Tutorial – How to Paint a Kangaroo

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Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and Arteza Watercolor Brush Pens on a Hahnemühle Rough Burgund Watercolor Postcard. Reference photo courtesy of Free-Photos on Pixabay.

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

Before You Start

What drew me to this reference photo? Well, that Kangaroo’s expression of course. I’m sure he’s saying ‘What you got dere? I want it!”

I’ll confess that I ran out of time and didn’t really finish this painting, before slipping it into hubby’s lunch bag. But I felt it was close enough, and that I used something different enough, that it was still worth a quick tutorial.


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

I felt the shapes in this drawing were simple enough to do freehand so I didn’t worry about a grid.

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 was going for speed, so I chose to use a Permanent Marker for the darkest of areas. I have two of these and one is almost out of ink, so I used that one for the gray areas. I used a .03 technical pen to draw the outline and hair.


This is the reason I felt this painting was different enough to post even though I didn’t finish it to my satisfaction. I used Arteza Watercolor brush pens. These are pen with watercolor (dye, I think) and bristle tips rather than nylon. Most of the time, I use these to add last minute adjustments but they are a quick way to do a small painting.

They can be used as is, or if you want to thin the color, you can use a barrel watercolor brush – one of those brushes that you fill with water to use with watercolor pencils or pens.

Colors for Kangaroo – Arctic Blue, Parma Gray, Tawny.

I scribbled in the color where I wanted it to be darkest.

Then I used a water brush filled with water to spread the color around, letting the color blend. I added the water with a sort of dab/swipe motion. I’ve found with these pens that the color doesn’t move very far. I was painting on a rough watercolor surface, which meant even less movement. Knowing I couldn’t spread the color far, I worked more to thin it in areas and blend it in others.

Colors for background – Chamomile and Green Tea.

I scribbled on the color for the background and used the waterbrush to even them out.

That’s all I had time to do before hubby had to leave for work. What would I have done to finish? I would have added shadow color to the eyes and deepened the color around the Permanent Marker, so those lines would blend more. I’d have added more shading to the face.

I would have added another color and some texture lines to the background. It would have probably taken about another 10-15 minutes to complete.


And where you can buy them

Hahnemuhle Burgund Watercolor Postcard Rough 120lb

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

Zebra PM-701 Stainless Steel Permanent Marker

Arteza Real Brush Pens, 48 Colors for Watercolor Paintin

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.

3 thoughts on “Tutorial – How to Paint a Kangaroo

  1. Wow! He is amazing! Thanks for sharing your little tips. Good to know about those pens. I’ve started seeing a few other artists using them and was wondering.

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