I recently came across a tutorial detailing how to draw gemstones using markers and colored pencils. I was intrigued, and I immediately stopped what I was doing to try it! The results, however, were less than impressive. The gems in the tutorial looked gorgeous. Mine, in contrast, ended up being full of paper fibers … the markers were too abrasive for my 70# drawing paper.
I was left scratching my head. At this point, I was determined to draw gemstones that looked as pretty as the ones in the tutorial. So, I conducted a little experiment …
In the end, I found that crayons seem to make the best gemstones! Wax crayons like your standard Crayolas are naturally shiny and blend well, which makes them the perfect candidate for drawing gemstones.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to draw gemstones in a few simple steps. At the end, you’ll find a quick summary video as well as inspiration for incorporating gemstones into your art and snail mail endeavors!
1. Gather Supplies
Today, I’m going to show you how to draw a turquoise stone. The technique, however, can be tweaked to draw gemstones of any color!
To make a turquoise gemstone, you will need the following:
Crayons in these three colors: White, Cerulean, and Sky Blue (For other gemstones, you’ll want white, a light version of a certain color, and a dark version of that same color.)
Brown colored pencil
White paint + paintbrush
Make sure your crayons are nice and sharp! You can use any handheld pencil sharpener to carve them to a fine point.
2. Draw the Body of the Gemstone
Start by using your Sky Blue crayon to draw an oval outline.
Next, use the brown colored pencil to draw shapes and waves as shown. This step is optional, and is exclusive to making a turquoise gemstone. You can skip this step with other gemstone colors!
Pick up your Sky Blue crayon again, and use it to lightly color in the oval. Don’t be afraid to color over the brown shapes that you just drew!
Now, use your Cerulean crayon to draw a downward-facing crescent in the oval. The outside of the crescent should echo the contours of the oval’s edge.
Fill in the crescent such that your oval now looks like this:
At this point, you’ll want to use the white crayon to burnish the blues. Make sure you exert fairly strong pressure to ensure that everything is smooth and blended.
Once you finish with the white crayon, you will probably notice that the blues still aren’t completely blended. To fix that, use the Sky Blue crayon and medium-heavy pressure to draw around the edges of the crescent to blend it in better with the rest of the gemstone. Try to avoid drawing in the cavity in the middle of the crescent: that area should stay as light as possible.
Finish up by using the Cerulean crayon and heavy pressure to give the top of the crescent more contrast.
At this point, your creation probably won’t exactly resemble a gemstone. Stay with me here! After you add a few more finishing touches, it will.
3. Add a Shadow
Once you have drawn the body of the gemstone, grab your pencil and use it to make a thin outline along the perimeter.
Next, draw a dark pencil line under the gemstone. The line should be about 1/16″ (2 mm) wide, and it should echo the contour of the bottom of the gemstone.
Use a much lighter touch to draw a 1/16″ (2 mm) contoured addition to the line.
To finish up the shadow, use your index finger to blend the dark pencil line with the light pencil line. Starting at the top of the dark pencil line, make a short stroke with your finger to just below the light pencil line. Continue to make short strokes with your finger along the length of the shadow.
Finger blending will draw the darker part of the shadow into the lighter part of the shadow, and allow the shadow to naturally fade into the white paper. It’s a simple way to make the gemstone look more realistic and natural!
4. Add Highlights
To finish up the gemstone, you’ll need white opaque paint. I use Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White, but there are a lot of other things you could use, including: white correction fluid (e.g. Wite-Out), white gouache, or white acrylic paint.
Use the white paint and a small brush (size zero or so) to paint 2-3 contoured lines near the top of the gemstone. Allow the paint to dry, and you’ve got a beautiful illustrated turquoise stone!
Sometimes it’s easier to understand how to do something when you can watch a video, so I made the following for visual learners:
It’s fun to draw gemstones for no particular reason, but they also incorporate well into projects! The “Roman” hand-lettering and Flourish Formal Style mail art below, for example, benefits immensely from the crayon gemstones on the left and in the “O”s.
You can also incorporate crayon gemstones into illustrations! One of my 2017 goals is to make more artwork for our home, so I made this crosshatched ink illustration of a bejeweled hand (prints are available on Society6).
I love how the turquoise rings “pop”! They contrast beautifully with the black and white hand.
Regardless of what project you decide to to enhance with these illustrated gemstones, I know that you’ll really enjoy making them! I’d love to see your creations on Facebook and Instagram (#thepostmansknock) — it’s always so cool for me to see how you run with tutorial ideas and make them your own!
Enjoy the rest of your day, and thanks so much for reading TPK!