surprised at how closely your painting looks like a gemstone. Happy painting!
Here are some of my other completed gem paintings: