Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen, QoR watercolor and White Signo Uniball gel pen on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Princeton Elite Travel Round size 10.
Did you know that a walrus can eat 4,000 – 6,000 clams in one sitting?
Doodlewash prompt ‘walrus’.
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 the reference photo was that wild stare and the whiskers, so I knew I wanted to focus on that. I also wanted to capture that splotchiness of color but I didn’t want it to compete with the focus on the stare/whiskers.
I first considered using a rough postcard, but decided it was the wrong kind of texture, and went with a cold-pressed postcard instead.
(This scan is darkened so you can see the pencil lines. You should pencil lines in lightly)
The shapes in this painting are simple so I free-handed it. Notice how the folds of the walrus’s body tend to echo each other. Vertically, the tusks, the separation of face and body, and eye and body all have a similar flow. The same thing with the top lip, the back of the head and the folds along the back.
This very sketchy pencil drawing was used to place detail and to make sure everything fit on the card. I didn’t bother with the whiskers. They’re too much fussy detail and too easy to place to bother with at this point.
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.
Although there is a lot of texture in the walrus’ skin, I decided to minimize that, making everything subordinate to the whiskers and eye (though the shapes are simple, this walrus could be painted in many different ways). At this step, I established my values*, drew the outline and spent a lot of time on the whiskers.
Values= dark to light. When you establish your values, you are deciding where the darkest areas are, and some of the important mid-tones.
I did a light wash of Quinacridone Magenta over the entire Walrus, and then I dabbed a light wash of Nickel Azo Yellow over the whisker and nose area, then Transparent Pyrrole Orange around the nose, the lip and the folds around the head and neck. By ‘dabbed’, I mean I bounced the brush up and down, sometimes using the tip and sometimes the side of the brush.
Using dabbing motions again, Dioxine Purple was splashed over most of the walrus. I dropped burnt sienna here and there in shaded areas. When the paint was dry, I did some dry brushing with a hint of the purple for texture.
Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue were mixed half & half for the darkest value under the eye and whiskers. I thinned it with more water and painted in the areas between the whiskers.
Using the side of my round brush, the ripples of water were done with Phthalo Blue GS and Sap Green was dropped in while the blue was still quite wet. With a dry brush, I picked up just a little of the color from the water and used it to shade the tusks.
Once that dried, I used a White Signo Uniball gel pen to highlight the top layer of whiskers, and added a few dots along the snout and around the eye.
And Where You Can Buy Them
Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcards (review).