Thursday, March 21, 2013

How to Paint Gems

I promised a How to paint gems and here it is.. a little later then I'd like but the whole Family is pretty sick right now so I haven't had the time or energy to even write it up till now. 8) Plus I had to redo it once as the first set of pics were at a odd angle which I didn't notice till after I was completely done blah ....

Here is a list of the colors I use for Red Gems.. and that will be the base of this Tut but really it doesn't matter what color you use just pick three shades going from dark, mid to light and a highlight.
Base Color - Mech Red ( I think it's Mephiston Red now)
Mid Color - Scab Red or Gory Red (VGC)
Light Color - Blood Red (now Evil Sunz Scarlet) or Bloody Red (VGC)
Highlight - Golden Yellow or Golden Yellow (VAC) haha
White - Which ever you choose
I use inks a lot when working on gems as it gives an iridescent look with some transparency. I use a mix of old Citidel Inks that I still have left and Daler Rowney when I had to replace them.
Plasma Red (not pictured above)
Magenta (not pictured above)

It might look like a lot of colors but it really makes a difference and it doesn't take too long to give you a nice looking finished product.

**Click on the images below to enlarge if you are having trouble seeing the gem**

1. Start with Mech Red and paint the whole gem
**With gems, usually the darker section will be at the top of the gem. Light passes through the gem and seems to collect in the bottom of it. Decide where the light source will be coming from and stick with it, otherwise it will look strange if there are multiple gems on one mini. For the purposes of this Tut the light source will be directly above him.**
2. Apply your light color to the bottom 2/3 of the gem. You also want to work at an angle, go diagonally from top left to bottom right.
Here is a diagram I whipped up to help show the directions I'm talking about .. 

3. Now you are going to blend the colors together using your mid color. Thin it 50/50 and paint the mid 1/3 of the gem. Besides working diagonally remember the gem is suppose to be round, no hard edges and you should be working in a curve. You may have to go back with some light color after this depending on how you blend.
4. Now that the base colors are on I'll move over to the inks. Starting with purple applying it to the top left third, painting a slight oval with it. Remember keep it curved.
5. Next it's time for the red ink. Apply this to the whole gem. It will brighten the entire surface. You may have to thin the ink a little if you are using the Daler Rowney, test the opacity of the ink before you apply it to the gem you don't want it to cover all the blending you just did. The old GW inks are pretty transparent from the get go so no need to mess with with it.
6. Magenta time, I apply this to the middle section of the gem, concentrating most of my attention just below the purple area.
7. Once I'm happy with the blending I'll move on to the highlights. The bottom right gets blended with Golden Yellow, make sure to thin this a good bit. You'll want it to be more of a wash then paint. Build up the bottom of the section, but don't blend to the edge. Leave a sliver of red left.
8. When the yellow highlight looks right move on to the finishing highlight. Apply white in a drop to the top purple third, this is the light reflection. You can actually see the light reflecting off the gem in the pictures before I have even applied the white. That is where you want it to be, be very careful and make one small dot. I will also make a very fine white line at the bottom yellow curve. VERY FINE. You don't have to add this if you don't like, it's hardly noticeable but I think a light reflection adds to the look.
9. Now you are almost done, for the final step I take black ink but you can use black wash if you like and I circle the entire base of the gem. This will outline the gem making it stand out from it's setting, that will usually be the darkest section of a gem.
10. Touch up any section that doesn't look right to you. I had to blend some more yellow when I was finished with taking the pictures. Taking the pictures in between painting distracted me a bit haha.. But that's it you should be done.
I typically paint all the gems at the same time, going through each step on all of them at the same time. That way it doesn't feel like I'm doing so much for just one little gem haha..  I hope this helps some people out!! Now it's off to take some meds..


  1. Excellent tutorial! The end result of the extra stages and layers you do really makes a huge difference - that looks fantastic!

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you think it looks good. Hopefully it will be helpful for some people.8)