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Last week I went over the process of choosing a rock for my current rock painting project. So now I have a rock. A pretty rock. And it seems like it will work for my tiger. But now what?

Once I’ve chosen a rock and determined it is going to work (or at least think it will), I wash it and paint it with an all-purpose sealer. I’ve painted rocks before with and without using sealer, and I prefer to seal my rocks. Paint slides on more smoothly, and since the sealer prevents the rock from sucking up most of the paint, I don’t have to use as much paint to get a good solid base coat. The process of cleaning and sealing the rock usually takes a few hours of drying time, but once it’s dry, it’s ready to be drawn on.

White charcoal sketch of a tiger on a rock

Final white charcoal sketch.

I usually use a white charcoal pencil, unless the rock is a light color. I love using white charcoal because it’s easy to see and easy to erase. It does tend to smudge, so I have to be careful, but it’s worth the erasing ease. For my rock art, at least, I usually draw and erase and redraw until I am happy with a drawing. This tiger was no different, and each part was drawn and redrawn several times until I was content with the result.

I keep my reference photos and rough sketches splayed out in front of me as I work. I also tend to listen to music, or have a tv show playing in the background, or any number of random things while I work. It somehow keeps me focused–perhaps by engaging my less artistic side so it doesn’t try to interfere with the creative process. I find I get restless if I don’t have something else going on. It’s odd, I know. So this time, I had the tv show “Angel” playing in the background on my laptop,  a mug of delicious Chocolate Cake in a Mug (a delightful recipe from Melissa on “While We’re Paused – The Official Blog of Lantern Hollow Press”), and I was chatting with a friend on Facebook chat. (This is also how I tended to do my college homework, and it seemed pretty successful.)

Cake in a mug

5 Minute Cake in a Mug with powdered sugar...you know you want some...

Once the charcoal drawing was finished, I used a permanent pen to draw over the lines, and erased the white charcoal. The charcoal is usually not very pretty to paint over, as the powdery charcoal mixes with the paint. The pen lines are clear and crisp and give me a good working reference. They don’t mix with the paint or smear as I hold the rock at different angles.

I mixed a little blue paint into orange to create a mellow tiger orange, and painted on a rough base coat. It looks very orange in the photograph, but it’s not quite so dramatic in person. I then blocked out the shadows in a darker orange, and the areas that will be white with gray paint.

Now it looks like a cartoon panther. But fear not. Behind every cartoon panther is a realistic tiger just waiting to be found.

God Bless,



My Question for You:

I use music, background movies, chatting with friends, and chocolate to keep me busy working. What kinds of things do you do to keep at work?