5 ways to add sparkle to your illustrations with Scott Mason

by Cass Art

During this festive time I know we all enjoy adding a little sparkle, a little glitter n glam to our drawings. I also know a lot of products claim to offer sparkle or a shimmer but once they’re applied to your drawing they just don’t live up to the hype. So I’m going to take you through five ways to add sparkle to your illustrations that will leave you feeling like you’re crafting your very own winter wonderland.

 1.     Liquitex Medium:

First up is Liquitex’s Acrylic ‘Gold Metallic Medium’ I only discovered mediums recently, but they can really add something special. This medium can be used in a few ways, first up you can use it on its own to create a loose translucent gold cover on your drawing, just paint some directly onto your drawing. 


Another method is to mix acrylic paint directly with the medium, normally 1:1 measurements, and once mixed it gives this beautiful gold shimmer to the paint which you can then apply normally. Third and final way is to use the medium on its own as a finishing touch on your piece. The medium is transparent enough applying it on top of a solid colour will give the colour a gold shimmer but not cover the existing colour.

On the illustration below I used solely the medium on the top portion, then mixed the medium and paint together for the bottom section, and finally applied a few strokes of just the medium on top once the paint had dried.


2.     Liquitex Paint

This paint is gorgeous, I’d bathe in it if it it came in a large enough container. These metallic shades are so rich and full of pigment, coming in differing coppers, silvers, golds and more they lay beautifully on the page and shine like genuine metal when dried.


For this illustration I used a few of the different shades to showcase the range of colours, layering them on top of each other and the sparkle of the piece at the end is gorgeous. You can use these to paint with fully or can save them for little golden or silver highlights at the end when you want particular elements of the piece to shimmer.


 3.     Winsor & Newton Pro Markers

Pro Markers have always been a fave of mine for years, the metallic range comes in 6 colours: Gold, Red Gold, Silver, Blue, Green and Violet. They are incredibly opaque and so won’t blend like your usual Pro Markers but are perfect for adding sparkling finishing touches to your piece. They have two nibs, one narrow for details and one thicker for broad strokes.


In the below illustration I just used the Pro Marker sparingly to highlight the earring as the main focus of the illustration. Applying the Red Gold, Green and Violet to add a different texture to the rest of the illustration to help the accessory pop. You can apply these on top of any. Dry material, watercolour, markers, acrylic paint, so definitely worth experimenting with some mixed media.

  4.     Winsor & Newton Gold Ink

I never used inks until Inktober a couple years ago, they’ve intimidated me for a while as they can be quite messy and very ‘final’ but once I opened this gold ink it was love at first sight. Once applied it dances on the page, incredible sparkle and looks even better once it’s dried. Perfect for applying little touches of details to a finished piece. 


For the below illustration I used the ink over dried watercolour as I wanted the dress to have a metallic print. Important to wait for the first layer to dry, so once the blue watercolour was dry I used a paint brush to create these abstract shapes on top being careful to not apply too much ink on the brush otherwise it will go everywhere. You can use all kinds of things to apply this ink to an illustration, cotton buds, nib pens, the other end of paint brushes, a pipette. Experiment and see what works best for you.

 5.     Liquitex Paint Marker

Didn’t realise these existed until very a few weeks ago, it’s essentially the strong beautiful acrylic paint but in an easier to/manage form. Just pop the lid, shake then repeatedly apply pressure to the nib and the paint will starter flowing down. This is another one I would use for little hints of shimmer in an illustration, if you fill half a drawing with it I reckon it will lose its charm but if you use the fine nib end to apply a gold shimmer to an earring, some jewellery, some make up etc it really lifts your illustration.


For this illustration I used it sparingly and to suggest the precious metal the earrings would be made out of. Because of the nib end you can be a lot more precise with this pen as opposed to a paintbrush to it’s a great way to get exact shapes with paint in an illustration.


And that’s my round up of 5 ways to add some sparkle to your illustrations! There’s no reason you can’t mix and match the above together, use the ink with a pro marker illustration, or the medium on top of the acrylic pen. Just experiment, have fun and enjoy the sparkle.

You can see more of Scott's amazing work by following him on his Instagram here.

Back to blog