Painting rocks realistically can seem overwhelming, but if you break the process down, it’s really quite simple.
Start with the base color of the rock, and try to make it interesting!
Rocks aren’t all gray and brown, you know.
While that’s still wet, add a shadow color, as in step A pictured here. In this example, my base color is raw sienna and the shadow is ultramarine blue. Then scratch in some lines and texture.
Credit cards, brush handles and palette knives are all good scratchers. If you want some lichen on your rock, carefully drop some water onto the wet base color and it will bloom into the texture you need.
When the paint is semi-dry, blot out some texture with a paper towel and fling on some dark paint droplets as in illustration B.
You can also add some lines and whatnot, but keep in mind that the detail isn’t going to stay sharp until the paint is totally dry.
When the paint has dried completely, fling on some final droplets (a toothbrush will give you a nice, even spackle of small dots, while using a brush will deliver some big, some little).
Add a dark line at the base of the rock to separate it from the shadow color, and use a small round brush to add some lines if desired.
Not all rocks look the same, but the basic process will remain no matter what type you’re painting.
For a rougher, more earthy-looking rock (as in the sample at the bottom of this page), you still paint the basic colors first, scratch them around a little and blot out some texture, let it dry and refine with additional detail as needed.
The closer the rocks are to the viewer, the more detail you should be able to see.
So keep your spatial distance realistic by keeping the rocks in the distance vague, and only adding speckles, lines, etc. to those that are quite close in the foreground.
Keep your rocks lively and interesting by giving them plenty of color and texture. In the first stage of constructing a rock, it has very little detail, but plenty of color.
Even if the colors are earthtones, you should see muliple colors mixing together on the surface.
And get that texture in there from the beginning! Don’t get too fussy about where each line goes, just blot, scratch, or salt something while the paint is wet and concentrate on the details in the next step.
Want To Learn More…
A seascape is a landscape drawing that features the ocean and elements along the shore of the ocean.
Seascapes have been the subject of drawings and paintings for generations but recently it seems to be a hidden gem that is forgotten by budding artists.
Drawing seascapes offer challenges and artistic possibilities that make them ideal subjects for artists of all levels.
Artists who do attempt this form of drawing usually get caught up on focusing on the wrong elements which makes it hard to get a life like portrait.
Once you know the elements that will make or break your seascape you will never look back and will have more confidence in your ability.