Hello fellow jewelers, Can anyone give me some great advice on
jewelry rendering? I want my designs to be viewed on a professional
level. I was thinking about using grey illustration paper and
sketching my designs in color pencil. Am I heading in the right
Personally I prefer colored pencil on heavy black paper (I use
construction paper). The main thing to make it look "professional’
is to display it correctly. Put your drawings in a manilla envelope
and it looks pretty amateurish; framed in white and nicely arranged
in a portfolio and you’ve got something to be proud of.
Try this book for very thorough info on pro rendering.-“The Art Of
Jewelry Design” by Maurice P. Galli, Dominique Riviere, and Fanfan
Li. It is a definitive resource for jewelry design/rendering. It is a
rather large, hardback book, measuring 12 x 10. Kind of expensive
too. I paid $60 for it several years ago. But probably the best I’ve
come across on this subject, in years.
The Art of Jewelry Design: Principles of Design, Rings and Earrings
~Maurice P. Galli , Nina Giambelli , Dominique Riviere , Fanfan Li
Manufacturer : Schiffer Publishing
Release data : 01 October, 1999
Hello Rachel - I teach Jewelry Design-Rendering at Minneapolis
Community & Technical College in our Jewelry Department program. You
definitely are headed in the right direction ! Here is a short list
of items that will be very helpful to you in getting started.
GOOD LIGHTING IS A MUST.
1. A fine acid-free marker such as a Micron 03
2. Bristol or Vellum paper
3. Grey paper - various shades & textures.
4. Magic Rub eraser
5. Erasable colored pencil set (at least 24 colors)
6. Template set
7. 6 inch ruler
8. Fixatif spray for your finished piece
9. 4x6 or 5x7 matte boards
10. A white 'gel' pen for reflection and hilights
11. Tracing paper
Make sure you do your drawings on a hard surface (no paper or tablet
under your design paper)
If you’re right handed try to work from the top left side to the
bottom right side of the design so you don’t smudge your work.
Finally, I advise all students to use reference materials or jewelry
magazines to observe/study the light reflections, shadows, and color
tone variations in photographs of jewelry. There are some fabulous
books out there on jewelry illustration Adolpho Matteo (not sure if
I spelled it correctly) is one of the best.
Best of success to you, and never, never throw anything away that
you’ve drawn… keep it in a journal. I can also email some of my
colored renderings to you if you want to see my technique… but
everyone is a little different, so I hope more people add to this
This is actually something I have a bit of expertise in (being a
designer not a metal smith – at least I haven’t actually worked in
metal in about 20 or so years).
When I was at FIT, I learned how to render designs with paint on
gray paper (I forget what the paper was called). It was tedious and
took me days to do one design. Years later, I got power point. I used
my knowledge to develop a method using power point. It’s not 3D, but
I fill the piece with a shaded goldish or gray color (the former for
yellow gold the latter for silver or white gold). There’s also a
color I use for pink gold. Stones I just do a fill on the color for
cabochon and square and diamond shaped no-fill shapes for the facets
on a faceted stone. I hope that helps.
as far as basic approach goes you are heading in the right direction.
A lovely warm dove-grey Ingres paper will give you a classy start.
Use of a titanium white gouache is recommended as either a highlight
or even as a thinly painted ground for your colour work. I have found
that a light silhouette wash of the item being rendered, followed by
working over that wash when it is dry (a little like dry gesso
technique) will give your colours a dynamic lift that straight colour
work directly on grey may lack. It also has the effect of making the
jewellery seem to jump off the page - very effective. This is a
technique that has (modestly) won me four Diamonds International
Awards, and one that I have taught my students for the last twenty or
I was taught to use pencil on either drafting vellum or black artist
board, and goache for color. I also use Prismacolors for color
images. The book that my teacher recommended was “Techniques of
Jewelry Illustration and Color Rendering” by Adolfo Mattiello.
Hi, all! My experience with working on fine papers, with 2D design,
printmaking, calligraphy, and other pursuits, is to shield the paper
with something below your hand. Another sheet of paper is good,
especially the sheet of words you are working from to create a piece
of calligraphy. The first draft of a letter (yes I write them out
with a fountain pen) is also handy.
I was watching animators at work once. They draw individual frames
of a cartoon on clear vinyl “cels”. One animator was wearing a plain
cotton glove, (IJS part numbers 229-RGL and -RGS) with index and
middle finger tips cut off, and the thumb as well. The substrate was
protected from natural skin oils, and no tactile sense of the
drawing/painting tool was lost.