Animal Watercolor Painting Tutorial – Thrope
Hi everyone, welcome to my blog! Today I’m going to show you how to paint a really cute doggy named “Thrope”. He is my friend’s dog who lives in Pennsylvania. I’ve seen him on her IG since he was a puppy in 2018. I love his character, how he is being loved and how my friends taking care of him. That is my treasure from painting pets for my clients. They trust me to paint their pet, they are being loved and become a part of their families. When people commission me I always ask them, “Can you tell me about your pet?”, “Why do you love them?”, “How are they a part of your family?”, “What do you like to do with them?”. I want to know about who I am going to paint and get to know their pet more before I start. Technically for me the most importance thing of painting pets is painting the eyes. Animals’ eyes show everything what they want to tell us.
Painting pets is a little bit more pressure for me than painting flowers because I want to capture their character in my work. Their eyes need to turn out as the same as the moment captured in the original picture.
Once that was all done then felt ready to paint Thrope. He is a boy and he always has the same facial expression no matter what. He is so cute and I’m going to dress him up with a fancy hat.
In this tutorial I will show you my technique from the beginning to finished work. The main parts are always wet on wet. Please don’t mind some light and shade theory. There are no right or wrong ways to paint. I always want to paint base on what I see and have the watercolor flow freely on the wet paper.
Every time I paint I learn how to improve my skill, I enjoy during the process, I always create something base on positive mind. Watercolor teach me to create work for and from good memories. Thank you watercolor!
Watercolor Painting Supplies
I use a watercolor paper block. Cold press watercolor midweight 300gsm/140lb. Size 12in x 16in. This is a nice and convenient to use. The watercolor paper blocks are glued on 4 sides. The papers are already stretched from the manufacturer so I don’t have to worry about preparation before painting. When I finish painting just wait until my work is completely dry then insert something flat and hard like a butter knife or letter opener in between the paper and run the knife around the edge to splitting the glue until the paper is free from the glue.
Brush brands don’t matter to me. I use brushes that I feel right in my hand and they can help me load a good amount of pigments and water. These are the brushes I used to paint Thrope.
- Grumbacher Round Watercolor Brush, Synthetic Bristles, Size 10
- Raphael Synthetic Sable Short Handle Brush, Round, Size 0
- Raphael Synthetic Sable Short Handle Brush, Round, Size 2
- Raphael Kazan Squirrel Brush, Watercolor, Quill Mop, Size 1
- Raphael Kazan Squirrel Brush, Watercolor, Series 803, Quill Mop, Size 1
- Raphael Kaerell Synthetic Watermedia Brush, Round, Size 05
I used both artists quality and student quality paints for this painting. Thrope’s face and his hat turned out really well with these 2 qualities combined. Cotman paints are very good compared to most of student grade paints. From my my experience student grade paints have less pigments and more fillers. Winsor Professional and Daniel Smith are always on my top lists. These are the colors I used for this tutorial.
Wet on wet and wet on dry. You will see this in my time lapse video.
My Watercolor Painting Procedure
[Sketch with easy single lines]—–[Clear water]—–[Drop the paints]—–[Dry]—–[Clear water]—–[drop the paints together]—–[dry]—–[clear water]—–[drop the paints]—–[observe]—–[wet on dry for details]—–[observe]—–[be happy]
I use a 2B mechanical pencil for my sketches. One thing to be aware of is using B is it easy to get smudges when your hands on top of the drawing lines take care no to damage the paper. I like to draw with single light line with 2B.
I wet the face on his left and right sides with clear water. I mixed some Quinacridone Gold and Permanent Brown in my palette. Then I worked on the wet paper by drop the paint I mixed earlier. For the nose, I wet the area with clear water and drop some Cobalt Blue with the small brush at some part to create the darker shade. I also do the same technique for the hat, I drop Cobalt Blue on the part that I want to create the shade, I leave a clear part in the middle of the hat then dried it off with my hair dryer. After, I wet clear water on the lower lip then I load Permanent Rose with small brush and drop the paint on the upper part.
I wet the front of his face with clear water around his nose. I loaded Sepia and drop the paint where I see the darkest shadow from the original picture. I added more pigments for the front part. After I wet the ear with clear water, I dropped the mix of Quinacridone Gold and Permanent Brown around the middle of the ear, then Brown Madder next to it. To create the shadow, I dropped some Sepia at the edge of the ear. Now let’s work on the hat wing, I do the same by wetting the more water this time and drop more pigments of Cobalt Blue…. Wait and see how the pigment flow freely in the water. This is my favorite part!
For step 3 I started technique wet on wet on the left side of the face. I dropped a mix of Quinacridone Gold and Permanent Brown for second layer of his tone. Next, I reloaded Brown Madder and drop the paint where I see his red fur in the reference picture while the paper was still damp. As I could see from the original picture, his lower cheeks have dark brown fur so I reloaded more pigment of Sepia and dropped the paint at the darkest area. Then I moved to work on his right side of his face with the same process as his left side.
While paper was still wet I continued to add more pigment of Sepia for the left ear and the front part of his face. Adding more pigments helped me create more shade and made him more vivid on the paper. I also add a mix of Quinacridone Gold & Permanent Brown and Brown Madder on the right ear. My favorite part is painting the hat with Lamp Black because I love to see the effect of dropping a rich color like Lamp Black on the wet paper. So beautiful! Next, I added more pigments of Brown Madder and Sepia on the wet part of the right side to match from what I saw in the reference photo.
In step 5 I focused on the nose, lower lip and right ear. I wet the nose section with clear water and dropped Lamp Black with a small brush. I dabbed the paint where I see the darkest parts in the nose. For the rest, I let water mix with the pigments. While the lower lip was still wet I dabbed a mix of Lamp Black and Sepia with a small brush and left the pink space as it was. On the right ear I did the same process as the left ear. Now Thrope was coming to life!!
First I wet the whole eye with clean water
I dropped Cobalt Blue at the edge of the eye and dried it off with my hair dryer.
Next, I wet the iris section and dropped Quinacridone Gold. In this step I made sure I loaded the brush with rich pigment so the paint can flow only in tiny spots.
For the second layer of his iris, I wet the section again and dropped tiny bits of Brown Madder with a small brush really close to edge. I waited to see them bleed into the center of the eyes. After those sections all dried, I dropped rich loads of Sepia on the pupil section while it was still wet. I left white spots for the light in his eyes. I then waited and observed the pigment bleed out from the center of the eyes.
For the last step, I dropped Permanent Rose to the 3rd eyelid while the area still wet on the left eye. After the 3rd eyelid dried I worked on the white part by dropping some Sepia. Final step, I added more detail by using wet on dry around his eyes. I inspected my work and was happy at the end!!!
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