How do I learn chrome

Online tutorial - learn to draw
Draw chrome and mirror effects
by Markus Agerer

A very interesting subject when painting and drawing is the representation of chrome and mirror effects. In this drawing tutorial you will learn how to draw and paint chrome and mirror effects.

Draw and paint chrome, gold, silver, bronze and the like

The question of how to paint or draw chrome, gold, silver or other shiny surfaces comes up again and again. Many have difficulty recognizing the color of the materials.
There are extra pens that are gold, silver or bronze in color, but you get on the wrong track. The pens are of no use in realistically depicting gold, silver, bronze, etc.


Excerpt from the colored pencil drawing “Pralines on aluminum foil” as an example of the mirror effects of aluminum foil - by Markus Agerer

With these surfaces, it is quite simply the case that they have a certain color and also have the property of reflecting. For example, gold is yellow, silver and chrome are white, and bronze is orange / brown. The real gold, silver or chrome effect when painting and drawing mainly comes from the representation of the reflections. In this tutorial I would like to show you how you can draw and paint these reflections.


Example of chrome effects on light metal rims, drawn with colored pencils - by Markus Agerer

Example picture for drawing chrome and mirror effects

To learn how to draw chrome and mirror effects, let's take a relatively simple example: a pot.
You can see a photo of our sample image below. Now look at the drawing object very consciously. Take a look at where and how light and shadow fall and where and how the pot shows reflections.


Pot with mirror effects

To help you a little while observing the drawing object, I have marked the most important areas of the pot (see following photo).
You can see here that the reflections and mirroring on the circumference of the pot are all perpendicular. The thick white line, which also runs vertically, is also very noticeable. It is a direct reflection of the light, so it is also white. Shadows form on the edges of the pot. Especially to the left of the light reflection, you can also see the surroundings, which are reflected in the pot. This reflection is not so strong and the mirrored objects in it cannot be seen very clearly because the surface of the pot is not completely smooth.


Mirror effects on the pot

I want to come back to the previously mentioned thick white line. It is very important for our drawing because the representation of this reflection will add a lot to the overall effect of the drawing. We can't do much here with a silver pen! In this case, all you have to do when drawing is "nothing". The area is just white and thus remains untouched or in a painting you would paint it with white paint. Once you understand that, you've taken the biggest step in drawing and painting chrome and mirror effects.

It always works very well if you draw in very dark reflections and shadows. We also see such a dark reflection in our pot example (in the middle of the pot).
You can see the drawing of the pot here:


Drawing of the pot with reflections

Here is another example drawing showing the chrome exhaust of a car. You can see the black reflections and the bright white light reflections, which interact with each other to create the chrome effect. These very high-contrast lights and shadows with the clear contours also make the surface appear very smooth.


Drawing of an exhaust with a chrome effect

Important to know when drawing chrome and mirror effects:

  • Materials and surfaces such as gold, chrome, silver, bronze etc. have a color.
  • The gold or chrome effect comes about through the reflections (of the surroundings) and light reflections
  • Drawing very bright light reflections and dark shadows enhances the effect and makes the surface appear very smooth.
  • With special gold, silver or bronze pens, these effects cannot be realistically represented.