Salt lamp texture

I’m a beginner art student (almost 70 yo… never too late, right?). Love that I’ve joined TVI. So - my repetoire is limited. I’m trying to draw everything I can see. But I am frustrated finding the right way to render this salt candle that I have. I want to sketch it. Should I use a different paper or pencil? How do I get that beautiful salt crystal texture? I took a pic, then filtered it to b&w for better definition. Any help is appreciated.


Do not try to get it exactly the way it is. You can use a salt texture for the crystal look.

Hello Bonnie,
Quite right - it’s never too late. I started with VI when I retired (early). I am now nearly 65 and embarked on using soft pastels. Denise is right. Put your spin on it. What kind of medium are you a fan of? I am thinking that this would be nice to do in pastels on a textured paper (Canson Mi-Teintes) or in colored pencils also on a textured paper. The “waffling” on textured paper would allow you to show the candles irregularities. Have fun!

Thanks Denise and Sterlingsiam! I appreciate the encouragement. It occurred to me last night that having a candle lit inside the candle holder would help define the texture visually. Who knew?! As for medium, I am trying to learn to draw with graphite, but have colored with colored pencils for years. I think I will combine the two on some more textured paper. Thank you both!

Hi Bonnie -
Welcome to The Virtual Instructor and the Community. You’ll find that this is a very positive and supportive place to hang out.

Converting your photo to black and white was great. It helps you see value which is critical in creating good art. Graphite is a great place to start your learning process. You can probably use almost any paper you have, but for recommended IDEAL papers there are two I would suggest. The first is Stonehenge which is 100% cotton paper. It is available in white, or in toned colors. You can find it and most other art supplies at and often at Amazon. The other paper that is good for graphite, charcoal, colored pencils is by Strathmore and is called Bristol “Vellum surface”. This paper is also 100% cotton. Cotton paper has a “tooth” that allows you to add multiple layers. The Strathmore Bristle paper also comes in a smoother texture, but the vellum would be best for most things.

There are a LOT of lessons at The Virtual Instructor that would be helpful in learning to draw with pencil. At the top menu click on LESSONS. Under “Drawing Lessons” it lists mediums and you’d probably like Pencil Drawing (Graphite). Click on that and you’ll find tons of options.

By the way, you’re only a couple years older than me, so you’re not alone. Even though I’m not a beginner, I learn a ton from being a member here. All it takes is a desire to learn and lots of practice.

Have FUN, and keep posting.

Terri Robichon

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Hi Bonnie - In response to your idea to combine graphite and colored pencils, I just wanted to let you know that that may not be the easiest thing to do. If you want to use colored pencils, you can start with a “light” graphite sketch but would want to use a kneaded eraser to lift the excess graphite before actually making the colored pencil application. Graphite can make indentations in the paper and colored pencils will not stick to the paper in those locations. (I’ve made that mistake myself.) Graphite will also turn the color in colored pencils into a muddy look. So, my advice is NOT to combine those media.

Since you’re just getting started, stick with the graphite. Colored pencil drawings are a very time-consuming slow process. You will feel a quicker sense of accomplishment with the graphite (or charcoal, or pastels). Hope this information is useful.

Terri Robichon

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I, too, am a new member and new to arting. I discovered in my 81st year that I’m pretty good at drawing. Having always thought i couldn’t i never tried! I’m still surprised! I’m going to set my goals high, a lot of mediums (i do have experience with colored pencils and alcohol markers) starting with watercolor. When i saw the salt candle, that was what came to my mind. Please post however you complete your art project.

Welcome LdyJ to The Virtual Instructor. Is nice to have you in our community of creative minded people.

Terri Robichon

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Thanks! I hope to encourage and be encouraged!

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Thanks for the insights. I’m going to keep coming back to this candle. Here is what I did with CP. I did use some graphite and ran into the muddied effect. Going to try just sketching with graphite, as it’s a medium I’d really like to develop.