In this series of articles, our admins aim to answer questions about anything related to comments/commenting, art and more!
This week's question was provided by SECRET-NINJA-SUPER-M:
QBeagle: "I think rendering glitter is a lot like rendering stars, which is just small points of light. The tools shouldn't be too significant for this, as really the contrast in value and the shape of the glitter is what will sell it.
First you'll want to have the stuff around the glitter be a fairly dark color, then do the glitter in a very light color. This contrast in value/darkness is what will make it appear to shine. Obviously the bright spots for the glitter will need to be fairly small and tightly grouped, since that's how glitter tends to fall. Take a look at this picture or this picture, see how those clusters of tiny bright dots against the black have a glittery look?
You can add refraction spikes to the shiny parts to give them extra shine, but depending on your tools this might be kinda hard to do. This picture has some of those. A few of them can really make the shine pop, but too many and it gets distracting."
"(There's) a trick you can use for preserving small lines of white when drawing in pencil.
Place a small stack of paper under the sheet you're drawing on, maybe ten or so extra sheets. Then use something thin, sturdy, and dull to trace the line or point you want to keep white. The idea is to emboss the line/point into the paper so future pencil strokes will slide over it and leave the paper untouched.
For glitter I'd suggest using the pencil with the glitter color on it to do the embossing. Dull the tip a bit to make sure it doesn't puncture the paper, then press it firmly into the paper.
This doesn't work with anything but pencil since any form of ink will likely bleed into the groove and ruin the effect."
Astrikos: "In a traditional format, colored pencils might be useful here, the metallic ones are especially helpful for this kind of texture. With the colored pencil, you could stipple (press a sharpened pencil point to the paper in a random, somewhat dense pattern) in the glitter and then chose a lighter shade (maybe cream or very light blue) and add highlights/shimmer effect by coloring lightly. Another tool you could use is a white gel pen since those are fantastic. They are great for highlights and could be used to add shine to the glitter.
To really sell the effect, you'll want to pay attention to the lighting around your glitter. Since it's refractive and reflects, you'll want to lightly tint the surfaces around it."
astarayel: "I echo the idea that glitter mimics stars as little points of light. If you look at how glitter reacts to light, it's never just silver or gold or whatever other "base" color it appears to be. All glitter seems to carry this rainbow quality--when the light hits just right, it flashes in several different colors on the spectrum. Don't be afraid to play around with this effect, but remember to take into consideration your base light source and make the majority reflections in line with that (i.e. cooler tones for a blue-based light, or warmer for a yellow-based).
Also, I think glitter often has the unique quality of being rectangular or square-shaped--that might distinguish it from odd dots of light in a drawing, particularly when dealing with the awesome challenges of traditional media."
Northstar170: "Personally I'm not very familiar with MS paint, and if I were trying to use glitter on something like Photoshop/GIMP, I'd either look for a glitter effect tool, or try finding a glitter brush online that I could easily load into the program and use. Beyond that, I'm not sure.
For traditional art, a lot of people have mentioned the metallic pencils and stippling them. What might also work is pressing the tip of the pencil to break some off as dust, and them blow/smear that over the desired area on the picture.
But for something like pen art, and maybe even painting, my suggestion would be to get some metallic paint or ink and an air brush that you can blow into. Then just gentle apply the paint or ink to the places you want. The challenge with this is blowing gently and getting the spread you want from the airbrush. You can even try it with opalescent ink or paint, which you wouldn't want to draw with by itself, but if applied to an already colored area, it will give it that rainbowish sheen. You might even be able to mix some inks and paints if you're looking for something super specific."