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How to Render Stone By Various Artists





Many artists feel that stippling shades of either warm or cool grays at varied pressures is the secret to illustrating realistic-looking stone textures.

Louisiana artist Pat Reynolds feels that the more colors he uses, the more realistic hi s granite will look. He will stipple in as many as 20 shades of gray for one rock. He also mixes both warm and cool grays for a more natural look.

When he is rendering a stone texture, Reynolds mixes both transparent and opaque ComArt paints to get a variety of custom colors. For a more grainy effect, he will use opaque paints. He creates varying stipple patterns by changing the settings on his compressor. (The lower the pressure setting, the larger the dot pattern.)

To add form, Reynolds makes the rocks lighter on top and darker on the bottom. Then to make rocks stand out more, he contrasts them against a dark background.


Florida artist Craig Tracy also uses the stipple effect to create a stone texture. He begins by laying down a base of gray, then stipples ComArt warm and cool grays. Tracy removes the tip from his Iwata HB-SB and varies the pressure to get the stipple effect. He will vary the pressure from 35 down to 3 psi.

For an interesting variation, Tracy may add purple or orange. When he adds the white stipple, he uses the paint at full thickness for the maximum grainy effect.

Cass Fuller, a T-shirt artist from Texas, gets a stipple effect by spraying the textile paint from his aasche VL off the side of a wooden clothespin. “I blow it off at an angle, and it produces large splatters of paint-a heavy stipple effect,” says Fuller. He uses gray, black, purple, and white Aqua Flow paint when rendering granite on apparel.

Jeny LoFaro paints stones working from dark to light using opaque acrylics. He shapes the patterns of the stone free-hand with a Paasche AB. “I keep them pretty loose, using some brushwork, ” says the New York City artist.


He allows a lot of voids to show through the surface color to enhance the random texturing. LoFaro uses a novel method to get the texture of the stone: He dips a children’s rubber stamp into the acrylic paint and then stamps the patterns all over the rock formations . On an ad for Poland Springs water, LoFaro used a rubber stamp depicting Walt Disney’s Goofy character, overlapping the rubber stamp many times to get a heavily textured pattern with no discernible stamp pattern.

He develops the rock formations further with an airbrush and a paintbrush, completing the piece by stippling with the airbrush and then scratching the surface with a razor knife. When Mark Fredrickson does a rocky foreground, he completes the painting, then masks it with frisket. “I keep aware of where the stones are to be. I do the environment first and add the stones last,” says the Arizona artist.

Fredrickson draws in the stone pattern on the frisket, then uses a stencil knife to cut out the pattern. He sprays the area with some CornArt cleaner mixed in a squirt bottle and dabs off the paint with a sponge, leaving a mottled design. Fredrickson sprays the shadows with an airbrush and stipples a fine grain over the rocky surface.

He pulls out the highlights with an electric eraser and a knife blade. He completes the stones by adding cracks and fissures with a paintbrush. Whether the rocks are painted in a warm or cool shade depends on the lighting of the piece. “I try to avoid masking out natural formations. It’s hard to deal with a big white spot in the middle,” says Fredrickson. “I don’t like to plan for natural formations-I prefer random surfaces.” Jean Probert has a variety of techniques for rendering stone.


The Missouri illustrator uses a sponge dipped in acrylics for the basic texture, and then stipples over that. She may finish the piece byremoving some paint with an eraser for highlights. “I leave the tooth or scrubby effect,” says Probert. To render the shadows, Probert may spray them in the underpainting, then stipple over them. She reinforces the shadows with a hand-held acetate mask for a softer edge. “I mix a lot of techniques: brush, sponge, smooth and stippled airbrush,” says Probert. “If you can pick out a particular technique in the finished work, the texture won’t be as convincing.” Occasionally the artist will use another technique.


She will cut an irregular jagged design in an art gum eraser, dip it in acrylic paint, and apply it repeatedly to the rocky area. Probert discovered this technique when she had to render a paw print in a hurry and discovered the crumbly amber eraser made a good stamp. She also uses a white eraser to make stamps to provide a different effect.


For a large-scale stone effect, artist Bill Jonas uses a latex base. “I use an acrylic latex to block in the large areas of color. Then I use artist’s acrylics through the airbrush for the mottling effect on the stone.” For the stippling effect, Jonas uses a popsicle stick with the airbrush. “Put the tip of the airbrush on the stick near the end and begin spraying, a puddle of paint will build up and then be blown off by the air pressure. This will create an even stipple over a large area. The farther the tip of the airbrush is from the end of the stick, the larger the puddle buildup and the larger the stipple effect.”

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