Have some questions? Want answers? Got some good tips? This is the place to ask, or answer, questions regarding art tools, and methods.

Moderators: Ambiguity, SeaQuenchal, virtueone


Postby paputsza » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:15 am

Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:13 am

Subject title: how do I draw crystals?

I want to learn how to draw crystals for a cover to my webnovel with watercolor/gouache/ink, but I'm not sure how. I tried looking it up on youtube, but most people started off from a drawing that they had made earlier, and were just paint by numbering it for their video tutorial(their words, not mine), which just seems incredibly useless to me. I need to genuinely understand something to paint it. So after watching physics videos and a video by mural joe to get me in the right direction, I was able to come to some conclusions, good or bad, likely bad, and want to know if anyone has better information.

Firstly, I have a two step process. I have two layers. The top highlight layer, which is pretty straight forward, just kind of a high shine angular thing that's painted last.

Then we have the way more complicated base layer. This has transparency, caustics, shadows, and refraction. Transparency I think, means just to use a lighter color, which is fine, shadows are more just like thickness, because using black is a mistake usually, since crystals shouldn't be in any shade of grey or they'll look muted and ashy, or at least that's what I've experienced. Caustics has just meant putting bright spots next to highlighted triangles, I thiiink, I'm really not sure, I think it means giving an anime highlight with a brighter hue. At least for less transparent crystals. Now, caustics are a struggle for me. I think it means I need to move things in the opposite direction that the facet is pointing, so like if the facet on my side is pointing down, the horizon on that facet goes up, and if the facet points down then the horizon moves up. It doesn't really curve, and given enough distance left and right facets tilt, and really all facets zoom in. Spheres work differently, since at a distance images fisheye and flip at a certain distance, but I'm not making crystal balls.

I have a picture I painted to test my theory. Ignore the guy in the foreground, he's a doodle-cartoon-serious drawing hybrid, but there's my crystal behind him. I didn't make a background, so I didn't include any horizon stuff, but there's some refraction and transparency there with layers of crystals. Idk where I should go with caustics. Well, I appreciate your help, and even if you can just tell me which crystal shard looks the best, and which looks the worst, I'd appreciate it. I really need help.


Postby Kam » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:50 pm

User avatar
Posts: 729
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:08 pm

It's good to be in the mindset of understanding something before painting it but at the end of the day we're artists not computers, unless you know exactly where the light is coming from, which angles it's reflecting and refracting off of the surface and whatever other technical ordeal you can't go off of a purely scientific approach, with something like crystals good shape design and convincing (and appealing) placement of your patches of values based on your environment are of a much higher priority than technical accuracy of the material's properties, I recommend you look at crystals and find shape patterns in them, you're most likely gonna find consistent qualities you can apply to your work without knowing exactly why it looks the way it does.
I can't really say anything about how to go about painting them with traditional media but maybe this tutorial can give you an idea on how you could possibly go about it, at least in the way of thinking, as far as technical knowledge goes it seems like you know enough. Your crystals look convincing but what they lack imo is better shapes, they all have the same shapemore or less, the hue variety is good but yeah, it's basically the drawing part that's lacking.



Postby cicakkia » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:14 am

User avatar
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:15 am

Like Kam said. You shouldn't need to make it scientific accurate. It's about illusion on how you implemented it. Spesifically usually from how you want to put the light works on projecting the crystal. Let say your environment have bright light so there will some reflected bright light on the crystal. But let say if the environment get less light like dim light, the crystal won't have bright light on it. That is all some cases to consider like how far the light project the crystal too. The more far, the less light crystal getting. Here's the example I make crystal on dark environment that I did on some past project
puzzle_GAME_background_concept_art_3 .jpg

The source light projecting is on top and bright so the crystals on top are brighter. As the fact it is still not 100% accurate how it actually works but still the logic is still apply on it and that's ok.

I did see your crystal is already doable. I agree with Kam said that it needs some shape to make it more appealing. And I think it also better if you have the idea where the light source come from so you get much better reflection on it

Return to Art Questions and Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest