Tutorial – How to Paint a Klipspringer Antelope

Pencil to Paint Tutorial

Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and Daniel Smith watercolor on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Princeton Neptune Quill Size 4 & Neptune Round Size 8.

This painting is what is known as a ‘line and wash’ because it is drawn in pen first and then painted with watercolor.

Reference photo courtesy of JakeWilliamHeckey on Pixabay.

Postcards for the Lunchbag – Today, my hubby took a Klipspringer in his lunchbag. Did you know that this teeny tiny antelope walks on tip-toe due to their downward pointing hooves, which make them excellent climbers? The Doodlewash prompt for today is Sandals – it’s a stretch but I’m claiming that specialized feet equal sandals, lol.

Klipspringers are noted for their plush fur, and my main goal was to capture the texture and ticking of the fur. Ticking occurs when there are two or three bands of color on each hair. It’s tricky to paint.


(This scan is darkened so you can see the pencil lines. You should pencil lines in lightly)

The shapes for this Klipspringer are pretty simple so I penciled them in freehand, without using a grid. I see that I missed one of his horns, lol. These pencil drawings are only a guide and you should always feel free to change your mind once you start the penwork.

Not sure if you’re up to drawing this? Art Tutor has a great grid program that will help by applying a grid to your uploaded photo. You can also crop and adjust color and value.

Masking Fluid

As I mentioned above, the Klipspringer has ticking. It appeared to me that in some areas the fur was black, white and buff, while in other areas it was black, white and sienna or ochre.

Before starting my pen drawing, I used a Pebeo Masking Fluid pen to create hair-like markings all over the antelope. I do this before the pen work because it will break up some of the pen lines creating even more ticking.

It’s also easier to add more pen lines after the masking fluid is removed. You can’t add more white as easily.

I also covered the eyelashes, and small patches of white fur around the eye, chin, throat, ears and part of the horns.


Normally, I draw the outline of the animal in pen, but I wanted to wait until I saw my ticked effect to do so, this time.

I filled in around the eye, the dark areas of the ears and horns, the nose and that strange little patch down from the eye. Looks like an extra eye, doesn’t it?

I don’t color these in solid because I want some color from the paint to show.

Next, I draw ticking where the klipspringer appears to have black in the hair. Note how in many areas I’m drawing narrow ovals. Almost like seeds instead than hairs.

This will add yet more complexity to the ticking effect once the masking fluid is removed.


Using my quill brush loaded with water, I pick up a little bit of lavender, and lay down the shadowed area.

A quill brush has what is known as a wide ‘belly’, the middle of the brush, and then it narrows at the tip. A good quill soaks up the water and paint, and holds it in the belly.

With a quill, I don’t bother putting water on the paper first, or mixing water into the paint, because there is so much water in the brush.

Meanwhile, you can draw tiny, narrow lines with the tip of the brush, or sweep along the side of the brush for broad lines. The paint/water in the brush is released in an even flow. You can paint almost forever without having to reload your brush. It’s a delight to work with one.

The drawbacks (and there are ALWAYS drawbacks) are:

  • difficulty getting dark colors because of all the water
  • picking up paint when adding more color, and ending up with lighter instead of darker color

A bad quill brush will almost immediately go flat with the slightest pressure and will release bunches of water giving you a flood.

If you don’t have a good quill, you can get the same sort of paint flow with a soft bristle round brush that will hold it’s shape. But you will have to mix your paint with water on the palette and will have to go back more often to pick up color.

After cleaning the quill I, squeeze a little water from it, and pick up some Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (called Monte Amiata after this) and color the yellowish areas.

I like this color, but my scanner doesn’t show it to advantage. It’s a granulating color – good for that ticking because it gets a pebbly effect, and that’s what I want.

Switching to a soft bristled, round size 8, I paint the throat and chest with buff titanium.

Once all the paint has thoroughly dried, I remove the masking fluid.

The white streaks are too harsh – they always are. I kind of like it this time and I’m almost tempted to leave it this way. I don’t though.

Using the quill with lots of water, I barely touch the tip into Phthalo Blue. This is an intense staining color that is hard to lighten, so I only want the tiniest, wateriest mix I can get. I use it on the nose and around the eyes, ears and horns.

Switching to a soft bristled, round size 8, I pick up some of the Monte Amiata and add it around the outside of the same area I used it before to darken the values.

I add some lavender hair in the area of the chest and throat to imply light shading among the fur.

Once it all dries, I use the damp round brush and very lightly sweep it in short strokes across the ticked areas to blend the areas left white by the masking fluid.

Finishing Touch

Again, I let it dry. Then I add more pen work, finishing the outline, darkening between the eyelashes, and adding more ticking on the face.

I could have blended the white hairs more thoroughly to get closer to my original intention. I like what happened in that area though, and decided to leave. I can always go back later if I wish, and change the effect.


(and where you can buy them)

Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcards (you can find my review here).

Zensations Technical pens

Pebeo Drawing Gum High Precision Masking Fluid Marker Pen

DANIEL SMITH Extra Fine Watercolor 15ml Paint Tubes; 

Princeton Artist Brush Neptune, Brushes for Watercolor Series 4750, Quill Synthetic Squirrel, Size 4

Published by Life Imitates Doodles Art, Reviews & Tutorials

Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pens. I'm a self-taught artist who dances about with all sorts of artistic mediums. My main loves are Watercolor, Zentangle and Ballpoint pen. The subjects of my work are many and varied and change at whim. I'm a little bit crazy, but doesn't that come with being an artist? At my Life Imitates Doodles Blog, I post a list of resource links for Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways two times a week. I also write reviews, hold giveaways and share my art work.

11 thoughts on “Tutorial – How to Paint a Klipspringer Antelope

  1. Love this little antelope, you’ve really captured the alertness and energy of the animal. Very cool. Thanks! Jaki A.

  2. Such a beauty! It almost looks like a unicorn, though I can see the other horn. Layering really makes the dense fur appear dimensional. I learned a lot from this one – thank you, Sandra.

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