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How to Render Diamonds on Vellum and Canson Art Papers

Recently, a designer who follows my blog, asked me if I’d be willing to share some tips on how to render diamonds.  I’m always willing to help out a friend, and am happy when I can share whatever I’ve learned with others.  The following step-by-step visual demonstration is a common “text-book” way to render a diamond on vellum paper:

Watercolor and Gouache Diamond Rendering How-To by Joana Miranda

Step-by-Step Watercolor and Gouache Diamond Rendering Demonstration by Joana Miranda

The steps are…

1. On vellum paper, draw in the diamond using a circle template (or draw the circle free-hand)

2. Place the vellum over a piece of colored mat board to allow you to see the contrast of the gouache paints.  (I work over a brownish piece of mat board)

3. With the #1 gouache color – a pale grey – fill in the entire diamond

4. With the #2 gouache color – a slightly greyish white – paint an area over the base color that approximates the area from noon to about 8 o’clock

5. Paint in the facets using the #3 color – white gouache paint

6. Add small triangular center facets using the #4 color – darker grey

7. Add a few thinner triangular center facets using the #5 color – darkest grey – overlapping, but not entirely covering the previous grey facets

8. Finish by adding in some white highlights (again with the #3 color – white gouache) on the facets closest to the upper left girdle of the stone

9. Add a soft charcoal smudge to the outside of the stone on the right side to indicate a shadow (the shadow falls on the opposite side of the light source)

That said, I rarely use the above technique for two reasons.  First, I think it works best only for larger stones (I usually tend to design with smaller stones); and, secondly, I find painting in the facets quite time consuming, and therefore not always helpful when I need to work quickly.  My own method, below, for rendering diamonds seems to suit my needs better.

Here is an example of how I render diamonds using gouache paint on black paper:

Watercolor and Gouache How-To For Rendering Diamonds on Black Paper

Watercolor and Gouache How-To For Rendering Diamonds on Black Paper

The steps are…

1. Draw in the diamond outline using a silver colored pencil on black Canson art paper

2. With the #1 gouache color – a pale grey – fill in the entire diamond

3. With the #2 gouache color – a darker grey – paint a smudge in the upper middle quadrant of the stone on the left, and a thin crescent shape to outline the bottom right arc of the stone (this creates the illusion of depth)

4. With the #3 gouache color – the darkest grey – add some “low-lights” to the same grey areas, being careful not to completely cover up the previous grey.  Add the darker grey to the outer-most portion of the bottom right arc.  (You can see where I’ve done this on the center rendering, 4th diamond down)

5. With the #4 gouache color – white gouache – paint a smudge in the lower right center quadrant of the stone, and a thin crescent shape to outline the top left arc of the stone (this creates the illusion that the stone has raised areas)

6. With the #4 gouache color – white gouache – paint in the facets.  For smaller stones like these, I use a simpler facet pattern (as shown in the pencil diagram at the bottom of the rendering.)  Trying to add in all the facets will kill the rendering with too much white paint.

Note: for even tinier stones I simplify the facet pattern even more and draw in what looks like a “K” in the upper right quadrant of the stone.

Most important is to study the techniques above (and any others you find) and then find your own method and rhythm.  Trust your eyes.  There is no “right way” to paint.  The beauty of creating a rendering (or any artwork) is not only conveying a design, but allowing  your own personality to shine through!

Happy Painting!

This post is dedicated to Mamta

2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much Joana for answering my question.Your instructions are very clear and easy to understand.Am off now to try it!

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