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Maine Pebble Sketch with Step-by-Step Tutorial


Maine’s rocky beaches, adorned with stones of various sizes, colors, and textures, have always held a special charm for me. This year, I decided to try my hand at capturing the vibrant essence of these pebbles in a sketch. Join me as I take you through the process of creating this beautiful artwork.

Maine Pebble Sketch with Step-by-Step Tutorial

Exploring Crescent Beach

Late one afternoon, my friend Wendy and I embarked on an artistic adventure to Crescent Beach during low tide. While Wendy observed and sketched me, my attention was captivated by the pile of rocks at my feet.

Sketching the Pebbles

Swiftly, I sketched the basic shapes of the stones with a pencil, capturing their essence on paper. Using a Platinum Carbon Desk Pen filled with Platinum Carbon Black ink, I outlined the shapes, and then proceeded to apply an initial watercolor wash to each rock.

Maine Pebble Sketch with Step-by-Step Tutorial

Adding Depth and Texture

To create variation in tone and texture, I experimented with different techniques. For some rocks, I dropped in darker values or contrasting colors while the base wash was still slightly wet. This resulted in beautiful blooms and added texture to the stones.

Once back in my studio, I continued working on the sketch, focusing on enhancing the texture. I wet the gray rock in the upper left-hand corner and used dark earth tone and black Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils and a spatter screen to create a granite-like texture.

Maine Pebble Sketch with Step-by-Step Tutorial

Mottled Look and Splotchy Texture

To achieve a mottled look on some rocks, I dabbed spots of paint with a round brush and then smudged them with my finger, creating an irregular and splotchy texture. I also sprinkled salt into some of the washes, resulting in a distinctive crystalline texture that perfectly complemented the granite stones.

Protecting Adjacent Pebbles

When I wanted to add texture to a stone while ensuring that adjacent pebbles remained unaffected, I used Grafix Frisket Film. By carefully isolating the stone with the film, I had the freedom to explore various techniques without any worries.

Unique Texturing Techniques

I employed different methods to add texture and visual interest to the stones. With a crumpled piece of plastic wrap, I applied paint to create a unique texture. I also spattered paint on some stones, blotting some spatters to lighten them while leaving others untouched for a darker effect. Additionally, using a natural sea sponge, I sponged paint onto a small pebble, ensuring neat and isolated application.

Maine Pebble Sketch with Step-by-Step Tutorial

Adding Shadows and Highlights

To bring the pebbles to life, I added layers of watercolor on top of the dry base washes, deepening the colors and indicating form shadows. I even sprinkled salt into some of the washes, creating a unique crystalline texture for the granite stones. For added visual interest, I incorporated cracks and fissures on some of the stones and spattered Titanium White opaque watercolor on one of the pebbles to create highlights.

Embracing the White Space

Having completed the pebble painting, I faced the challenge of what to do with the surrounding white space. After much consideration, I decided to add a border to the page. Using painter’s tape, I created an irregular wavy line, approximately 1/4″ away from the sketch, to frame the artwork.

Maine Pebble Sketch with Step-by-Step Tutorial

Painting the Border

To infuse color and visual harmony, I painted the border with richly colored wet-in-wet techniques. With careful attention to the consistency of the paint, I ensured that the hues mingled softly, maintaining their individuality and reflecting the colors of the pebbles.

Final Touches

Once the border had dried, I removed the tape and made a few adjustments where the paint had seeped under at the corners. To enhance the border design further, I used a piece of heavy-duty pet screening as a grid to draw pencil lines. This quick technique allowed me to transfer parallel lines to the border without the need for tedious measurements.

Maine Pebble Sketch with Step-by-Step Tutorial


As I look at this vibrant sketch, I am transported back to that serene moment on the beach in Maine. Sketching not only keeps me present in the moment but also serves as a vessel for cherished memories. The covers of my journals are adorned with countless wonderful moments and beautiful experiences.

So, why not embark on your own artistic journey and discover the joy of capturing the essence of nature? The possibilities are endless, and the memories will last a lifetime.

Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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