Learn a quick and easy way to airbrush some cool looking rock textures, making use of the splatter effect!
There are various ways to create different rock textures however this tutorial deals with perhaps the most simple way of creating an effective looking‘exploding’ rock texture.
You will need some special equipment for this tutorial:
- A cutting blade
- A masking material (in the airbrush video tutorial I demonstrate the use of application tape, however there are many options available such as frisket, calmask or azlan).
Lay your masking material onto the desired surface to be airbrushed. Make sure that the material is flat and that there are no air bubbles. When you are comfortable that the material is laid out well, draw out your design using a pencil.
If making your own design, take note that the rocks to the left of the design are larger and closer together, the further they the get from the ‘explosion’ the smaller and further away they become.
If you are having trouble with your design, you can download the PDF available at the bottom of the page to assist you – simply cut out the shapes and transfer the design onto your masking material.
Cut out your design with your cutting blade. Take extra care to ensure you only cut the masking material and not the surface underneath.
Remove the ‘rocks’ or pieces of masking film where you need to airbrush your base color.
Next you will need to mix your airbrush paints; you will need to mix three colors in total:
- A base color – the color to flat tone your rocks. Your base can be almost any color, however it is recommended that you use a lighter color to begin with – it could be a medium grey, blue, red, yellow etc. In the airbrush video tutorial on the right hand side of the page we use the mdf wood’s natural color as a base.
- A shadow color – this will be the base color with it’s darkest component added – in the video tutorial we add red to the orange color and perhaps a drop or two of black.
- A highlight color – any color substantially lighter than your base color. We used white with a touch of the base color added.
Put the mixed color into your airbrush and get ready to spray!
Now flat tone the rocks with your base color. A flat tone is when you completely cover an area with 100% paint hence creating a ‘flat’ or single tone.
After you have done this, pour the remainder of your base color into the cup you mixed it in and rinse the airbrush – you will now be putting your highlight color into the airbrush in preparation for the splatter effect.
Perform the splatter effect.
Now we are going to play around with some light sources.
Tip: You can tear out a section of paper to use as a loose stencil (shown in the slide viewer to the right) to help with the appearance of your rocks – but pay close attention to which direction your shadows and highlights are coming from!
Decide which direction your light source will be coming from.
You are going to airbrush shadows on the opposite side to the highlighted side – the height at which you airbrush these shadows is determined by the type of rocks that you would like to airbrush.
Airbrushing the shadow from a greater distance will make the rocks appear more rounded, from a closer distance they will appear flat.
When you are happy with your shadows, as a final touch you can apply a light figure 8 texture to your rocks with the shadow color.
Now switch to your highlight color.
Do the same action as what you have just done for the shadows on the opposing sides of the rock so that there is now a shadowed side and a highlight side.
Take a step back and see how your airbrushed rock texture is looking. If you see any areas where you can noticeably add highlights for better impact then do so now.
Change to your shadow color one last time in preparation for airbrushing drop shadows.
You can now remove the remainder of your mask.
Peel it off carefully to ensure the paint sticks to the surface and that none of your canvas is peeling off (depending on the type of surface you are airbrushing).
Now from the same side that you airbrushed the original shadows on the rocks, you are going to add a drop shadow to the background of the artwork, but slightly overlapping the rocks. You want to create the effect that these rocks are sitting on top of the canvas.
Once again you are the master of illusion here – you can make the rocks appear higher from the surface by airbrushing the shadow further from the rock and/ or by airbrushing the shadow at a further distance from the artwork or vice versa for the appearance of closer rocks.
Go ahead and airbrush your shadows as pictured.
Your rocks are complete!! If you want to add a bit of spark you can go ahead and add a couple of starbursts with your highlight color – this is a typical addition for commercial artists.
Stand back and admire your work!!