Painting Gemstones and jewels

Painting gem stones and jewels – cabachon

Basic oval gem, in greyscale

Cabachon - basic construction

Cabachon - basic construction


Although I’ve done this in digital format, the principles are the same, regardless which media you use. The best way to paint gems is to look at them in real life (even paste gems are good enough), and if you don’t have real ones, use photographic references to look at the way the light hits.


  • Hard round for highlights
  • Airbrush at 50% – 100% (I normally don’t use airbrush, I have custom blending brushes, but you could use Hard round at varying percentages)


  1. Generally I start with the darkest tone or at least a mid tone. To make the stone really neat, I’ll often use the selection tool to isolate the stone from the rest of the painting.
  2. The light source is to the top right of the gem.  I take the airbrush and add a dark mid tone to the upper right hand of the stone.
  3. Because gems are transparent, there will be light coming through the stone and out the opposite side of the stone. This is why I add a small amount of light to the lower left. (I probably didn’t add enough for this sample, but you get the idea).
  4. Add more highlights to the upper right in a mid tone.
  5. Take a harder edge brush, and with a lighter tone add a reflection point
  6. I added an extra highlight because I wasn’t as happy with the highlight.


Here are a few more examples:

Round Moonstone Example

Round moonstone

Round moonstone


Oval Moonstone Example

Oval moonstone

Oval moonstone


Green Drop shaped gemstone

Green Drop shaped gemstone

Green Drop shaped gemstone


Don’t be afraid to play with colours. Light is not all white so if your gem is being hit by a warm light, the reflections may not be that white. Also, if the shape is not round, light may reflect off multiple surfaces.

Square Amethyst

Square amethyst

Square amethyst


Triangular gem

Triangular gem - This is a bit messy, start from a better base

Triangular gem - This is a bit messy, start from a better base


Star Sapphire

Star Sapphire

Star Sapphire


Tigers Eye

Tiger's Eye

Tiger's Eye

Round Opal

Round opal

Round opal



Pre-made cover art

If you’re interested in an art piece to be turned into a book cover let me know. I’ve got several already available with a variety of options starting from $150 for an illustrated ebook cover.

What is included:

  • If you want to replace a font with a specified font (that is free for commercial use or you’ve paid the rights for)
  • Change of text to your details including colour changes
  • Possible minor additions to text layout (i.e. addition of a logo that you supply and hold rights for)
  • Minor modifications to the image – please enquire as some changes may mean large repaints
  • Inclusion of simple Audio book version
  • Print setup to a supplied template or supplied sizes (as long as it’s not larger than the specified file)

Some of the examples available (see here for more details - facebook album currently)

Scifi sample eBook

Scifi wraparound with text

Fantasy Romance cover art with design layout

Historical novel example with text and layout - text would be adjusted slightly to stand out from image

Image usage & social media sharing

Can I repost your pictures on my website?

Yes, as long as you credit me as the artist, the website where you are displaying the image is a non-profit site, and the image is not copyright to a client (i.e. commissioned). Please place a link back to and don’t modify the image. No hotlinking!

Can I use your painting in stationary/ web graphics/ PSP tubes/ derivative work?

No. Please don't.

Can I use your painting to represent my character in an online game or character in my book?

Only if the painting has been commissioned by you. Please visit my Commission page for further information and pricing. Alternatively, I have several character portraits for sale through Portrait Adoption.

Can I use existing work as RPG/ game graphics?

As with the previous question, while I am happy to create pieces for your RPG/ game, my existing pieces are NOT available for free use.

I have an idea for a painting. Will you paint it?

Only if it’s a commission :) I don’t work for free or on speculation.

Sharing on Social Media

Generally if you’re doing something that is not for profit, you’re willing to attribute me as the artist on the page, and is not derivative (i.e. you’re not cutting it up, adding sparkles, turning into sig tags etc) I’m normally pretty cool with things. You want to make money off it, you need to sign a contract with me. You want to use an artwork as a character representation (book, game, whatever) you must pay for the privilege. You want to use my art to advertise some political statement, please don’t. You want to pretty up your personal blog, read on!

In the same way that you’d hate to see a photo of your family being used by a random stranger, my paintings are much the same. It’s upsetting to see someone using your art in a way that it wasn’t intended, or plonked on a page where no one will ever know who painted it. It makes me sad when I find a really beautiful painting online that someone’s swiped from somewhere without attributing the artist. I like supporting artists. If I know who they are, I may even go buy a print.


Retweet and share from official sources. Do not upload to twitter please.


I use Pinterest myself as a collection for images to spark ideas. I love browsing through collections of images. It’s a way for me to find new blogs and artists, kind of like a great big scrapbook. Pinterest often points to the source so I can lose myself in linked site for ages!

If you want to pin my images (either via here or DeviantArt or any other places I officially host my images), cool. I prefer that you don’t upload my images as Pins, but if you do, you must credit me as the artist. A link back to would be nice too.

However, I will hunt you down if you try and use my art for Gifts. Feel free to advertise my items on Etsy, I really don’t mind :), but don’t use my art for profit generating or political purposes.


Pretty much along the lines of Pinterest. Give credit by putting in the source or attributing the image to be.  Don’t claim the art as your own, and please don’t say ‘this illustrates my character’ unless you’ve paid me for it.


Post links to my stuff, share official posts from my facebook fan page but don’t upload my images as your photos/cover photos. If you do, I will ask you to remove it, and then contact Facebook if you don't.  Please respect commissioned paintings and do not use these as icons.

Personal Blog

I love hearing about people sharing my arts, in fact you share the love, I generally like to share the love on Facebook & Twitter with my followers. General rules:

  • Host the image yourself, but not somewhere that allows photos such as photobucket unless you switch off the ability to order prints. I don’t like hotlinkers.
  • Don’t squish the image/ crop it/ remove copyright statements/ alter the image in any way.
  • You credit the image to me, something like “Artwork © Nicole Cadet” either with the image or at the bottom of the blog post. I have gone after people who’ve posted my paintings without crediting me as the artist.
  • Your site is non profit, i.e. it’s a personal blog
  • Please don’t post works that are commissioned paintings unless you ask first. Book covers tend to be fine as it’s advertising for the author too, but personal commissions are sometimes of real people and they may get upset with me if they see their portrait appear on some random blog.

If you want to drop me a note, great! But I do not absolutely require a note first. Just follow the above and I’m a happy camper.

 Business Blog

Please contact me first. If it’s more a personal blog post or a general information post I’m normally pretty ok to treat it like a personal blog. What  mean by this is if you have a business website that is say selling Wicca supplies, and you post a blog post about say Cerridwen in general and decide to use my painting as a representation of the goddess then this is ok. But if you decide to use the painting to advertise your Cerridwen inspired incense, this is advertising and commercial – you cannot use the image without a contract from me.

Hopefully this is helpful to people, but please ask if you have any questions or if there’s a scenario you’re uncertain about! And of course, if you really want to support me, consider purchasing a print!

Step by step commission process

This is the typical process for a digital commission, but traditional commissions work the same way except adjustments are much more difficult after the colours are laid down.

Initial Consultation/ Quote process

  1. You send me a request for a commission quote via my contact page. This request can be as long or as short as you want. The more information you provide, the quicker I can work out a quote. As a rough guide, check out my Commissions page for general rates.
  2. I send you a quote, a rough timeframe for how long the work will take, and when I can likely start. Sometimes I have other commitments that will prevent me from starting straight away.
  3. Once the quote and any details have been agreed to, I send a contract which basically is a pdf file with all the details that we have discussed. I put this in place so that you know what you will be getting, how much it’s going to cost, and when you are going to get it.
  4. You pay a deposit (or the full amount if under $100) if you are happy to commission me . By paying me, you are agreeing to all the terms and conditions in the contract.



Thumbnailing process for a complex design

Thumbnailing process for a complex design

The first step is thumbnailing. I generally do a couple of quick scribbles to work out the rough composition – normally around 3 to 6. Most of the time these don’t contain much detail, just enough to discuss what the client is really after. For some commissions, this step is skipped if the brief is really specific. Typically this takes a week or two. During this time I gather references, research related topics and work through how the commission will look when finished.

As an additional step I may do some costume designs/ armour designs or other details before working up the line work. If the character is from a game such as WoW or GW2 I'll gather references (screenshots of armour, official concept art).



Line art

Depending on the complexity of the commission and the medium, this may be a black and white sketch, or be a nearly completely rendered greyscale painting. Again this takes between 1 and 2 weeks. I can make minor adjustments like making the hair longer, but major changes such as changing the background may incur further costs. After the lineart is approved, no major changes to the contents of the painting may be made. 

Line art version

Line art version

Colour concepts

Generally I do one or two colour sketches to work out details such as costumes, skies, foliage, general mood of the painting. These are never detailed, and often a quick paint over of the line art. This is delivered, if required, at the same time as the lineart. Please note, only minor colour changes are allowed after this is approved.


The final colour painting takes between 2 and 6 weeks. I try to give some updates along the way, but quite often things are built up over a long period so there’s not much to show. Because I have a day job, commission work tends to be done over the weekend. A final preview image is sent (heavily watermarked), and final minor adjustments are made.

The final payment is received, and the painting is sent to it’s new home!