Ring-Tailed Coati: Pencil to Paint mini-tutorial

If you are looking for Life Imitates Doodles Weekly Wednesday Giveaway #7, you can find it here.

Drawn with Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and painted on Hanemühle Rough watercolor postcard using watercolors, a Princeton Velvetouch Long Round and a Princeton Neptune Quill 4.

I apologize that I can’t identify all the colors in this painting. I used a home-made palette and have lost the color chart I made for it. And I was too lazy to do color swatches so I could identify them. One of these days, lol.

Did you know that the Ring-tail Coati of South America is a member of the Raccoon family? They are active in the day, though and live in treetops, building nests of leaves and twigs for their young.

The reference photo I used was courtesy of andycosta at Pixabay.

This coati presented a problem that I often find in painting animals. It had ticking, where each hair is a variety of colors. I love the look, but I still haven’t figured out exactlly the best way to capture it. I’m getting better at it, though. After doing the pencil drawing, I use the Pebeo Masking pen to reserve lighter areas to emulate ticking later.

I use pen to establish where the darkest areas will be, the direction of the fur and the overall outline of the coati.

I scanned this in between step because there are a couple of things I wanted to mention.

The color for this initial wash is either Quinacridone Gold or Gold Ochre and it’s a good base color for what I have in mind.

However, around the nose, feet, hindquarters this Coati has a deep blue sheen that I want in my painting.

I was chatting with hubby while doing this, and wasn’t paying attention. And you know what happens when you mix yellow and blue? Yup! Green. If my initial wash color was very light, it wouldn’t affect a deep blue, but this is a pretty intense yellow.

What the heck. It’s a challenge – I’m going to try for the blue sheen anyway.

The other thing I wanted to mention. Notice that I laid down the first color in the Coati’s tail and hindquarters, letting the color get lighter up and around the head and shoulders.

Well, the head and shoulders ARE lighter. Sort of an obvious thing to paint this way, but not something we always think of at this point in the painting.

I layered an earth red-brown, probably Transparent Red Oxide, Dioxine Purple (probably), and more of the Quin Gold until I had most of the color I wanted. As I used each color, I painted a light tint of it in the background.

I also mixed some of my blue (Phthalo Blue) with the purple, and will up the blue in the next step.

Once it had all dried I removed the masking fluid. Yikes! Too white! Fortunately, I planned for this. I know my paint will reactive nicely on these Hahnemühle postcards and I can soften all that white.

I softened the white by using a barely damp brush to reactivate the colors around it and fill it in. The goal is simple to have lighter bits of the same color. Once this dried, I took my stab at the blue.

It worked pretty well. I did get a bit green just behind the upper shoulder, but – gosh, I think this guy has been rolling in the grass, so of course he has grass stains!

I wasn’t totally happy with the ticking so I did some dry brushing with blue and the red earth color and finished up by adding dots and lines with the technical pen.


Where can you buy these wonderful toys?

Paper: Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor Postcards:

Zebra Zensations Technical Pens

Princeton Velvetouch mixed media brush Size 6 long round

Princeton Neptune Quill Size 4

Pebeo Drawing Gum High Precision Masking Fluid Marker Pen

Namaqua Lizard – Postcards for the Lunch Bag

Artwork: Zebra Zensations Technical Pen & Daniel Smith watercolor on Hahnemühle Watercolor Rough Postcard

If you are here for the Weekly Wednesday Giveaway #5, you can find it here.

Today my hubby took a Namaqua Lizard in his lunch bag.

Did you know that rather than living in trees, the Namaqua Chameleon is a desert dweller. This has led to other differences – they can spread their toes which I’m sure makes the other chameleons jealous, because they can’t. The namaqua is faster too – helpful when they’ve been teasing the other chameleons for their fused feet. Their color changes also help them regulate temperature as well as helping them hide. And last, but not least, they excrete salt through their nasal glands so they can reabsorb water faster. Ewww. That’s just … ewww.

To The Last Drop: Pencil to Paint mini-tutorial

If you are looking for the Life Imitates Doodles Weekly Wednesday Giveaway, you can find it here. And did you catch my Rainy Day Fun & Easy Tutorial at Doodlewash?

#Cow was one of the February prompts on Doodlewash and the reference photo I used was courtesy of Wallner at Pixabay. Drawn with Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and painted on Hanemühle Rough watercolor postcard using Daniel Smith watercolors and Princeton Velvetouch Long Round.

The subject for this drawing was rather complex, especially around the mouth, with that tongue and the wild hair flying all over. I studied it awhile, trying to decide what I liked about it, and what I was trying to capture in my version. Two things stood out for me.

  • It’s comical
  • I love the texture of the hair

I decided I would go with a negative painting technique to bring out the lovely texture and color of the hair.

In order to make sure I got my proportions right, I pulled out my set of pre-drawn grid cards and my light box. I opened the Grid Drawing Tool by ArtTutor and added a similar sized grid to my reference photo.

Using that as my reference, I put my grid card on the light box, with my drawing on top of the grid card so I can see the lines.

After I’ve done the drawing, I use a Pebeo Drawing Gum to add masking fluid where I want to keep lighter streaks.

I’ve already done a good portion of the work in the pencil drawing step so now I’m establishing the darkest values, the detail of the hair and creating a little texture.

The first wash is a layer of Titanium Buff over the entire cow. The pinkish yellow of that color makes a great base for the greys and browns I’ll be using. I use just the faintest hint of Quinacridone Rose on the tongue and palette and around the outside of the eye.

I drop in Jane’s Grey and Burnt Sienna while the Titanium Buff is still wet and let the colors blend.

At this point, I set the painting aside and let it all dry.

After I’ve added more layers of the Jane’s Gray and Burnt Sienna I remove the masking fluid. Notice how harsh the white seems, and how blunt the edges are? That’s a drawback of using masking fluid. However, I know the Hahnemühle watercolor postcards paper will allow me to soften those edges.

That isn’t true of all papers. You’ll want to test before using masking fluid, if you are using another paper.

Another thing that I want to note is that Jane’s Gray is a mix of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. By using it with Burnt Sienna, I’m merely altering the mix to be more brown in places.

One of things that I noticed as I was layering color was that I like the contrast between the blue masking fluid and the Burnt Sienna/Jane’s Gray. I decided to use a light tint Cerulean Blue (a very close match in color to the masking fluid) for the lighter streaks in the fur.

Then I had to make a decision. The complex area around the mouth was being lost in the complexity of the wild fur. I could either make that tongue stand out, or really punch up the shapes in the fur.

I decided to go with the tongue and blended the colors in the fur more than I had originally intended to. I tried to stop at a point where I still had plenty of texture, but the tongue is the first thing to draw the eye. I’m not sure if I succeeded and I might go back later and blend the fur even more.

If you aren’t sure about something, it’s always best to stop and wait for a while before going on.


Where can you buy these wonderful toys?

Paper: Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor Postcards:

Zebra Zensations Technical Pens

Princeton Velvetouch mixed media brush Size 6 long round

Pebeo Drawing Gum High Precision Masking Fluid Marker Pen

Daniel Smith watercolor Ultimate Mixing half-pan set (colors can also be purchased in tubes)

Snowflakes in the City

Yesterday, I posted sunshine, but today I’m posting something we’re far more familiar with right now.

This kind of stormy urban landscape has become my favorite way to test a new paper. I don’t worry about perspective, proportion or technique. Because the scene is stormy, I don’t worry about blotches or blossoms or streaks.

Be sure to visit here or at Doodlewash this Tuesday, because I have a tutorial showing you how to paint an easier version of one of these urban scenes!

I used flake and black lava salt to create those snowflakes (that won’t be in the tutorial, because I’m keeping it as simple as possible), and Hahnemuhle Anniversary Edition 425gsm Watercolour Block 24×32 Centimetre, 15 Sheets, Matt proved to be EX-cellent for getting that effect. Color lifted easily allowing me to get misty effects, and the paints flowed well.

The paper absorbed


Hot Summer Night with Giraffe

Artwork: Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pen & gel pens on Hahnemühle Cold Pressed watercolor postcard

I’ve been trying to keep up with the February Doodlewash prompts and managed to do most of them. The prompt Giraffe came up though, and time was short. I grabbed my Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens and just started drawing with nothing much in mind except Giraffe. I added a few doodles with a fluorescent yellow Gelly Roll pen, afterward.

The result is a bit odd, but I like it.

If you are interested in learning more about Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens, you can find my review here. They are great for quick artwork, no muss, no fuss!

You can find Hanemühle cold-pressed watercolor postcards at:

The Sea Pig – Postcards for the Lunch Bag

If you are here for the Weekly Wednesday Giveaway #4, you can find it here.

Artwork: Sea Pig-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen, Ecoline Pastel Watercolor brush pen, Uniball white Signo on Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor Postcard 

Today my hubby took a Sea Pig in his lunch bag.

Did you know that Sea Pigs (yes – really real animals!) live on the ocean floor about 3.7 miles down? Sometimes they’ll gather by the hundreds, all facing the same direction. *shudders* I’ll bet that looks downright creepy!

I couldn’t find a good reference photo on Pixabay, Morguefile or Unsplash, but the sea pig is a pretty simple creature to draw. In essence, my pencil drawing is a balloon shape with stubby little legs all around, lol.

The technical pen I chose was an .08 because I was drawing simple bold lines and shadow. I would have used my PM-701 permanent pen, but it’s almost out of ink.

Most of the work for this painting came in the painting step. I used Ecoline Watercolor brush pens, Magenta and Sky Blue. I used my Princeton Velvetouch mixed media brush Size 6 long round throughout.

Sea Pigs look a lot like animated bubbles of chewing gum so I needed soft tints rather than bright colors. Both the magenta and sky blue are actually a very deep, intense colors, so I scribbled onto a piece of plastic, mixed it with lots of water and just picked up a little to paint with.

All the different colors you see are from those two colors mixed in different ratios, plus the technical pen, and some scribbles from my Signo Uniball White gel pen for highlights.

Wanna buy any of these toys?

Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor Postcards:

Zebra Zensation Technical Pens

Princeton Velvetouch mixed media brush Size 6 long round

Domesticating the Fox – Postcards for the Lunch Bag

If you are here for the Weekly Wednesday Giveaway #4, you can find it here.

Artwork: Zebra Zensations Technical Pen & Qor watercolor on Hahenemühle Rough watercolor postcard.  Photo reference by Sunyu at Unsplash.

Today my hubby took a red fox in his lunch bag.

In the 1950’s, a study was begun to investigate how domestication of animals might have happened. Foxes were chosen, based on levels of friendliness (or rather, in the beginning, less evasive or aggressive behaviour). By the fourth generation, changes were evident – the foxes wagged their tails, and were eager for human contact.

As the study went on, not only did the foxes become more dog-like in behavior, they became cuter – more delicate with drop ears, curlier tails and variation in fur color!