Fur, Feathers, and Scales: Painting Animal Textures in Watercolors | Denise Soden | Skillshare

Fur, Feathers, and Scales: Painting Animal Textures in Watercolors

Denise Soden, Watercolor Artist & Content Creator

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15 Lessons (3h 24m)
    • 1. Class Overview

    • 2. Materials & Resources

    • 3. Demo: Short Fur

    • 4. Demo: Medium Fur

    • 5. Demo: Long Fur

    • 6. Demo: Body Feathers

    • 7. Demo: Wing Feathers

    • 8. Demo: Small Scales

    • 9. Demo: Defined Scales

    • 10. Class Project: Fox (Part 1)

    • 11. Class Project: Fox (Part 2)

    • 12. Class Project: Flamingo

    • 13. Class Project: Snake (Part 1)

    • 14. Class Project: Snake (Part 2)

    • 15. Final Thoughts

106 students are watching this class

About This Class


It can be difficult to create the illusion of fur, feathers, and scales while still retaining that inherent ethereal quality found in watercolors. With this medium, I don’t aim for photorealism, as I personally feel other mediums lend themselves better to that style. Instead I prefer to find a balance between including enough details for the subject to read as a real animal while still letting the watercolors do their own thing.

In this class, we will:

  • Explore painting various lengths of fur
  • Practice painting different types of feathers
  • Learn to paint both soft and defined scales
  • Create 1-3 class projects implementing each of these textures

Strongly Recommended Prerequisite: Mastering Water Control: Harness the Power of Water in Watercolors

Cotton Watercolor Paper (Arches 140lb Cold Press)
Watercolor Brushes (Silver Black Velvet, Round Size 8 and Size 4)
Watercolor Paints (Denise's Earth Friendly Da Vinci Watercolor Palette)
Two Containers for Water
Reusable Rag or Paper Towels
Pencil & Eraser

Kneaded Eraser (optional)
Mounting Board & Masking Tape (optional)
Light Tablet (optional)
White Gouache (optional)

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The Da Vinci link is also an affiliate link in which a small percentage of the sale goes to support me as a working artist without costing you more. Thank you for your support!

*** Additional Resources for Practicing Watercolor Skills ***
Mastering Water Control: Harness the Power of Water in Watercolors by Denise Soden
How to Draw & Paint Animal Eyes in Watercolor by Denise Soden
Watercolor Workout: 14 Days of Drills to Advance Your Skills by Jen Dixon

*** Additional Resources for Painting Fur ***
Loose stylistic fur: Watercolor Fox - Adding the Element of Texture to your Watercolor Paintings by Louise De Masi
Painting Fur in Watercolor | Add Texture to Your Pieces by Erin Kate Archer

*** Additional Resources for Drawing and Painting Birds ***
The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds by John Muir Laws (Book)
Understanding Bird Anatomy with Mary Sanche (YouTube)
Drawing Animals: From Anatomy to Rendering by Geoffrey Jacobs
Painting a bird in flight: Hummingbird: Watercolor Workout by Anna Bucciarell
Painting stylistic birds: Watercolor Birds by Amarilys Henderson

*** Additional Resources for Drawing Reptile Scales ***
How to Draw Scales in Pen & Ink with Alphonso Dunn (YouTube)
Panther Chameleon by Sarah Newbury (YouTube)

All music sourced from ArtList.io and is listed in lesson order.
1 Next to You by Michael Shynes
2 Are You There by Michael Shynes
3 The Sea and The Moon by Ben Noble
4 Next to You by Michael Shynes
5 Marigolden by Michael Shynes
6 Illuminate by Sunday Night Syndrome
7 Like Paper Planes by Michael Shynes & Daughter by Ben Noble
8 Are You There by Michael Shynes
9 Kindness Courage by Kolby Knickerbocker