I am painting a Venetian Mask using Prismacolor Premier colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol vellum paper.
Parts of the mask and costume in my subject photo have glittery gold on them.
I am able to create the flat gold colours but not the glitter areas. The areas are small (but distinct) so it is hard to put dots of colour to make it look glittery.
Any suggestions?

I have added the photo, the glitter is in the hat, in the red and in the blue areas: enter image description here

  • 1
    Wow, that does sound challenging. Do you think it would help your question to include the reference photo that you're copying?
    – Erica
    Nov 28, 2018 at 15:25
  • Is there a reason why you cannot glue actual glitter to the mask?
    – Elmy
    Nov 28, 2018 at 15:49
  • Thank you Erica, I did think of that but could not see where I could post a photo. I still don't see where I could upload a photo
    – user6395
    Dec 1, 2018 at 16:11
  • Elmy, I am treating this as I would an oil painting. I think adding glitter would make it more 'crafty' and that is not the effect I am looking for.
    – user6395
    Dec 1, 2018 at 16:21
  • 1
    Thanks for the tip. In the photo I am working from you see the gold on the mask is smooth and that is easy enough to reproduce, but the problem is in the hat, both the red on the left and the blue on the right contain glittery gold. I have used an opaque white marker on the shiny parts of the blue fabric below the mask, but not sure what to do about the glitter gold.
    – user6395
    Dec 3, 2018 at 15:16

2 Answers 2


The phrase my first painting teacher used the most was "Contrast in Value-!" The best way to make anything look realistic is to pay attention to the lights and darks, or "value" of the colours. I recommend unfocusing your eyes to take in the general sense of contrast- how much of that "glitter" really stands out? Can you convey what you want without it?

I think the key thing would be leaving areas bright white to imply the reflected light. How far along is the drawing? Assuming your paper is white, you could draw teeny tiny circles for the glittery flecks, but only fill in your colour around them so they stay white and look "shiny."

  • CM that is very good advice, I started that way but unfortunately the areas are so small that it did not achieve the result I was trying to create. I was hoping someone had a 'magic' solution. I am leaning towards "conveying" the idea as you suggested without trying to achieve the glitter effect.
    – user6395
    Dec 1, 2018 at 16:14
  • 2
    Are you restricted to just pencil crayon? A white gel pen is great for adding highlights after the fact. Good luck!
    – cmkirkwood
    Dec 2, 2018 at 17:23
  • I agree with the use of white gel pens or white acrylic paint for adding in sharply contrasting white highlights for glitter effect.
    – Flora Su
    Dec 12, 2018 at 20:02
  • In addition to this answer, drawing halos - letting the brightness cross the edges of the reflective areas and quickly dissolve - around the brightest spots, suggests a diffusion of incoming light (usually due to the bokeh of lenses). This is visible around some of the beads in the reference image, and on most images of glitter you can find online.
    – Joachim
    Dec 22, 2018 at 11:39

There are gold and silver pens with metallic ink that will give you the "pop" of the gold without the kitchiness of actual glitter. There are many brands available if you do a search for "Pen with gold metallic ink".

  • The OP specifically asked for solutions using pencils, not pens; are there pencils that will give the same effect?
    – walrus
    Dec 19, 2018 at 16:29
  • @walrus - that is true but since other suggestions are being offered that are thinking outside the box, I just wanted to add that option to the mix. :-) Dec 19, 2018 at 16:37

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