View Full Version : Some Tips for Creating Glass in CP

Karen Cardinal
04-02-2005, 09:34 PM
I am not an expert at drawing glass, but I thought everyone might find something useful from the things I've learned doing this so far.

Drawing glass is really no different than drawing any other subject. Attention to detail and accurate values are what creates the illusion of shiny glass. There are a couple of tips that I've picked up though that help with that illusion and I'm more than happy to share them with you.

All objects reflect the colors of objects around it and shiny objects even more so. To create clear glass you can't try to draw the glass, but draw the reflections on the glass and the objects inside of or behind the glass. For colored glass you still are drawing the reflections, and surrounding objects, but you will also be "tinting" the area of the glass to create the right color. You have to be aware of highlights, shadows and reflected light and always try to avoid outlining.

When drawing glass, the color is unimportant. The illusion depends completely on accurate values. If your colors are perfect but your values are off, the glass won't look like glass. The only time you will worry about getting your colors "right" is when you are showing a reflected object in the glass.

It doesn't matter whether you create a grisaille or outline your patterns (like I did for the crystal decanter), it's the contrast of light and dark that will help to create shiny glass.

If you are drawing on white paper, keep a few bright highlight areas free of any pencil. The best white is simply to let the white of the paper show.

The shape of your highlight depends on the shape of your object. Some are short and round and some are long and thin, but I've found that leaving a small "dot" of untouched white paper in the center of the highlight and using my white pencil to "drag" the highlight from the center to the edge of the highlight helps keep it looking more realistic.

A ring of cloud blue on the edge of a highlight helps make the highlight area sparkle.

To really make the glass shine, use high contrast. Place very dark areas next to your lightest areas.

No matter how see-through the glass is, an object behind the glass will be at least slightly distorted and the colors will either be a little less bright (if it's clear glass) or tinted to the color of the glass in front of it.

It doesn't matter how you get your colors on the paper, but if you want to make realistic glass you must be aware of all the reflections and imperfections in the glass. Small scratches and distortions in the glass adds a level of realism.

The same methods for drawing glass can also be applied to other shiny object including eyes.

As with any other subject, sketches are very important! Most of the time I like to make color sketches so all my tough decisions are already made. With the glasses and reflections I didn't realize the problems of trying to interpret a fabulous photo until I made my color sketches.

I hope these tips are helpful for you!
If you have any questions, comments or tips of your own, please don't hesitate to post them.

04-02-2005, 11:20 PM

I find these tips most helpful. Thanks a lot. Its a problem to depict regular crockery never mind that kind of still life stuff that reflects. Some of you all have chrome and the like down pat. But these tips are great for those of us who have never tried it before. If anyone has other tips for this stuff, please add to this thread so we can all profit by it.

I also seem to remember somebody doing a 'developing glass' via help from their computer to empahsize and create the reflections. I thought it might have been Carol Chretien. Do you remeber what I am speaking of? I am afraid it might have been in the oil forum. Do you remember if this EVER showed up in the CP forum?

How about you fellas that do automotive stuff.....do you remember seeing this kind of thread on reflections at all? Thanks for any input.... :wave: :wave:

04-02-2005, 11:22 PM
Excellent lesson and examples Karen, I learned a lot! Thank you so much.


...remember to 'rate the threads' :)

Karen Cardinal
04-02-2005, 11:40 PM
Thank you so much Val! I really apreciate your kind words! :D
As someone who really knows glass, you could probably give us some great tips on how glass reflects and distorts and what kind of observations you've made working with glass.

Thank you also Weezy for your wonderful compliment! I'm not sure which lesson that is you are talking about. It sounds like a great one. If you or anyone else tracks it down, please let us know.

... and yes... any of you shiny objects/glass experts out there... please do add your tips to this thread! I can't wait to see some more added to this lesson! :D

04-03-2005, 12:24 AM
Five star to this thread :D
Really useful!

04-03-2005, 03:12 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap:
Wonderful, thank you! I still need to try glass....you make it sound downright exciting to do :D


Karen Cardinal
04-03-2005, 03:46 AM
Lucio, thank you soooo much! I would LOVE to see you add some tips / hints / suggestions about drawing glass to this thread! There are so many of you out there that are so talented at creating these beautiful shiny objects... come on... help me out here. :D

Meisie, thank YOU for the compliment! Yes glass is exciting and fun to draw... of course I think it's all fun. ;)
Please do draw some glass! I recall hearing you promise to try some glass or crystal quite a long time ago. I'm still waiting. ;) I know you'd do a fabulous job with it!

04-03-2005, 03:59 AM
Thank you Karen, I will find this really useful as I want to do one of my cats with the large eyes and some marbles and call it 'Glass Eyes'. I just need to find the right picture now. :clap: :clap:


Karen Cardinal
04-03-2005, 04:03 AM
My goodness thank you Gayle!
Your eyes and everything you do is so perfect, I wouldn't think there was anything I could teach you.

Your drawing sounds like it will be wonderful (but that would be no surprise). I can't wait to see it! :D

04-03-2005, 05:31 AM
I could do a little wip of chrome if that helps? Unless one of the others who are better like Lucio or George wanted to instead?

Katherine T
04-03-2005, 05:49 AM
I think a separate thread for chrome would be good - because then we could put it in with the motor art section of the CP Library, whereas this useful glass thread is probably better off within a Still Life section.

Wendy - why don't you discuss it with the guys, you could do a shiny chrome thread where you all do a WIP in turn within the same thread.


04-03-2005, 05:54 AM
Good thinking Katherine :) I'll PM the guys and work out the details.

04-03-2005, 08:41 AM
Great topic!

I burnish hard, smooth and shiny things.

04-03-2005, 01:40 PM
Excellent Karen! :clap:

Thank you for putting it all together... :)

Karen Cardinal
04-03-2005, 01:46 PM
Thank you for the compliments everyone!
I would love to see this inspire someone to create a work with glass in it.
I know Meisie will be doing one! :evil: ;)

... and Raquel, I still love your signature. ;)

Don't forget... if you have some tips of your own for drawing glass, please feel free to add them!

04-03-2005, 04:08 PM
Karen: An excellent tutorial,Thanks for doing it :cat: Kevin

04-03-2005, 05:07 PM
WOW! That was great! :clap: Thank you.


04-03-2005, 06:31 PM
You betcha! I'm going to do one!!! :D
and sooner, rather than later too...;)


04-03-2005, 08:52 PM
Great suggestions, Karen!

I've never tried glass (intimidates heck out of me :p ) but I might now, LOL :)

Thanks for posting this,


Karen Cardinal
04-03-2005, 09:40 PM
Thank you so much Kevin, Rita and Jeri! I am thrilled that you found something useful in my tips! :D

Jeri, no need to be intimidated by glass. If you can do all those stripes on the zebra and spots on the giraffe, you have the observation skills and patience to do glass!
Go ahead and try it... come on you know you want to... you don't want poor little Meisie to be sitting there drawing glass all by herself now would you... ;) :D

04-03-2005, 11:38 PM

This is a great thread and I think it's useful even to non-glass images because it underlines that great saying of all art, "draw what you see, not what's there." As a graphite artist first, I have had the darndest time transferring that idea over into color and this thread illustrates it beautifully. Bravo and thanks!

04-04-2005, 02:04 AM
Quote: "Go ahead and try it... come on you know you want to... you don't want poor little Meisie to be sitting there drawing glass all by herself now would you... "

:p Better get cracking...I interrupted my drawing of mustcreate's marbles, to check this thread out!!

Meisie :D

04-04-2005, 08:39 AM
I am getting ready to do a piece with glass reflected in mirrors, am I a glutton for punishment or what? This will help me alot. Thanks.

04-04-2005, 01:04 PM
Yay! Thanks for 'joining in'....except you will have quite the task I think! Can't wait to see it!


Karen Cardinal
04-06-2005, 07:45 AM
Thank you so much Maggie and Sheila! I love the thought that this can be helpful.

Sheila, I can't wait to see your work! It sounds great.

btw: Meisie, how are you coming along with yours? ;)

04-06-2005, 01:10 PM
Ready to transfer...hopefully later today :)