Scenic Painting Techniques


The scenic artist is responsible for painting all the scenery and sometimes that requires some skills.

This page is dedicated to "Texture" as an element of design and a tool for the designer. Simulating or suggesting texture is essential in stage design and the skills required are a must for any scenic artist.

The effects that are created by the painter for the stage attempt to trick the eye of the audience into believing something is made of another material. This is the magic of this fine art, and if it is successful it can take the audience into another place and/or time.

The follow are examples of various types of textures we attempt as designers and painters.



with only a brush

               Before       and      After                             a red-toned wood grain

STEPS to successful wood graining:

1.) Base the item a nuetral shade (best if it is the color of wood you are aiming toward) 
2.) Use at least two colors in addition (for a highlight, lowlight) 
3.) Try to have a consistent grain direction chosen for the item or sections of the item.
4.) Work while the paint is wet to help with blending
5.) Step away from the area you are paiting and get a distance to see the real effect of your work.

Awesome wood graining artist video

Some like to use the

wood graining tool video
(courtesy of the Scenic Art Department at the National Theater)


MARBLING / Faux Stone

We use this texture a lot in our shows. These examples can be used to model from. 


Faux Bricks

We end up with faux bricks somewhere on set in at least 80% of our shows. (It never fails)

Mr. Schaefer's set design for Passing Strange with New Line Theater
photo Courtesy of Jill Ritter photography

 A scenic artist painting the texture details

A sample board of Brick types and color pallettes to model  

A faux brick wall from "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" here at WGHS 

A tape method that we use...but we don't mess with the paster texturing like these guys do.


Faux Stainglass

We use this effect with the lighting designer to get a really great glow to come from within the set design.

 A lantern designed and built by Mr. Schaefer
for a production of Passing Strange with New Line Theater

Stainglass designs by Anne Fedde and Mr. Schaefer
for the WGHS production of You Can't Take It With You
All of the stain glass designs we do are done with white paper from a wide roll. We add color and then add black divider lines between the color.

This is the lab wall on the set of Frankenstein, the 2013 fall play at WGHS

Sometimes the white paper is sharpied and backlit with color.


Faux Stone/mosaic

STEPS to successful fuax stone:

1.) Base the area or item a nuetral shade (best if it is the color of stone you are aiming toward)
2.) Use at least two colors in addition (for a highlight, lowlight)
3.) Have a dark color for the fake grout
4.) Once the base color has dried and is the color you want for the stone, use the dark color and begin drawing in lines to separate the stones (big or as little as you like, and any shapes it calls for)
5.) Step away from the area you are paiting and get a distance to see the real effect of your work.

Mr. Schaefer's Design for Jesus Christ Superstar
with New Line Theater 

                      Mr. Schaefer's Design for Round and Round the Garden
                                                       with the Black Cat Theater

                            Mr. Schaefer's Design for Evita with New Line Theater


Faux Rust! - Making wood look like rusted metal.
Check out the Blogpage by New Line Theater's current 2013-2014 Scenic Designer Rob Lippert
Click on the link to read his page!

The rusted lab door in the 2013 WGHS Fall play


Other things we can fake out!

Prop Sculpting

We also love to play with masking tape and sculpting with it as though we are playing with paper mache'. It works well in building odd items. Such as a cow head for "Bat Boy" the Musical. 

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