With rain in the forecast, it is a perfect time to explore how to draw and paint raindrops and morning dew. Avoid dropping dew drops over every rose you draw, this just turns your field journaling into kitsch. But if you go sketching early in the morning or after a rainstorm, you have earned your dewdrops!
Light bends when it passes from the air to the water so even though it is transparent, it still casts a shadow and light makes counterintuitive patterns within a raindrop. On a solid object, the lightest side is the surface that faces the light. On a raindrop it is the opposite so that the shadow is adjacent to the lightest side of the raindrop and the highlight show up as a high contrast reflection in the darker part of the raindrop (the side facing the light).
Click on the first illustration to start a step-by-step annotated slide show.
Start with a coat of the base color. If you are painting a flower petal this might be red or violet. Some paints lift out better than others. Use a non-staining color.
With a damp brush, re wet and gently scrub some of the color in little circles where you want your dew drops to sit. Then lift out the paint with a damp paper towel. You can also lift out paint before it dries on the paper. Timing is important here. If the paper is too wet when you try to lift out, the paint will simply run back into the clear spots.
Add crescent shaped dark shadows on the side that faces away from the light source.
Add a subtle shade to the side of the drop that is closer to the light source. This is the opposite of how you would handle a shade on a solid object.
With white gouache or a gel pen, add a highlight in the shaded area directly opposite the center of the shadow crescent.
Veins and patterns will be magnified inside the drop. Enlarge and space them further apart.