View Full Version : Chrome and shiny paintwork tips

04-03-2005, 07:57 AM
Inspired by Karen's thread on glass, I thought I'd start one on Chrome and shiny paintwork too. Similar techniques could be used for doing silver or any other shiny metal. I thought I'd kick this one off and hopefully some of the other's who do automotive painting could add to it too. My method is one I've made up as I've gone along and I usually use acrylic along with my CP's for highlights. (Polychromos pencils on arches hotpress)

Firstly I do a simple line drawing, the shape the chrome will be (in this case a headlight) and do a plain white underpainting in CP, this helps the colours slide on to the paper.

Next I draw in the shapes that are reflected in the chrome. Keep in mind the shape of the object - if it's flat or concave or convex. Look very carefully at your ref pic and draw exactly what you see, thats the most important thing. Watch out for things like the bending in a reflection caused by the shape of the chrome. If you're moving your subject out of its natural environment in your painting, think about the things that will be surrounding it in its new habitat and reflect those in your chrome too.

Next I burnish over the top of the entire thing with white CP, a little smudging helps with the reflected look and the white helps tone down the colour a bit too.

Next, I re-emphasize the darks that have been a little too washed out by the burnishing.

And to finish off, I use some acrylic on a very fine brush to create highlights as per the ref pic. With a little more planning you could of course, use a masking fluid in advance to blank out the highlights, but for me, I do things a bit impromptu and have no idea where my highlights will go when I start! I also use the acrylic by dotting it onto the piece and then smudging it with my finger to make a larger area of highlight.

I do all my chrome one piece at a time, because each one is an artwork all on it's own! Hopefully once it's all together it will make sense. Drawing chrome is one thing that often leaves me in a panic at several stages, you just can't believe this is going to work out, and somehow it does everytime!

Karen Cardinal
04-03-2005, 01:11 PM
Wow! I go to sleep and when I wake up I find this outstanding tutorial. :clap: Maybe I should sleep more often. ;)

Wendy this is an excellent explination... thank you! And gee... you even redrew part of your motorcycle for this. You are cool. :D

I certainly hope our other chrome experts out there will add their wisdom to this thread. I've already given it 5 stars. :D

btw: Have great fun on tv today! :D
Just remember... colored pencil art is as high brow as oil paintings... at least we've got to convince people of that. ;)

04-03-2005, 01:33 PM

Thank you Wendy... :clap:

Karen Cardinal
04-03-2005, 01:36 PM
Hey Raquel, just had to say... I love your signature! ;) :D

04-03-2005, 04:00 PM
Wendy: Thank you this is just what I have been looking for. :cat: Kevin

04-03-2005, 05:13 PM
Wendy! This is excellant! :clap:

After reading Karen's tutorial and now yours, I want to get out there and paint something shiny! Thank you so much!


04-03-2005, 07:07 PM
Thankyou guys! It was fun doing a bit of chrome, I've been busy on faces for most of the last week and chrome is my passion! Later today I'm hoping to do a similar tutorial to add to this for metallic paint, like the painted flames on my motorcycle. If no-one else gets the urge I'll do some shiny paint too. (ps TV went great!)

04-03-2005, 08:11 PM
Excellent step by step tutorial on chrome! Thank you for being so patient and showing us how you do this. I'm rating this thread so we can find it easily in the future. Yes, please keep doing WIP's on shiny stuff!

PS Glad TV went well!

04-03-2005, 08:19 PM
Wendy, this is so helpful! I never really looked at chrome close like that, but yeah, all those reflections is what makes it look right. Thanks for the lesson. :clap: :clap: :clap:

04-03-2005, 09:04 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap:

Thank you, Wendy! Excellent explanation (Your chrome looks tooooo real :D )


04-04-2005, 01:56 PM
:music: :clap: (The Applause reaches a crescendo!) :clap: :music:
This is exactly the kind of stuff I need to see in process!!!!

04-04-2005, 02:51 PM
Thanks a bunch Wendy!

So more details on the TV thing, please......

My husband thinks I've lost it. More than usual that is. Lately I have been seen walking slowly around the motor cycles in the garage, wondering what viewpoint would make the best composition. He thinks I'm just weird but hasn't asked what exactly I amdoing. I figure I'll just let him wonder for a while..... :evil: :wink2:

Too cool....thanks again

04-04-2005, 04:26 PM
... He thinks I'm just weird but hasn't asked what exactly I amdoing. I figure I'll just let him wonder for a while..... :evil: :wink2:

Weezy! If your husband's anything like I am- or most husbands for that matter- , he's been wondering what you and other women are "up to" since puberty! :wink2:

04-04-2005, 06:01 PM
ROFL Jerry! :) My man told me the same thing a few weeks ago when I asked him why he seemed so perplexed all the time hehe.

Weezy, I did a tv advertisement live on local tv yesterday, it went great, two commissions so far and counting!

I'm about to start working on another tutorial for metallic paint and then another for shiny paint and I'll add these to the thread. And I have it on good authority that Lucio is working on something too, that will be awesome and I can't wait to see it! :)

04-04-2005, 06:51 PM
I can't wait for school to begin!!! :clap: :cool:

04-04-2005, 10:39 PM
Okay on to Shiny paint! I'm also doing this as a practise for a hotrod I want to start on later :) I'm using the same picture to do this demo and also later for the metallic paint demo. I've done this very small, about the same size as it appears on the screen, so it looks a little rough! It's in polychromos on Figueras paper. Here is the ref shot. It's the front fender of a hotrod, thats the chrome engine at the top of the picture.

I've left out the raindrops in my drawing...that'd be a whole other tutorial!

Here goes :)
This is the line drawing I've done. Very basic, using CP in the colour the drawing will be in that area to save myself erasing.

I've put a layer of mauve straight down very thickly with no underpainting and blended it well with a tortillion. For me, I just find that visualising the first layer as the paint of the car and then the darks and lights the lightplay on the vehicle, added later, works for me. You may notice that I was halfway through the next step before I remembered to scan this one, sorry!)

(I've lightened this so you can better see the reflections) Look for the things that are reflected in the paint, the same as with chrome. Draw those in quite darkly in the case of dark paint. Basically you are drawing exactly what you see in the photo. In this case there weren't enough reflections so I added one from another pic of the same car (me and my kids reflected in the bottom right!) I do the darkest reflections first. At this stage I work with my paper and ref pic upside down so I draw what I really see. Remember to think about the shape of the object you're painting so that your show that in your shading. If you paint what you see, that should take care of itself.( In this case I realised my line drawing was way out and corrected it :) This is a warts and all demo!

I then do the lighter reflections and highlights, as well as the reflected green that there is in some places and the red around the sun and clouds. For the white sun and surrounding clouds, I lifted off some colour with my kneaded eraser for the clouds and with tape for the sun so it would be bright enough. I actually moved the position of the sun in my pic because I just thought it looked better there for this crop.

At last I get the hue saturation right on the scanner! Then it's just a matter of fine tuning, smoothing with a tortillion and it's done.
I think this is fine without my usual acrylic highlights. I know some are interested in them though. Don't be afraid to try acrylic, if you have it a little watered (doesn't need to be more than a wet brush before adding paint really) the acrylic will rub off very easily with your finger while still damp. Once its dry you can still scrape it off easily. At least that's the case with Polychromos! So a mistake doesn't have to be a disaster.

That's it, hope it helped! Back later with the metallic half of the picture.

04-05-2005, 10:31 PM
Okay here's my final contribution :) This is my demo on how I do metallic paint finishes. One of the ways anyway, this is my simplest and it works for me. This is a continuation of the last drawing, above, the flame part of the paintwork. Unfortunately I've had quite a bit of trouble getting the scans to be an accurate colour! I apologise for the roughness of the drawings too, I did them for demonstration rather than perfection :)

Firstly, as before, I lay down the main colour of the paint. In this case I used light phthalo green. Then I blend it in really well with a tortillion to make it nice and smooth.

Then I add in the coloured reflections and the darker reflections/shadows as before, going slightly darker each time (pine green - purple violet - dark indigo).

Then, I add in the white and/or light highlights and polish them as I go with a tortillion to ensure its a nice even shiny finish.

This time I use acrylic to brighten the highlights as for a metallic finish, acrylic is the easiest way I know.

Finally I load my very fine brush very lightly with watered acrylic and dab at the metallic area's. I start with very watered acrylic and slowly thicken the paint, the aim being for the thickest acrylic to be in the brightest spots. In some cases, depending on the metallic finish, you may need to use lots of different colours of acrylic or vary the colours of the colour pencil underneath. For my motorcycles metallic flames, I used white in the brightest part of the flames, then a light yellow, graduating to a dark yellow and then I put a wash of a dark green over parts of the dark yellow. Finally I did the white acrylic spots in the white area's and thinned them out gradually as the colours darkened. This created the metallic look there. It was one of those metallic paint finishes that changes colour a little in different lights.


Well thats it from me! I hope some of it was helpful. :wave:

04-06-2005, 12:00 AM
...I actually moved the position of the sun in my pic because I just thought it looked better there for this crop. ....

...That's it, hope it helped! Back later with the metallic half of the picture.

WENDY!!! I knew you were good, but...'moving the position of the sun'??? :p

No wonder it's 'helpful!!! That's an understatement! This is 'what the doctor ordered' for me!

THANK YOU!!! :clap:

Karen Cardinal
04-06-2005, 07:36 AM
WOW! Wendy this is amazing! What a perfect lesson!
You rock! :clap:

Thank you sooooo much!

I can't wait to see what Lucio adds! Thanks so much for starting this one. :D

04-06-2005, 06:38 PM
Thanks so much Wendy for taking the time to do these.... fabulous.

04-06-2005, 06:53 PM
This was a fantastic tutorial. Thanks for posting it. I can't wait to try chrome or something shiny now.


04-08-2005, 05:21 AM
great, maybe an old dog can learn a new trick. bill