Surfaces and Techniques

The ideal petroglyph surface is a rock that has desert varnish on it. Desert varnish is when a thin layer of dirt and moisture builds up on the surface of a rock which darkens the rock. The artist will then use a sharp and pointed rock to create their drawing on the surface. The pointed rock is hit by a heavier rock to chip away the desert varnish to create their drawings. It can take up to 25- 100 pecks per inch to create a typical petroglyph. For large and important images, the artist would pick a location near a vertical surface slanting backward so that the drawing would not face into the rain or dripping water.