Painting a Surreal Sphynx Cat in Acrylics | Charlotte Jordan | Skillshare

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Painting a Surreal Sphynx Cat in Acrylics

teacher avatar Charlotte Jordan, Artist | Entrepreneur | Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Lesson 1: Background

    • 4. Lesson 2: Base Colour

    • 5. Lesson 3: Shading

    • 6. Lesson 4: Adding Colour

    • 7. Lesson 5: Eyes and Flowers

    • 8. Thank You

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About This Class

In this class I will show you step-by-step how I go about painting a surreal sphynx cat in acrylics.

Here is the reference photo that I used for this painting.


Meet Your Teacher

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Charlotte Jordan

Artist | Entrepreneur | Teacher



Charlotte Jordan is a Florida-based artist from England and an animal enthusiast. In her courses, she will teach a range of artistic skills that she has honed over the years as well as ways to market your pieces.

Her work explores the surreal and the beautiful. The animals she paints are often brought to life with her unique style and perception of the natural world. Felines are one of her favorite creatures to paint, but she loves to experiment and challenge herself and teach and inspire others to use their creativity.

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1. Introduction: Hi, My name is Charlotte Children. I am a self too cautious that lives currently in Florida. I've been painting for all my life ever since. Second. Really? Remember, They use a variety of different mediums and I like to experiment Waters Well, e see myself as a very creative off assist. I value creativity of everything else. You can say my work is very unique on different, sometimes in a sinister sometimes it's freaky and other times is beautiful. Card Lee. I have had a bit of a cat face on, so I've been really painting felines on experimenting with different concepts for this cloths that I am going to teach you. It is more four intermediate painters. It will be teaching you how to paint this. It's one of my more freak your works. You will be learning how to paint this thinks cab background, everything like that. It's your choice whether you want to include the flowers or perhaps put them in a different place. That's perfectly fine. So I hope you enjoy your time with me on Let's get painting 2. Supplies: for the supplies. For this class, we're going to be needing something to paint on. I'm gonna be using a 11 by 14 inch canvass board Something really easy, Cheap to come by. Andi. They are small enough to store. This is what we'll be painting our piece on today. I also have a jar full of water with three different brush sizes in. I have a large flat brush, a small detail brush and the angle brush, which I tend to use the most. Obviously, you're gonna need to be having some kind of palette to put your paint on, as well as a selection of paints that you can get a hold of paper towel is always rest have with you as well. Sometimes I use a second palette to put any overflow of paint mixes on there. One of the things I do recommend having if you're an artist working with thicker paints is a spray bottle with just water in. I find this is really useful for thinning down my paints or just giving them a quick spray over to keep them from drying out. Anything else? I do have a small desk easel, which I will put up here when I am ready to stop. Other than that to pretty much set to go a few simple things. The brand that I'm using for my paints is Castell or castle, if that is how you pronounce it. These are very cheap pains that they are very fast drying for acrylic, so just be warned about that. You can get many different kinds of brands that have thick comedian think of bodies that drive a bit slower for acrylics on. You can get many other works obstetrical work on wood, paper, canvas, etcetera, etcetera. Now that we've run through with the supplies, if I have forgotten something, I'll mention it briefly in the classes. But seeing as we are done with this, we can wrap it up. I will also provide the reference image of the cat that I am using for today, plus in the files blow so you can check that out and use that particular image. Andi, you can choose whether to add the flowers or not. If that is not your thing, 3. Lesson 1: Background: So for the background, which is what we're going to start with, you're gonna want to take some red and white paint and we're gonna mix them together to create a somewhat light pink. You want to completely fill the background with this pink color because we are going to be adding some textural elements to it, just to give the backgrounds and interest as well a separated from the Sphinx cat just because this piece is going to be quite a pale, pastel colored piece. And so we want something that's going to help define cat a little more from the background . So we will be adding in textures that again, if you don't want to include the flowers in the eyes, you can put them elsewhere on the body, or you don't have to include them whatsoever. I know I like to do a lot of freaky concepts that involve nature coming out of strange places on the body. So again, now we're gonna be taking our white paint on make sure brushes washed off really good here because we do want the white to show through. We're actually going to be whilst the background is still wet. would be putting the white and kind of blending it on top of that lonely going in and up and down motion to create this sort of streaky effect. And I want to be doing that all over the background. - The next color that I'm gonna be adding to the background is gonna be a very pale down blue. So again, you gonna be mixing white and blue together on We'll be doing a similar technique that we did with the whites were just gonna be adding in little Streak serve. It's just to give some interest the background, so it's not so boring, and we'll also help differentiate between the Spinks cats on and the background and where he starts Men's a little bit. So again, you want your background to still be wet, so the blue blends in with pink and white. But don't overdo the blue too much. Just want a hint of it, just so it helps given interest. Once you're happy with the pink in the blue and white streaks, you want to let this completely dry before the next step, which is going to be a whitewash when you do a whitewash. It's basically just heavily watered down white paint on, and I have specifically put some white paint in my palette for this, and I've also got a spray bottle, which are highly recommend getting It's just useful for keeping your paint's wet on door. So using four washes, which I often do so again, you really want a watered down some whites. Background needs to be completely dry before you do this, and you're literally just gonna be layering it over the background just to pale it down. This is gonna help us make it even more pastoral colored. And don't worry if the paint seems a little thick, just add more water on it will help dilute it. - And once you've finished with the whitewash again, you need to let this layer completely dry. Otherwise, it will mix in with your paints when you go to pay the cat. So that should be everything. For this little lesson, we were just doing the background, and now we will move on to the camp. One show background has dried 4. Lesson 2: Base Colour: now for this lesson, We're making sure our back has dried completely. We're gonna be moving on to the Spinks cat doing his base layers. So for this you'll need some white yellow and you're gonna need a brown of some highlanders using a raw hamburger. You're gonna be mixing mostly wide with brown and then a hint of yellow to give the color a little bit of warmth. You wanted to be a dark town. It doesn't matter too much how dark you go because you are gonna be painting on top of this . Now I am avoiding the wrinkles on the Spinks. I'm actually leaving little tiny gaps where the wrinkles are. So I confined them later on. And you'll I'll do that throughout the whole piece, so you'd be easy to distinguish where everything is. And don't worry if your Spinks looks too dark, it's perfectly fine for it to look really dark matter and one color. This is just the base color that we're doing here. And I'm actually leaving most of the inside of the ears pretty much white because gonna be doing something else with them later down the line. Once this layer has dry. You then going to be mixing the brown that you just used, or the town with some more white to create a lighter color. And you're gonna be going over the entire Spinks again. Again. Make sure you leave Those white lines say you can distinguish the wrinkles. Just paint over everything. Angle brushes, I often find are the better subject to use the tool to use. And you're actually gonna be going in sort of a motion downwards motion or in the direction of for So you have to think which way the for would be pointing. This is this thing's cat, I know, but they do have very, very short hairs or for on them they're not completely hairless. So keep that in mind. If you're going for a bit more realism, maybe she'll notice that I am painting in the direction that for would be facing. So once that layer has dried again, you're gonna mix even more white with your brown color that you've been using and you are going to be applying the next layer to him, which again you have gradually going lighter and lighter. When you're doing any animal, it's always best to work in layers so you can get a real sense of depth into their skin or their for or hair or whatever animal you are working on at that time. So we're gonna go lighter and gradually will start to see where the shadows and the highlights are going to sit. So now we're gonna be applying even lighter, with more white mixed into our brown paint that we've been using. As you noticed, with the ears I have ever so slightly expanded out in the center with the Slayer. Just give it that hint of color on the inside of the ear again, we will be going over that with a different paint just so we can get some color in there. But now you're gonna be adding lighter paints in the areas that you want to stop to make stand out. You may notice that whether wrinkles set some of the paint is starting to look naturally like shadows, which is a good accomplishment if that's what you're going for. And finally we're gonna be applying the lightest highlight picking and choosing a few areas to put the highlights. So the cheekbones, where the lips all mouth is top bridge of the nose, the forehead and a few of the wrinkles on the body, - and then you'll just go ahead and blend those out. - Now with the is I'm using this particular layer too heavily. Blend it in woods and almost like I'm painting, awash in the years just to give it its color. And it's kind of see through Look, we will be adding a bit of color to the inside of the years later on. It's just right now we're gonna be adding some of that light 10 just to give it some skin. And again keep on packing on lighter and lighter colors, highlighting the areas that would naturally be highlighted. Um, the areas that I mentioned cheeks, lips, that sort of thing, and it really, really helped to make your cap pop out more. - Apply the white, the inside of the ears to give it that translucent look that they have and just blended into the edges. And that should pretty much conclude everything for this class. We've got a good start with the base colors and the Spinks, its body and highlights that so he's really studying to come to life and pop out a little bit in the next class will be focusing on shading him in getting those wrinkles to really stand out a little as well. 5. Lesson 3: Shading: So now we're gonna be doing that shading for this. Gonna need some ivory, black or black paints. We're gonna be doing something similar with the whitewash that we did. I tend to water down my black a little bit, just so it's easier to shade and spread. I like to use my fingers a lot when I'm blending and using shading just cause I find that my fingers often just a better tool for blending in general. Um, I don't know if anyone else prefers that or if they prefer the brush, but by all means, one of your best tools is on you. So we're gonna be targeting the areas that would be the most shaded. So again shades on the lips. Pick a place on him that would be more shaded. So one side of his face will be lighter because the light is hitting it. So think about the light and shadow values and where it would be hitting him. One of the great things about watering down your paints on and being able to smoothly blend them like this is that if you do make a mistake, you can just get some more water and kind of rub it away on help blend it out a little more . It's just a little trick that I picked up of the years of painting with acrylics. So again, where all the wrinkles are, you can finally fill in those awkward white spots that still might be showing through. Following with black and blend them out is into a shadow. So as you can see, the painting is really starting to pop out at us. Don't forget to shade everything on the cat from the ears to surrounding eyes. Obviously, make sure the shading makes sense. You don't want toe make half the face completely dark where light would naturally hit it, Um, so you can see a particular area down there. That I'm shooting currently is very dark because it's underneath his chin and it is on the other side of this body's makes sense to put it there. So in the next Closs, we're gonna be actually adding a little bit of color to him, just to give him a bit of life 6. Lesson 4: Adding Colour: All right, so we're gonna be adding some color to him. First thing I want to do in this class, though, is get some pink on where you're gonna be painting his nose because going to be using the pinks, we might as well finish his nose while we're here. You're just gonna fill in the pink with sorry, filling the nose with pink, and then we'll shade that towards the end of this class, and I'm using the same pink that we used for background. Just so be easier be mixing. You have to do as well as just keeps it cohesive with the rest of the peace. Now you may notice looking at this things of a whole now it looks kind of dead. Looks kind of lifeless. So what I tend to do is I take pink. And because it's a sphinx, Sphinx is unnaturally pinky in color. They tend to have this sort of blood flow, like look to them. It just has this Rosie look about them, and so we want to achieve that same effect. So I walked her down the pink that we've been using, and I'm gonna be putting that throughout the Sphinx's body. And I'm also gonna be generously putting it within the ears just to give it, um or veiny looking that I would be roughly blending that just to give it a bit more a natural shaded effect. And again, pick and choose the places around the Sphinx to put this color highlight and you'll start to notice that he seems to come alive. That seems to be a bit more full of life rather than pale. Almost looks dead. Now you don't want to overdo it. It's very easy to overdo it. And you can. So just remember, pick only a few certain places. Andi, keep it very watered down very soft. On that way, it'll really help Give him some color. Another color that I like to include to give him some life with some yellow. So we're gonna be doing the same thing. Get a spray bottle, water it down, and then just pick and choose some places to put the yellow. And again, I like to use my fingers to blend a lot. So feel free to use that. And this will also help differentiate between the background from the Spinks, and it just makes him stand out quite nicely and gives a different kind of effect to his body. And now we're gonna shape the nose, and we're also going to darken up any of the areas of the shadows that we want to really make stand out. So around the nose, around the ears and even the eyes and some of the wrinkles underneath the chin and on the face. - So now I'm gonna be using my angle brush on. Where is she going to be? Using the very, very tip of it to create little spots where the whiskers would normally sit or come through . You want to keep this incredibly light incredibly delicate looking. You don't want to blotch the paint on you want to just lightly dab it on, creating a rough effect where whiskers on the cat would normally come through. And you want to do this on both sides. The little muzzle and you want to put a few sports here in that around the chin. And finally, don't forget to highlight the nose with a little bit of white to make it look kind of wet, kind of shiny. It just adds a bit of life to it and makes it look a little more realistic. And that should pretty much conclude everything for this class. We've added some color, some life to our cats on, so he's looking really good. The next class we'll be finishing him up with in concluding the eyes and if you want Teoh adding the flowers. 7. Lesson 5: Eyes and Flowers: All right, So now we are on the final phase of the painting. For this for the Aikawa, I'm actually going to be painting them green. I will be using two different colored greens a very light and favor ridean color. And you may also want to review your colors, maybe some reds, oranges, yellows for the flowers. If you do choose to include them, it's just starting off with the eyes. I'm gonna fill in the ice completely, using the lightest green. Just be careful around the edges on. We'll worry about shading towards the end of that. So now we filled them in with the lighter green. I'm taking the darker green, and I'm just creating little inflections around the pupils of the eyes. And this is just to give some texture and interest to the eyes and give them sort of the huge. Now we let the eyes dry would have focused a little bit on creating the flowers, and I'm starting off with green of stunning for the biggest flower, which is going to be sort of facing away from us at the back of the little cluster again. If you prefer to put these flowers elsewhere on the body or you don't have to paint them whatsoever. Then you could just skip apart to where we complete the eyes. If that is what you would prefer here , I'm just creating the base coat for the petals or be back flower. And then, once you have filled in all of the battles for that particular flower, you can then move to a darker red to add in some shading, having in little inflections of yellow to give it some interest in the petals. I'll also be going over the whole of flowers with a bit of white to lighten it up as the rest of the picture is pretty light. And then I am choosing different colors for each flowers, just giving it a variety of color. Andi interest and you can add as many flowers as you like. You can do them all the same if you want it, or you can do a variety like I'm doing, and I'm making my particularly colorful to make it sort of, ah, focal point of the piece we like. And his eyes will also act as the focal point of eyes often or referred to as the windows into the soul. Um, I guess that's one of the peculiar things about adding flowers coming out of the eyes of some people. Find that disturbing. Others don't mind it. Like I said, if you prefer to add it to a different part, body may be coming out of the ears or growing on top of the head. Or maybe he's biting onto a flower. Maybe they're growing around him. It is completely up to you if you would prefer to add it to another part of the body. So now I'm moving on to finishing up the eyes, but of shading. Um, it's again similar technique toe what we've been doing for most of the painting, putting on some watered down black and using my finger to spread it evenly and rub it in. - And don't forget to shade pretty much all around the I. You want to create this Solyndra of satirical. My apologies effect with it. Ni is a round shape, so you want to shade alleges of the island as well as the eyeball itself. Don't forget to add in the stems for the flounce as well as the pupils here. I'm just highlighting each the stems and petals be adding that whiter wash over the flowers to make them a little paler. And now we'll be adding in the pupils of the eyes, just using a simple black. We're just touching up some of the dark areas and sharpening the eyes. Just they really pop out of the peace. And now, for the finishing touch with the eyes will be adding in the highlights you want to add sort of a central focus, especially on the I. That hasn't got anything coming out of it. And then you want to add a little tiny highlights, sort of on the rim of the eye, where the eyelids would be shining. - So there is the central focus of that highlight. Then just add in. It's a tiny little spots here and there to really make it look alive, and that should conclude everything. For this class. You should have painted a beautiful Spinks cat with a warm pink background, and it is up to your choice if you'd like to include the flowers or not. So thank you so much for sticking around on watching. I like to finish my pieces using a black pencil. I just use them for the whiskers. Just sits much finer detail you can have in whiskers or not. It's up to you, but that is pretty much the finishing touch on the final thing that you need to do. 8. Thank You: so thank you all for sticking around and taking the class and taking the opportunity to learn a few more skills. I will be doing some future classes involving a lot more cats, and I'll also be teaching for textures, other acrylic basics as well as some water classes coming up.