Fred Reed, England
The key to creating a convincing gold texture is in the values. When I’m painting different materials I always look out for photo reference to help me out. Studying how light reacts differently on various materials is crucial when you want to recreate them yourself.
In case of the pirate gold I’m painting here, which is a more rugged and older variety, the nooks and crannies will be darker and dirtier than in new gold coins. I usually start out in black/white to make sure to get my values right. I’ll be boosting the shadows and the highlights later, but right now it’s important that the design of the coin itself and the stack they’re put in looks good.
Once I’m satisfied I click Image> Adjustments> Gradient Map. A Gradient Map replaces your values with a gradient, so here I’m creating a gradient where the highlights are a bright yellow, and the darks a warm brown. Notice how there’s a big falloff, so the light will be really bright in the highlights, but it quickly falls away becoming dark in the crevices. Introducing big contrasts like this is the key to creating convincing gold. To work, alchemists!
When you’re painting materials such as gold, it’s a good idea to look for reference. It helps you to get values and corresponding colours just right. Creating different coins is easy with the Perspective and Distort tools. You’ll have a heap of coins in no time!