The texture of rock is deceptively simple, but it gets quite complicated when you try to get it right. In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a texture of a single rock or stone, and a texture of a structure made of stones, like a road or the wall of a medieval castle.
How to Draw Stone and Rock Textures
What You Will Need
- HB pencil
- 2B pencil
- 4B pencil
- 6B pencil
- Pencil sharpener
- Kneaded (or normal) eraser
- Blending stump (optional)
It’s very hard to draw a rock texture from imagination. You may do better if you take a look at some photo references first, for example:
1. How to Draw a Rock
Draw a top of the rock using the HB pencil. It should be roughly an oval, but not round at all.
Add a side of the rock by drawing the bottom and connecting both parts.
Gently sketch the edge of the rock to make it blunter. The wider these edge, the rounder the rock. You can even go all the way to the top, to create a dome shape.
Add more guide lines to see the 3D form of the rock before you start shading. Use the eraser to make them barely visible.
Slightly tilt your pencil and shade a side of the rock. Don’t cover the guide lines completely—leave a suggestion of them by pressing harder.
Take the 2B pencil and shade the part of the rock that won’t be directly illuminated. This time, don’t tilt your pencil so much, but try to draw little details: shadows between the “layers” of the rocks. You can create a very convincing texture just by drawing long, horizontal X shapes.
Take the HB pencil again, tilt it, and draw rough “waves” on top of the rock. A rock surface is never smooth, and this will help us show this.
Add more details to both the top and the side using the 2B pencil. The texture of rock is all about chaos that can’t be planned, so you need to be really creative with your strokes here.
Take the eraser and brighten the illuminated edge with it. A bright edge is a great way to accentuate the shape of the rock.
Take the 4B pencil and use it to draw fine crevices and scratches. Think about this part of the drawing as negative space—you don’t want to draw dark lines, you want to accentuate the bright parts.
Use the 2B pencil for the details on top. This is the illuminated side, and we don’t want too much contrast here.
Look at your drawing from a distance and try to see what else can be improved by seeing the whole rock, not a set of strokes. Good shading does wonders, but don’t use too many details—they may drag attention from the rock as a whole.
2. How to Draw a Stone Wall/Road
Just like with the rock, draw the top of the structure first. Since it’s man-made, it should have a rather regular shape. Feel free to use a ruler for this, and draw using the HB pencil.
Draw the height of the structure…
… and connect it with the bottom.
Divide the height into as many parts as you need. The height of each part will be the height of a stone.
Draw the rows on every side. The stones in this structure will not be as neatly placed as bricks, but they still should follow this rhythm as well as possible.
Imagine the stones are already on the side. Draw the width of their top.
Sketch the rhythm of the stones. Again, they won’t be as regular as bricks, but a regular placement is required for durability of the structure.
Luckily, such regularity is not required within the first row. First, sketch a chaotic rhythm on top…
… then draw the outline of the rocks inside. Here they don’t need to be as regular. Instead, try to place them very tight, with small rocks between the big ones.
Time to add some form to each stone. Follow the perspective of the whole structure to decide which sides of the stone should be visible. Also, don’t forget to make the edge blunt—this will make it more primitive in look.
Fill the spaces between the stones by pressing harder. Don’t make it too regular, but rather use it to “cut” some parts of the stones for a more natural look.
Take the 2B pencil (sharpen it well) to make the filling between the stones less uniform.
Take the HB pencil again, tilt it, and shade the top of the stones. Don’t fill the sides by accident!
Shade the sides of the construction, keeping the edges white.
Take the 2B pencil and make the shadowed sides darker, both of the whole structure…
… and of each stone on top.
Take the 4B pencil to darken the sides even more and accentuate the details during the process.
Take the 6B pencil and shade the stones on the shadowed side with more detail. Pay attention to the crevices that have no way to be illuminated.
Shade the side of each top stone with the same pencil. This will increase the contrast of the whole structure.
The illuminated side must stay light, but not without any details. Use the 2B pencil to add some.
Finally, take two steps back and look at the drawing as a whole. How can it be improved? In my case, I’ve used the blending stump to remove any trace of whiteness on the shadowed side, brightened the front with the eraser, and darkened the back of the top.
You did it! If you enjoyed learning this way, check out other tutorials from this series:
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