Several people have asked me how I do the fur textures in my watercolour paintings, so I thought it would be quite interesting to show the stages of how I paint something. I hope this is useful.
The subject is a little kangaroo rat ACEO.
Materials used Cold pressed watercolour paper, 300gsm. Winsor and Newton Artist Watercolours: Winsor Red Deep; Winsor Yellow Deep; Antwerp blue. Winsor & Newton Designer's Gouache Permanent White.
Time Approx 1hr.
1. The sketch. For ACEOs, I usually just sketch directly on to the paper. For larger works and especially pet portraits I often transfer the sketch onto the paper with tracing paper. For this I used a HB lead in a mechanical pencil and my trusty eraser.
2. Using a size 8 round brush, I apply a loose wash for the background.
3. After the background colour has dried enough, I put a base wash on the subject. This will be the light colours showing through on the fur. I have also put a small dot of masking fluid on the eye where I want the highlight to remain.
4. I add in a few details with a size 1 or 2 brush
5. This is how I apply most of the fur texture. The base coat must be dry before attempting to do this. I use a size 4 brush, apply paint and spread the bristles out by squashing the bristles near the base. I generally use quite dilute pigment for this and often build up a few layers of the fur texture. It is quite difficult to say how much water you need for this, you probably will need too practise this on some plain paper just to get a feel for it. It won't work with too much or too little water.
6. I add in a few more details with a 4/0 brush
7. I darken some shadows and paint the eye. I also decided to lighten up some areas with gouache a bit more (the paws, on the ear and some fur)
8. For the final step, I paint the whiskers with my 4/0 brush in white gouache then add more in darker watercolour. I use an eraser to remove the masking fluid from the eye highlight then sign it with the 4/0 brush.