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Drawing and Painting Glass

June 27, 2010

how to draw and paint glassQuestion: How do you draw something that’s clear?

Answer: You don’t.


The key to drawing or painting glass is not to render the actual glass object but to render the way the glass distorts and reflects the objects around it.

Glass is clear so we see through it, but glass can be many different shapes. What we see through the glass gets warped. This warping is what gives us the information we need to determine the shape of the glass.

In the painting above, you can see a glass bottle sitting in front of some blinds. The way the blinds are seen through the glass tell us about the shape and volume of the bottle. When I painted this, I didn’t paint the bottle, I painted the blinds as they are seen through the glass. This is key!

When rendering glass, you’re going to need a reference image, either from life or a photo. You will also need to use your artistic observational skills. You really need to pay attention to what’s going on within the glass. That being said, don’t get too caught up in the myriad of tiny shapes that you can see. You will need to simplify and edit the shapes. Pick out the major light and dark areas, then work the mid-tones.

The other thing to rememberĀ is that glass is reflective. This means that shapes and objects in front of the glass may be seen in it, but it also means that there will be bright highlights. These highlights are what communicate the shiny, reflective nature of the glass.

Drawing and painting glass is not as tricky as it looks. Pick a simple object to start (the more complex your glass object, the more difficult it will be to draw). Focus on the lights and darks, pay close attention to the way the glass distorts the background, and observe the subtle variations in tone. As you draw the visible shapes, you will begin nto see your glass objects take shape.

Good luck! I’d love to see the results of your efforts!


From → Drawing, Painting

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