Painting Gold Step by Step

Learn how to paint a golden ball the easy way

golden ball

Want to learn how to paint a golden ball like this, the easy way? In this tutorial we’ll be painting gold step by step. The process is the same in Procreate or Photoshop, or other digital painting software. Let’s get started!

Painting Gold step 1 – The base color

How to paint gold step 1

First thing we’ll do is make a perfect round shape. You could do this by using the circular selection tool for instance. To make a perfect round circle with the selection tool in Photoshop, all you need to do is hold shift while making your selection with the elliptical marquee tool. In Procreate you could als use the Quick Shape Tool, just draw a circle and hold your pen on your screen until the circle snaps. Hold a finger on your screen to make the circle perfectly round, or just select circle above your canvas. Now all you need to do is fill your circle, I used the color #df951f for this.

Painting Gold Step 2 – Add a darker color

Gold ball step by step - dark spot added

Next step is to add some darker color. I used a soft airbrush to do this. Make sure you don’t go all the way to the upper edge, leave some light there. You can either paint on a layer above your initial circle and set that layer to clipping mask, or you can use alpha lock on your initial layer and paint on it. The color I used is #724d11.

Clipping Mask: If you use clipping mask, your layer will be clipped to the layer beneath it. The pixels on your new layer will only show in the area where there are pixels on the layer beneath.

Alpha Lock: When you set a layer to alpha lock, you lock the pixels. You will only be able to paint over the pixels that are already there.

Step 3 – Add shapes

How to paint gold step 3

Now we’ll start adding some blurry shapes on the ball. These are a reflection of the surrounding of the golden ball. Depending on how shiny or matte the gold is, the reflection will be either sharp or blurry. I used a soft airbrush with the color #50350a to paint these shapes.

Step 4 – Paint light

How to paint gold step 4

In this step we’ll start adding some light to the golden ball. Think about the reflection of the surrounding when doing this. I painted some light on top and around the bottom of the ball using the color #ffbe39.

Let’s take it even further and add an even lighter color (#ffdd97) as well. It already starts to look like gold, doesn’t it?

How to paint gold step 5

Step 5 – Color Dodge

How to paint gold step 6

You can make the highlights on the ball even brighter by using a soft brush set to color dodge or a new layer set to color dodge. Focus on the light on top and the light area at the underside of the ball. This is the reflection of the surface the ball is lying on. If the ball is on a bright (like white as in this example) surface, this reflection will be brighter than when it’s lying on dark wood for example.

Step 6 – Adding Glow

Golden ball with glow

At this point you can start adding some glow. I used a brush set to overlay (but you could also use a separate layer set to overlay) and used the color #fb8a0b to add a warm orange glow to the ball.

Painting Gold Step 7 – Drop Shadow

Gold ball with a drop shadow

Finally, let’s add a drop shadow beneath the ball. Paint it on a layer beneath the ball, so you won’t be able to paint over the ball itself. The golden ball will reflect color onto the surface and influence the color of the shadow. This means you should give the shadow a warm color. I used a soft airbrush and the color #724d11.

Now you can start painting your own golden ball, yay! Be sure to share your results on social media, I would love to see them. Want to learn more about digital art? Then be sure to check out my other digital art tutorials.

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