Metallic Finishes - from guest blogger Katherine Knapik

Metallic Finishes - from guest blogger Katherine Knapik

      Hi everyone! My name is Katherine Knapik. I’m a professional illustrator and designer, a long-time watercolorist, and a lover of things that sparkle! You can find me on instagram at @kknapikart but today I’m here to talk about using glitter watercolors to help emphasize metallic surfaces in your illustrations.

     For painting something that looks like metal, you definitely want to have a reference image handy, since light refracts and reflects in so many different awesome ways. I’ll specifically be using 4 colors today to really create all the detail I’m looking for. 

     This illustration is of a rum still that has little hat-looking part made from copper, and the rest being made from stainless steel. On the copper part, we’re placing some shimmery watercolor where the light is hitting it the brightest in this gorgeous amber color I got from a sample, and in spots where we’re getting great reflected light with The Mandalorian. That color particularly has great brown and green glitters in it, perfect for copper or copper patina finishes.

     Next, for the base of the still, I’m going to be using Opal from the Hidden Gems Collection for the lightest and brightest white chrome highlights, and Zazu from The Lion King Collection for the cooler reflections we get out of steel.

At this point, I also put some of that gorgeous opal watercolor around the little chrome window into the still as well. Only adding it to the two sides of the circle rather than over whole thing also helps to add some additional dimension to the reflections.

And after we add in just little touches of glitter, we are able to immediately elevate both the beauty of our illustration, as well as its realism. Touches of sparkle really help to add elements of light and dimension to an otherwise 2-dimensional artwork! Here is a great shot showing the reflections, and the finished illustration!

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