White Tail Saki – Pencil to Paint Tutorial

Artwork- Zebra Zensations Technical pens and Daniel Smith Watercolor on Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Photo reference from A_Different_Perspective on Pixabay.

This is the last of my lost and found postcards, along with Sunday’s caracal cat, and Monday’s Sheep. So details will be sparse because I can’t remember that far back.

The White Tail Saki monkey of South America weighs about three pounds. This is a painting of a male. The females are lighter, and have bright strips of hair from eyes to chins. 

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

I didn’t take enough time before I started this card. I was getting ready for my trip to Florida and painting cards ahead so hubby would have them for his lunchbag while I was gone (then I mislaid them – cheesh!)

No painting is a waste of time, though. I know why this one didn’t come out the way I wanted it too. And that happened before I even began.

Usually, I look at my reference, and think how I might create the values, the textures and the colors, I’m seeing. These days, it only takes me a few minutes, and I know which palette I’ll choose and the brushes I’ll use. But those few minutes are probably the most important in the entire painting.

I’m not really satisfied with the way this painting came out. NOT BASHING! Just not totally satisfied. And this is the step where I went wrong.


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

Another reason I can tell that I rushed through the beginning stages of this painting is because my pencil sketch is really minimal-even more so than usual. Mostly I made sure it fit the postcard and placed the facial details and foot. That’s all that is really needed, though.

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.


With all the fur going every which way, it can be hard to figure out what’s fur and what’s foot, arm, leg or hand. I tried to get away with the direction of the fur, and a little value.

I would have been happier if I had decided to go all fur and merely suggest the arms or been much more detailed and really worked on getting my values correct.


I like the background to this painting much more than I like the monkey. It’s pretty abstract as my backgrounds often are. I used negative painting in places and lifted color in places to create the feeling of foliage.

I have to guess at the colors, but I’m pretty sure these are the ones used.

There is a red in there too, but I’m not sure if I used Burnt Sienna (most likely) or Tranparent Red Oxide.

Want to know more about the Tools?

Hahnemühle Postcards (review)

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

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.

4 thoughts on “White Tail Saki – Pencil to Paint Tutorial

  1. What a delight to see your sweet painting and tutorial this morning! I’ve never heard of a Saki, so, I enjoy learning more about the animals–real or imagined–that you introduce each day! You wouldn’t be the artist that you are if you didn’t critique your own work (which I find flawless, myself!). I like the background, too. The color contrast provides balance. Love it, Sandra!

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