Watercolor and Gouache Silver, Lucite Flower and Gemstone Earring Rendering by Joana Miranda

Even though I am designing or rendering every day, I still find that I need to refer to my rendering technique books and design class notes to tackle difficulties along the way (please visit my blog post Browse My Jewelry Library to find links for these excellent books).  If you are a designer interested in improving your renderings, please read on for some tips.  If not, then just enjoy the design above, know that I want to present you something beautiful here every day, and come back tomorrow to see what I post!

Some tips for designers:

  • Designing initially on vellum paper really makes life easier.  You can trace one precise design element and transfer it to different parts of your drawing to save time.  In the drawing above, I drew just one flower petal, then traced and transferred it to make the other 4 flower petals.
  • Black paper makes watercolor designs really pop;  however, it is easier to make silver metal come to life on blue paper since the transparency of the white gouache base paint picks up the blue hue of the paper and creates a less pasty, more realistic silver hue.
  • Darkest shadows look most convincing when they are painted near the edge of a surface, but not right on the edge.
  • Always work with a small test piece of paper of the same type that you are painting on.  Like this you can test your brush strokes, the wetness of the paint, fineness of the paint brush, opacity of the paint, etc., before you risk making a mistake on your actual artwork. (I keep these test pieces of paper and reuse them until there are no more free spots of paper on which to test a brush stroke.)
  • Have a paper towel on hand to wipe off beads of water/paint from your paintbrush as you work.  You don’t want these accidentally falling on your artwork.
  • Use an artist’s stump (a stump is merely a rolled-up strip of soft paper with a conical-shaped point – make your own or purchase one at an art supply store) dipped in graphite shavings to create the illusion of depth and shadows on your artwork.  I find the shading subtleties possible with a stump easier to manage than attempting something similar with watercolor.
  • Breathe as you work (don’t hold your breath.)  Refocus your eyes on a point at a much farther distance every 20 minutes or so to prevent eye strain.
  • Watch visual artists at work in other media.  I’ve really enjoyed watching Bob Ross on public TV.   While I’m not usually crazy about the final result, his technique is always interesting and informative, and his lovely manner is soothing and inspiring at the same time.
  • Keep all of your art work even if you think you’ve created a flop.  We learn most from our mistakes and it is nice (with a little perspective) to look back and see progress.

I hope to be able to post some how-to rendering videos soon.  Please keep stopping by to visit me here.  If you have any rendering technique questions, please contact me.  I’ll do my best to answer them, or at the very best, will point you to references that will help.


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