Well, obviously I'm not actually PAINTING with the rhinestones, but the idea here is to use rhinestones in a way that creates depth and shading using a ridiculously simple trick.
This pair of fuzzy cat ears is from a 9 person group act (which we will be performing at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival this Saturday night, by the way) in which we are all wearing cat ears. Yah, that ol' trope. The insides of these ears are just sort of a nude-coloured felt, but since we were adding sparkle, I figured I wanted to do so in a fashion that made these ears more detailed. Where the inner ear is a darker pink than the outer. I think even in my crappy photo you can get the effect of what I'm talking about, yes?
Here's how. Grab a felt pen. These are Sharpies. In this case I used the bright pink and the light pink...
And I coloured the inside of the plain felt ears with the darker pink like so...
Then I filled around the bright pink with a border of the light pink. This then gave me a literal template whereby I filled in the colours with rhinestones. The background colours will show through between the stones and really exxagerate the varying shades. For the very inner pink I used rose swarovski ss12, which I then surrounded with a couple rows of light rose ss16, and filled in the balance with crystal AB ss20.
This photo shows the ear in progress. The clamps are just to keep the marabou out of the way.
Using the felt pens to mark the colours first makes a huge difference the 3-d effect of the final product. So use this technique on just about anything you are bedazzling in some sort of pattern.