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Watercolour Fur Tutorial by Wolfdog Watercolour Fur Tutorial by Wolfdog
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.

Stages
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.
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:icong-sj:
G-SJ Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconani-mato:
Ani-mato Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been looking for a good fur tutorial for watercolor! I'll be sure to use this :love:
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:iconhenriandra:
henriandra Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012
perfect
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:iconcola013:
COla013 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2012
Very useful :) thank you a lot <fav>
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:icondvdweng:
dvdweng Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2011  Student General Artist
I've been mentally toying with watercolours for a while... and I've finally just gotten crazy about it now that I'm in college... it's hard stuff. XD THis looks like a good tutorial, I hope it'll be useful in the future. =:3
Reply
:iconmusic-art-friends:
music-art-friends Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2011
thank you so much..i was wondering how to do fur, i just started painting a grizzly bear...and i couldnt find out how to do this anywhere..if i could find something it would be some stuck up artist charging an arm, a leg, and your first born son to learn the "secret" of how to do it! you made my day!
Reply
:icongee231205:
gee231205 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
This is a really nicely done tutorial, with nice pixctures to show the stages and the written text is easy to follow as well. the finished picture is also amazing.
Reply
:iconhewiealbino:
HewieAlbino Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Excellent tutorial! I usually use my watercolors for rough sketching but I've always wanted to try painting more finished pictures.

Thanks! Will be adding this to favorites
Reply
:iconlike-textas:
like-textas Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2008
HELLZ YEH
lol i am so gonna try this.. so called.. fur
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2009   Traditional Artist
so called fur? Lol XD
Reply
:iconubxtraplus:
ubxtraplus Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008
Reply
:iconubxtraplus:
ubxtraplus Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008
I made it! Please look at his and comment! :)
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:iconscream-till-it-hurts:
I'd like to start watercolour painting... Just basic little pictures. This is a very well made, helpful tutorial, and a very cute picture subject ^^.
Reply
:iconmaff77:
Maff77 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2008
Wow! this is soo helpful!
this will really help me do my art exam piece!
thankyou!!
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2008   Traditional Artist
Thanks! I'm glad it could be of use :)
Reply
:iconichiya:
Ichiya Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2008  Professional General Artist
It will help me a lot ^^ thanks
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008   Traditional Artist
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconpaulllll1:
paulllll1 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2008
i started waterpaint a few weeks ago and am practicing alot. Now my birthday is coming up and i want to get new paint and new brushes.. Do you have any advice on wich kinda basic brushes i need. I can tell by your work that your experienced!
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2008   Traditional Artist
It does really depend what sort of things you want to paint - you'll generally need larger, flat brushes for landscape work.
I generally use a round 8, 5, 2 or 1, and a smaller brush for details (such as a 2/0)
Flat ended brushes seem to be best for landscapes/backgrounds. There are quite a few brush selections in packs, which might be good to go for starting out. As for materials, I go for a cheaper synthetic option - sable is more expensive but it does hold water best. Don't use brushes designed for acrylic - they don't hold water very well at all.

Hope that helps
Reply
:iconpaulllll1:
paulllll1 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2008
Thanks alot, im going to get me a starters kit, see whats in it and then buy some spair ones if needed.
Reply
:iconnekromantikk:
Nekromantikk Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2007
awww
Reply
:iconjaneypoos:
JaneyPoos Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2007
Hey this is both pretty and useful... nice one :)
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2007   Traditional Artist
aaah dual function!
Reply
:iconbohor:
BoHoR Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much for sharing your secrets, my wolfdog friend :) this will help me.
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2007   Traditional Artist
:blush:
Reply
:iconnighttracker:
NightTracker Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2007  Professional General Artist
Nice! Im lovin this little piccu. He's so cute! and this helped me lots, thanks!
I shall have to save it and practice sometime when I get my paws on some watercolors, and watercolor paper. <3
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2007   Traditional Artist
Hehe I'd like to see the results when you get round to it! :)
Reply
:iconcane-mckeyton:
Cane-McKeyton Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh, very interesting. I may try this some time.
Reply
:iconderpup:
Derpup Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2007
YOU.AREMYHERO. I AM SERIOUSLY going to buy some watercolor paper...and watercolors, and try this. you did a beautiful job demonstrating this, ah i really hope i can do it half as well as you. xD it's still amazing how you paint fur, and this picture is so adorable. ;3; thank you so much for making this, and i will be sure to let you know when i can get started on a watercolor project. c: <33 this is such a great help.
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2007   Traditional Artist
Ooh! Please let me see if you do anything!
The most important thing is to practise that "dry brush" technique so you get the hang of it *nods*
I used to play with watercolours a lot, so I think you just end up getting used to the consistency of them and how they handle.
Reply
:iconwolfsjal:
Wolfsjal Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2007
Nice tutorial, Wolfdog. :) You really do paint amazing fur with watercolours.
And...
Kangaroo rat!! So cute.

Wolfsjäl
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2007   Traditional Artist
Thanks very much :blush: It is a cute little fellow, too :3
Reply
:iconsilvermoontiger:
SilverMoonTiger Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2007   Digital Artist
I'm going to have to try this some time! Very helpful!
Reply
:icondogganothlit:
dogganothlit Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2007  Student Digital Artist
Thats great! Wonderfull tips too! This can really help! Thank you.
Reply
:iconwinterdark:
winterdark Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2007
One hour ? I think my brain would become ADD before I would be able to finish it D:

Looks cool though~

What's this masking fluid you speak of?
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2007   Traditional Artist
Masking fluid is this gooey stuff that you put on before painting and it masks the area, then you rub or peel it off when you are done. It's very useful for the watercolours. [link]
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:iconwinterdark:
winterdark Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2007
@___@ I want to get me some of that x3
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2007   Traditional Artist
Yar, tis verreh useful
Reply
:iconspookowl:
spookowl Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2007
great tutorial! watercolors are so hard to work with I admire your skill!
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2007   Traditional Artist
:blush: Aw thanks
Reply
:iconspookowl:
spookowl Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2007
welcomess!
Reply
:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh wow you put so much effort into the fur! No wonder it looks so real :D I like the added picture of the brushes heheh
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:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2007   Traditional Artist
Hehe yeah I thought people would be interested to see the brushes too
Reply
:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Heheh it's cute the way the brushes are there kind of like...mug shots for brushes :D
Reply
:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2007   Traditional Artist
It's so you know the culprit .... xD
Brush crimes?
Reply
:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:rofl: "Wash Dog" *get's pelted with rotting vegtables*
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:iconwolfdog:
Wolfdog Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2007   Traditional Artist
*groans*
Reply
:iconsleyf:
Sleyf Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:D sorry hehehe
Reply
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