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.

Pencil

(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.

Pen

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.

Paint

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)

A Sheepish Hello – Pencil to Paint Tutorial


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

Have I mentioned that I have gremlins in my home? I know I have, because if I turn away for an instant – an INSTANT – things disappear. I couldn’t possibly lose this many things! Further proof – the things always reappear somewhere, right where I’d trip over, days or weeks later. Months in some cases.

So, I scanned, I lost and I found it the other day along with yesterday’s caracal cat, and the card I’ll post on Wednesday. So details will be sparse because I can’t remember that far back.

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

Make sure you keep track of your supplies, and your finished work and maybe your shirt and shoes.

Pencil

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

All the shapes are simple – notice that most of them are ovals.

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.

Pen

There isn’t a lot of value contrast (light to dark) in this painting, so my penwork focuses on the outline and on the texture and direction of the fur.

Paint

I don’t remember what I did, but I can tell that this is a painting that I did very quickly, and it was kept minimal. I used very watery mixes, slightly thicker for the eye. The whole thing, from pencil to paint, probably took about half and hour and that was including taking the time to scan each step.

It’s a guess, but I’m pretty sure these are the colors I used (I kind of checked it out by using the same colors for yesterday’s caracal cat).

Want to know more about the Tools?

Hahnemühle Postcards (review)

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

Caracal Cat – Pencil to Paint Tutorial


Zebra Zensations Technical pens and Daniel Smith Watercolor on Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor postcard.

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

Okay – this was one of those paintings where life and art collided a bit.

I thought I had scanned the pencil drawing, but I didn’t evidently. Note also that the pen drawing is minimal – almost unfinished. That’s because it’s unfinished.

It would be nice if you could always plan what you want and get the result you want. Sometimes though, you just do the best with what you’ve got.

I was interrupted when I was doing the pen drawing, and life got crazy for a while, and I didn’t get back to it for a couple of months. Who knew what I had planned at first. In the end, I made my decisions at the point where I was adding paint and they were partially dictated by the fact that I had left masking fluid on the paper for too long. I’ll explain why later.

Reference photo courtesy of Rinzler on Pixabay

I’ve written elsewhere about using color in shadows. In that write-up, I talked about the intense blue and purple shadows that can give a real sense of light.

With this painting, I wanted a much more subtle effect. I don’t know if you see it on your screen, but on mine, this cat has subtle hints of violet. It’s pretty subtle, but that’s one of the things you start looking for when you are more experienced.

I also had some colors that I don’t use too often, and I wanted to play with them. So I did.

Pencil

Oops! No pencil scan. The shapes are fairly simple though, so I know I freehanded it, mostly just blocking in the shapes, placing the facial details and making sure everything fit the size of the card.

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.

Pen

The light blue on this scan is masking fluid. There is a lot of white on this cat, much of it interspersed with other colors so I decided to reserve it before drawing with the ink. As mentioned above, I was delayed in painting this and the masking fluid came back to bite me for two reasons.

  • You shouldn’t leave masking fluid on paper for very long because it will be harder to remove.
  • You shouldn’t use masking fluid on rough paper because it can seep into the wells of the paper and be harder to remove.

You get the theme of this? Harder to remove. More about that later.

When I came back to this drawing after a couple of months, I knew at this point that the masking fluid was going to be a problem, to the point where I might have to throw the whole thing away, so I didn’t draw any further.

Paint

Daniel Smith is known for colors made from unusual pigments. Often, these seem to be so close to other more common colors that people wonder why bother.

The difference often has to do with characteristics – the unusual pigment might granulate more, or be more intense. Sometimes, the main difference might be the way in which the color mixes with other colors.

It was the mixing qualities and temperature I was exploring with this piece. The colors I used were:

I also used Phthalo Blue Green Shade, which is a common color.

Note that I used watery mixes for all of this. I wasn’t trying to capture the exact correct color of the fur, but I wanted a subtle sense of light shining on fur.

I started by painting the sky with Phthalo Blue and dropped in touches of Wisteria here and there.

Many animals have an off-white color in their coat, especially when it is ticked or mixed with other colors. Buff Titanium is a good color for it, but I’ve found it easily leads to green if you add blue to your shadows. Monte Amiata is a yellowish color, but can take a little blue without going green. In a light wash it looks similar to Buff Titanium. Not giving up the Buff but Monte will be used more often.

For the shadows, I wanted to punch up that subtle hint of violet and turn it more towards purple so it would be warmer (look up purple vs violet if you are confused by that) so I used Wisteria.

In essence, I wanted the fur to reflect my background, which was Phthalo Blue with a little bit of Wisteria, so I add some Phthalo Blue to my Wisteria shadows, especially at the top of the head.

Rose of Ultramarine is an interesting granulating color. It’s a mix of Quinacridone Rose with Ultramarine Blue. It’s a purple, but the blue granulates – settles into the wells of the paper so the rose comes forward. (And yes – you could mix your own if you have these two colors-though getting the right mix might be a challenge).

The cat’s fur has a variation of color – more of a charcoal & brown with cream in real life giving a textured look to the fur. I added a darker mix of the Monte Amiata to give a feel of the real color, and then used the Rose Of Ultramarine for the rest of the darker fur, as though the light was hiding the real color from the eye. I let the Monte and Rose run together slightly.

The granulation doesn’t show well in the scan, but is there in real life.

And now for the masking fluid. I did get most of it off, but not all of it, and it left a muddy greenish stain in a few areas. Fortunately, that doesn’t show very well in the scan, either.

Should you run out and buy these colors? Only if you are at the stage where characteristics like opacity, staining, temperature, granulation, and other qualities of color pigments have started to make sense. The reason for this post is to help you get to that point, but there are other similar colors among the standards that are cheaper and easier to use for the beginner to intermediate watercolorist.

Whew! Sorry that turned out to be a longer post than I intended.

Manatee – Pencil to Paint Tutorial


Artwork- Zebra Zensations Technical pens and Miya Gouache & Van Gogh Interference on Hahnemühle Burgund Watercolor Postcard Rough. Photo reference from extrabrandt on Pixabay.

Did you know that the Manatee is also known as a sea cow, but is more closely related to the elephant? Doesn’t it seem sometimes, that every strange looking animal is related to the elephant?

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

Sunlight streaming through water evokes such a serene feeling and it’s something that I love to paint. By human standards of beauty, the manatee is an ugly beast, but in the ocean surrounds they have poetry. I wanted to capture a bit of that.

The manatee has a textured skin, and water ripples, so I chose one of Hahnemühle’s rough textured postcards.

Pencil

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

The shape of the manatee’s head is very simple, so I drew it freehand, mostly to make sure it fit the postcard, and to capture placement of the eye nose, mouth and some of the shadows.

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.

Pen

After inking the outlines, eye, nose and mouth, I used a masking fluid pen to reserve the white of the postcard.

Sometimes, I use a white gel pen after painting to add white, because it can be difficult to reserve it in a painting this size. But the white of the paper gives you a softer, yet more vibrant white. I chose to go this route because the light in this painting is important.

Paint

It only took a few moments to paint this, possibly because I had a strong idea of what I wanted.

Timing was important. I painted the manatee by dropping watery mixes of Ultramarine Blue and Purple onto the page letting the colors run together. When they had dried for a few minutes, but were still wet, I dropped in the creamier darker mix of Ultramarine Blue for the shadows. I wanted the darker color to run into the lighter color, but not enough to lose intensity.

I used Tehran (Cerulean Blue) to paint the water and after a few seconds, I dabbed at it with a kleenex to get texture.

Once it was all completely dry, I removed the masking fluid. Sometimes, I use a damp brush to soften the edges of the white or to pull color into it. Not this time. I felt the hard edges suited the feeling of light catching the texture of the manatee’s skin.

Tools

And Where You Can Buy Them

Miya Himi Gouache Paint Set, 18 Colors 

Van Gogh Speciality Palette 

Hahnemuhle Burgund Watercolor Postcard Rough 120lb  (review)

Molotow GRAFX Masking Fluid Pump Marker, 2mm

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

Wild Squirrel for Inktober – Pencil to Paint Tutorial


Zebra Zensations Technical pens on Hahnemühle Burgund Postcard. Photo reference courtesy of Skica911 on Pixabay.

If you are looking for my review of Alice Hendon’s Tangle All Around the World you can find it here.

Prompts:

  • Inktober – Wild
  • Doodlewash – Squirrel

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

There is a series of commercials where a squirrel sits in the road, causing a car to swerve and crash. Afterwards, he slaps hands with another squirrel and it’s obvious they planned the crash. The moral being that squirrels are EVIL! Well, actually, the moral was supposed to be that you should buy something, but I don’t even remember what.

To me, the squirrel in the reference photo had an evil expression and I wanted to capture that feeling that he was hatching mischief. The background in the reference was blurred, so I decided to add more color to create something soft and contrasting to the evil squirrel.

Pencil

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

I decided to keep the detail limited – I wanted the focus to be on the facial expression.

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.

Except for some texture added to the tree trunks, I just penned in the outlines and minimal detail. Even at that, I felt I’d added too much so I addressed that in the last step.

With Daniel Smith Watercolor and White Uniball Signo Gel Pens added

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna with a touch of Rose of Ultramarine were used for the squirrel. Wisteria, Rose of Ultramarine, Cascade Green and a touch of Monte Amiata were used for the background. If you don’t have these Daniel Smith colors, a Raw Sienna, red violet, red violet & white, and a blue-green would give similar results.

Notice that there is a roughly circular flow to the colors in the background and the most contrast is along the lower branch, leading you to the squirrel’s face. The sharpest detail is in that face.

As mentioned in the step above, I felt I’d penned in too much line detail, so now I grabbed a white signo pen and added highlights to the fur along the back and blended some of the ink into the yellow behind. I used it, smoothing out the gel ink with a finger, along the other two branches so the light would again lead the eye toward the face.

Did it all work?

Today is the 16th day of Inktober, where anyone who is interested is challenged to do an ink drawing every day! There are prompts: Jake Parker (founder of Inktober) has an official list, but many others have put out lists as well, including the usual set of prompts from Doodlewash.com.

The official Inktober Prompt List.

And the Doodlewash prompt list for the month.

Zebra Pen is joining the fun with a month-long challenge, giving you the chance to win $250 dollars worth of pen products! Just follow zebrapen_us and zebrapen_canada on Instagram, and when you post your Inktober drawing there, use the hashtags #zensationschallenge #Inktober2019 and #Inktober.

Tutorial – How to Draw an Oyster Shell


I’m going to be visiting family who couldn’t make it to Mom’s funeral, so I’ll be still be missing off and on for a while. When I’m done with the traveling back and forth, the last Weekly Wednesday Giveaways will be launched. It includes a copy of Alice Hendon’s new ‘Tangle Around the World’!

For now:

Pencil to Paint Tutorial

Artwork-Zebra Pen Metallic Brush Pens, and Uniball Signo White Broad pen in a Hahnemühle black book.

Reference photo courtesy of EliasSch on Pixabay.

Postcards for the Lunchbag – Today my hubby took a pearl in his lunch bag. Did you know that oysters are both male and female at different times of their lifecycle?

Pencil

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

The Doodlewash prompt was seashell. I thought an oyster with a pearl would be more interesting to draw with my metallic brush pens so that’s where I went.

I roughed in my oyster in pencil (scan contrast punched up to show – you don’t want to draw this dark).

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.

Pen

I used purple, copper, gold and silver metallic brush pens to capture the various shades and shadows of the oyster, knowing that I was going to cover much of it with white. I smudge the pearl with my finger to give a shimmer around the outside and applied more color after.

I scribbled my lines in circular motions to get the pitted look of the shell, smudging in some places, to let a little bit of the color underneath show through. That doesn’t show up well in the scan though.

Gel pen ink can take a few minutes to dry completely through, so I let the card sit for about 1/2 an hour before continuing.

Ballpoint pen does a good job of coloring over gel pen. The bad part is that you can clog the ballpoint and ruin it. For that reason, I use whatever cheapo promotional pens I happen to have lying around.

This card took a bit longer than most of my black paper drawings. Partly because I waited for the gel ink to set and partly because I layered a bit more than usual. Still – maybe 25-30 minutes drawing time.

Tools

(and where you can buy them)

Hahnemühle Black book

White Uniball Signo Gel Pens

Zebra Pen Metallic Brush Pens

Tutorial – How to Paint an Alebrije Mongoose


Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and Miya Solid Watercolors on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard.

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

Okay – this time I started out with the purpose of trying out a new set of paints, and the finished animal was really secondary. I knew I’d be fussing and experimenting and who knows what I’d get. For this reason, I decided to make my mongoose an Alebrije.

Alebrijes are a Mexican folk art, usually paper mache or wood carving. They are noted for their strange appearance, often being imaginary animals or a blend of two or three animals or just brightly colored abstract animals.

So, I didn’t have to worry about realism at all, and could concentrate on what the paint was doing.

Pencil

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

I kept my drawing simple. This was a big fluffy mongoose – essentially two round shapes with a couple of rectangular shapes for the legs. Eyes and nose were round. The ears were more free-form, but still had a circular arc, like a sliver of the moon.

Complex subjects can be harder to break down into such simple shapes, but they are there, and you’ll find it easier to draw it if you can identify as many of the shapes as you can. Start with the overall larger shapes – draw them first – and then drill down smaller until you have the level of detail you want.

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.

Pen

I wanted this painting to be about the color, so I kept my pen drawing to the outlines, a little bit of texture to show fur, and placing the stripes. In real life, this mongoose has a complex ticked fur, where each hair has bands of different color. I’ll probably go back some day and try for a more realistic approach.

Today, I’m all about the experiment!

This is a good way to learn how your tools perform, by the way. Since you are experimenting, you don’t worry as much if you totally screw up the finished product. You decide what tool you want to focus on – in this case, the paint – and you just don’t worry about anything else.

Paint

This actually ended up with more furry texture than I thought it would.

Let me introduce you to the paint I was trying. I’ll be doing a more intensive review after I’ve used these for a while. Miya Arts sent me one of their solid watercolor travel kits. The set is so cute, I just wanta hug it! You know I’ll be doing a thorough review, soon!

The colors got a little muddy, because I was mixing them pretty much at random, just to see what I’d get. In a way, I think that’s why the fur turned out with a more realistic texture even though the color is pretty wild.

I painted three layers – a base of lemon yellow blended with areas of medium yellow. When that dried, I added peach for the stripes and painted over the yellows in some areas for medium values. I added tehran(blue) for shadows.

The head didn’t seem to pop enough for me, so I grabbed the technical pen and darkened the lines around it, and finished off with a Uniball Signo pen for highlights on the fur.

I had fun and learned something, my mongoose looks happy, and I hope he brings you a smile!

Tools

And where you can buy them

Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcards (review).

MIYA Solid Water Colors Palette-18 Colors

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)