How to paint a character made of stone

Artist Sara Forlenza reveals the painting techniques needed to create an earth goddess with skin made of stone.

 How to draw a character made of stone

Sara Forlenza reveals the painting techniques behind this striking goddess of earth and rocks

When it comes to creating fantasy art, there are a number of painting techniques you can adopt to reach your goal. I choose to paint a goddess of earth and rocks – so I have a recognisable human shape, but also an interesting contrast between the soft lines of a female body and the hardness of stone.

First, I sketch some of the stone irregularities that will help me depict a realistic surface. Next I select the colour of the base stone and paint light and shadows on the character's anatomy. Only when I've defined the body do I start to paint the stone effect on it. Then I add typical stone details, such as grain irregularities and cracks, making sure that they're consistent with the light source.

How to paint a stone character - painting anatomy

Painting the anatomy before adding the details of the rock helps to maintain the recognisable human shape of the character

Photo references of stone surfaces come in handy at this point. I also use hard brushes with a rough texture. Finally, I add traces of moss and mud. In some areas such as the face, shoulders, elbows and hip I paint rock formations using broken lines, which suggests the hardness of the stone material.

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Words: Sara Forlenza

Sara Forlenza creates art for book covers, cards and RPGs. After many years with traditional techniques, she was introduced to digital art. It was love at first sight. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 114.

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