Tutorial – How to Paint a Flying Lemur #WorldWatercolorMonth

July is World Watercolor Month. If you post art that uses watercolor or gouache, add the tag #WorldWatercolorMonth and be part of this huge yearly event!

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 chaileefung0 on Pixabay.

Postcards for the Lunchbag: Today, my hubby took a Colugo in his lunchbag. Okay – the title is kind of a lie. The Colugo is commonly called a Flying Lemur, but they don’t fly and they aren’t a lemur! They’re a species from an ancient, but uncommon family and they have a membrane stretching from shoulder to forepaw that allows them to glide about 230 feet.

Doodlewash Prompt: Sunny Skies. So the colugo kind of flies through the skies, which means this painting doesn’t really meet the prompt, but I’m claiming it anyway, lol.

Reference photo courtesy of chaileefung0 on Pixabay

As you can see from the photo, they are seriously weird-looking dudes. No offense to any Colugos out there – beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

What caught my eye about this photo was how well the colugo fits in with his surroundings. Often, I just put in enough background to keep my subject grounded. This time, I decided that I wanted to make this an edge-to-edge painting.


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

The colugo was hard for my brain to compute. I decided it was easier to draw and paint him if I turned her sideways.

I drew the colugo’s outline, the eye, the ear, and the tree trunk. Then I drew the areas of sunlight. I didn’t worry about exact shapes or placement. The little baby peeking out from under the tail is cute, but confusing, so I just left him out.

The forearms are way too short in this sketch. I fixed that but forgot to scan it before I started drawing.

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.


I penned in the facial features, the marbling, and shaded areas on the colugo. Then I used hatching and cross-hatching for shading and texture on the tree trunk.

Although, I intended to paint edge-to-edge, I wanted the background to be abstract. The trick being to strike a happy medium between a colugo who can be seen, and a colugo who is blending in with her surroundings.


Using a quill brush with lots of water and little paint, I used Moonglow for the marbled areas of the colugo and the darker shaded areas of the tree.

I add the lightest touch of Quinacridone Rose around the ear, along the bottom of the forepaw, and on the tail.

Shadow violet was used as a contrasting gray in the areas not left white.

Light washes of Undersea Green were used along the tree and the background. While the Undersea was still wet, I started dropping Serpentine Green Genuine, and Cascade Green, so they would blend together.

I repeated the same steps two more times, strengthening the colors, then letting the paint dry in between layers. I let the colors blend as they would in the background, but did some negative painting, picking out shapes that would imply leaves here and there.

For the last layer, I switched to the soft bristle round so I could darken some areas.

At this step, I decided the painting needed to be warmed up a bit, so I added a touch of Monte Amiata Natural Sienna to the eye, shoulder and hindquarters.

Switching to the quill, I added a light wash of Cadmium Yellow Med Hue to whites of the colugo and tree. I dropped darker washes of it into the still-damp background and let it blend.


(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 Tube:

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.

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