How do I paint a character made of stone? Jessie van Linden, Canada

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Sara replies

I choose to paint a god­dess of earth and rocks, so that I have a recog­nis­able hu­man shape, but also an in­ter­est­ing con­trast be­tween the soft lines of a fe­male body and the hard­ness of stone. Next, I sketch some of the stone ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties that will help me de­pict a re­al­is­tic sur­face.

I se­lect the colour of the base stone and paint light and shad­ows on the character’s anatomy. Only when I’ve de­fined the body do I start to paint the stone ef­fect on it. Then I add typ­i­cal stone de­tails, such as grain ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and cracks, mak­ing sure that they’re con­sis­tent with the light source. Photo ref­er­ences of stone sur­faces come in handy at this point. I also use Hard brushes with a rough tex­ture. Fi­nally, I add traces of moss and mud. In some ar­eas such as the face, shoul­ders, el­bows and hip I paint rock for­ma­tions us­ing bro­ken lines, which sug­gests the hard­ness of the stone ma­te­rial.

Keep in mind the im­por­tance of bro­ken and hard lines when paint­ing cracks in the rock.

Paint­ing the anatomy be­fore adding the de­tails of the rock helps to main­tain the recog­nis­able hu­man shape of the character.

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