Skill Building: Rendering

What’s the difference between a doodle and a hyper-realistic drawing? Rendering! Rendering is the use of value and color to depict texture, shading, and details — transforming a flat shape into an object your brain perceives as real.

You can develop your rendering skills by observing lots of references and identifying the unique characteristics of that subject. Then, it’s a matter of using the right tools and techniques to depict those characteristics. For example:

  • What makes water look like water? It’s transparent and reflective — what else can you observe?
  • What makes fire look like fire? Its coloring, it’s brightness, the way it glows, what else?
  • What makes rock look like rock? It’s texture, it’s shape, its coloring. What other qualities?

Your goal in developing this skill isn’t to achieve photorealism in your drawings but rather to understand the visual characteristics of certain materials to impart realism into your stylized illustrations. Take these glasses of water for example:


While both illustrations are stylized, the glass on the right has a more realistic appearance due to its rendering. As a result, the water looks transparent, and the cup looks like shiny and reflective glass. Adding some rendering skills to your artistic repertoire is incredibly useful!

Read on to learn about this month’s Making Art Everyday prompts might help you build your rendering skills.

September's Theme:


The theme for September is Elements — each week, we’ll explore drawing some things related to water, fire, air, earth, and the universe. As you dive into this month’s theme, you’ll have the chance to explore the textures and materials that exist in this world and beyond.

As always, you can interpret the prompts however you’d like, but if you want to challenge yourself, work on your rendering skills this month! Try to get a handle on making something look like water, glass, glowing light, wood, flames, smoke, etc.

Week 36: Water

In my observations, depicting water is all about three things: transparency, reflectiveness, and highlights. Water takes on the color of what’s around it and even what’s beneath it. The motion of the water can also distort reflections. From drips and droplets to ripples and waves, water can have many different textures primarily communicated through bright white highlights. Fast-moving or turbulent water is frothy and filled with bubbles, appearing to be white. What other observations about water can you make?


The Prompts

Week 36 | Aug 30 - sept 5


Mon: droplets
Tue: pool
Wed: glass of water
Thu: rain
Fri: snow/ice
Sat: river
Sun: waves

This piece was drawn using my Gouache Paintbox brush set for Procreate. The background was textured with my Texturrific Shaders.


You can access each week’s prompts, with links to reference photos, at makingarteveryday.com

This Week's Tutorial

Join me for my next live tutorial, where I’ll be teaching how to draw realistic-looking water droplets in Procreate. Then I’ll show you how to use those same concepts to create a wet text effect. It’s a great way to create some unique lettering! For this tutorial, I’ll be using brushes from my Wash & Dry Watercolor Toolkit.


Here’s another water-related tutorial: Learn to draw a waterfall in Procreate! With a rainbow! (You gotta have the rainbow). Start with a basic sketch and follow along as we slowly add details and texture. For this lesson, I’m using my Wash & Dry Watercolor Toolkit. This video is a great way to get familiar with that set.



Want to try out some new art mediums and styles in Procreate? It’s time to beef up your brush library!

Now through August 31, get 25% OFF EVERYTHING
Use Code: BEEF25

Head over to the shop to check out my latest artsy offerings, including the new Scratch Art Sgraffito brush set or my recently overhauled and updated Pencil Box and Awesome Alcohol Markers!

sale extended through August 31st, 2021

This Month's Progress Tracker

You can always download the current month’s Progress Tracker at bardotbrush.com/progress

(its a .Procreate file, so you can keep track of your progress right in Procreate!)

You’ll find instructions about how to use the Tracker at the link above. I even made you a star stamp brush for you to use! It’s my Procreate version of a gold star sticker.

Share and Connect with other MAE Artists

We’ve got a Facebook group just for participants of Making Art Everyday and all things Bardot Brush! Come join our group of supportive artists of all skill levels, share your work, ask questions, and be a part of the community!

Making Art Everyday is brought to you by me, Lisa Bardot!

I’m the owner of Bardot Brush, one of the leading brush makers for Procreate. If you’d like to support me, please check out my premium brush sets that inspire creativity at bardotbrush.com.