Painting Fur in Watercolor | Add Texture to Your Pieces | Erin Kate Archer | Skillshare

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Painting Fur in Watercolor | Add Texture to Your Pieces

teacher avatar Erin Kate Archer, art & illustration

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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

    • 1.

      painting fur in watercolor


    • 2.



    • 3.

      fur studies | short & coarse


    • 4.

      fur studies | long & coarse


    • 5.

      fur studies | short & soft


    • 6.

      fur studies | long & soft


    • 7.

      fur studies | black


    • 8.

      fur studies | white


    • 9.

      fur studies | patterns


    • 10.

      bending fur around a form


    • 11.

      walkthrough | bunny portrait


    • 12.



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About This Class

learn to paint realistic fur in watercolor and add convincing texture to your animal pieces! in this class, we'll learn how to paint multiple types of fur -- soft, coarse, short, and long, as well as trickier types of fur colors like black, white, and patterned. we'll review how to bend fur around any form you'd like and i'll walk you through an animal painting from start to finish. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Erin Kate Archer

art & illustration


erin kate archer is a new york-based artist & illustrator with an ethereal, magical style. her work aims to calm, comfort, and transport. from immersive fairytale landscapes and glowing high-key celestial pieces, to charming flora & fauna and children’s book illustrations – erin makes what was once a static image a tranquil visual journey. 


erin has illustrated children's picture books; was selected for the sing for hope NYC piano painting project; is a skillshare top teacher, and has created work for a number of consumer brands. 


follow along with her on instagram, check out her portfolio for some finished projects, and visit her etsy shop to purchase prints... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. painting fur in watercolor: Welcome to painting fur and watercolor. In this class, we'll learn to paint realistic fur and a convincing texture to your watercolor animal pieces. In this class, we'll learn how to paint multiple types of fur; soft, course, long and short, as well as triggered types of fur colors like; black, white and patterned. All of you had a bend fur in any form you'd like and I'd walk you through it ether and animal painting from start to finish, so you're able to apply those skills to an actual piece. 2. supplies: Let's talk supplies. You're going to need of course; water, paper towels, paper. In this case, I'm using the Canson XL watercolor paper. It's my general everyday paper really good for studies, pretty inexpensive and has nice texture and is pretty decently thick. For brushes, I'm using the silver brush limited round brush size eight and a tiny triple zero brush for detailing refer. I've also been known to use a nail art brush if needed for these extra fine details. I also have a white gel pen for highlights. For paints, I am using the Prima watercolor. That core six palettes, it's a nice handy little palette. Has a good selection of basic colors and I definitely recommend it for beginners and for intermediate artists. 3. fur studies | short & coarse: Now we're going to do some studies of the different kinds of fur. I would recommend if you are comfortable with it to stick with one color. I'm going to use black. I know it's not exactly accepted in the water color community, but I feel like it's a really good way to get a handle on how you're looking at value, while not having to worry about if you're mixing up the right color. Of course, have the references for you in the class description, and you're welcome to tape up your sheet like I did, or do it your own way. To start, we're going to work on course short fur. We need a coarse short, coarse long, soft short, soft long, and then a few more difficult aspects of painting for different colors, and different patterns. Starting out, you have to do your base color. I'm going to wet my paper with mostly clean water, I might use clean water if I wasn't filming this, but helpful for you to see, and then you can see the way the fur is pointing, it's making this downward motion, so we want to make sure all of our color strokes go that direction. I'm going to start and I'm going to just start blocking in my values, and you can start off with a flat wash of gray, and then let paint pour where it is or add darker bits of color where you see shadows in the clumps of fur. With coarse fur, we're going to focus on having slightly bigger strokes when we get to doing the detail. Also, it will clump together more. Instead of being soft and fluffy, you'll have little aspects of it where they're clumped together, and create their own shadows, and their own little typographies. We'll let this dry, and then we'll come back and do our next layer. At this point, you can see I've got some of the differences in the texture, which is great for fur. We don't want it to be too uniform, we want it to look natural. I'm going to go in again with a lot of water in my paint, so it's still pretty light, add in more of these shadows where the coarseness has bundled up. You don't need to worry about making your edges too hard right now, you can always go in with water by itself, and soften these up. Just make sure your brush is clean or mostly clean, we're going to blend these in. If you're doing really stylized work, you could probably stop right after this step. Really has the suggestion of fur already, so you wouldn't need to go through all of the detailed steps that take the most time if you're making something like a comic, or simple illustration, all you need is the suggestion of fur. But in this class, we're going to go through how to make your fur look as detailed as possible. Again, I'm making sure to keep going in the correct direction, always going in the direction of the fur. This paint here is drying out a little bit so I'm going to add a little bit more, soften out all those edges. Just remember that watercolor dries a lot lighter than it looks when it's wet so even though, this part looks a lot darker than here, it's actually going to dry probably similar in value, it's just that it is still wet. We're starting to see where our lights and darks are, and there are those that are not exactly following the reference if you are really want to be hyper-realistic, you could go zoom in and do each square inch exact same as the picture. But I feel like it makes more sense to let it be a little bit more natural, and let some areas be a little bit more detailed and less detail. That's the beauty of watercolor rather than doing photography. I'm just doing the same exact thing and I am using now the tip of my brush a little bit more, so that I'm getting thinner strokes. Starting to build up the detail. Keeping those same darker areas. I'm just trying to stay away from that area that is still wet, so I don't get any bleeding which is when some of the paint paper is still wet, then you add some more paint on top of that and you get a splotch of pigment that doesn't fit your piece. This point, I'm going to let it dry again, and I'll do one more layer of just using the tip of my large brush before we start doing the details. Oh, another thing that is really important is I am trying to focus on blurring away the base of the fur, so if the fur is going in this direction, then rather than blurring the whole stroke, I'm just blurring where it would attach to the skin. Sorry if that's gross. This gives us the appearance that is blending in as it goes inwards towards the animal rather than just being a blurry blotch of pigment. With watercolor, you generally work light to dark, and for fur, we are going to do that though we are going to rely a little bit on using white gouache, white ink over the top, just because it really adds something. You could try to save all of those whites using masking fluid, but in my opinion, it really never looks quite as nice as when you add a little bit of white gouache on top. I'm going to do one more layer using the tip of my brush, going the same direction, focusing on those same areas where there's a little bit more shadows, then I'm going to blend at the base. Really, the key to painting fur is doing lots of layers, making sure things are the correct wetness or dryness depending on what you want, and it's a really patients game. I guess that can be set for all of watercolor, but I feel like it in fur, it's particularly relevant. As you can already see that we've got some nice texture going on here, I'm trying to avoid going having the tip of my fur bleed in here so I'm going to just take a wet brush and I'm going to stamp that out. At this point, once I have blended all these bases, I think we're going be ready to move into our smaller brush and I'm going to use that tiny, I think it's a triple zero, and we will get a little bit darker here. Again, you want to make sure it's dry before you start moving into details. Now that we're working with this tiny brush, we are going to make sure that we are doing short strokes. Every stroke you make should be about the same length because the fur is going to be more or less the same length depending on the animal but definitely not a reference picture. I am going to go and make tiny hair strokes across this whole section. It's really best if you start at left to right if you're right-handed and vice versa, so you don't smudge. I did not follow that advice. So I'm going to try to do that correctly this time. When I reach sections that I darkened up like right here, I'm going to try to have that, my paint water wheel a little bit more pigmented so that I can communicate that bundle of fur. If you get any strokes that are too thick like right here, I've really got a little lazy, I'm just going to take my paper towel and I'm going to dampen it up, and basically, erases it. I'll let that dry before I go back in and redo my strokes, but it's pretty forgiving especially when you're working very quickly. We're working up the detail, and the depth at the same time. Just making sure that we're covering the entire surface area of hair strokes, but also keeping in mind, where it's meant to be darker, and where we want to use a lighter hand. You don't need to use black for these studies, if you wanted to, you could do each one of these in every color of the rainbow, I just think it really helps to do just one color. At least for each of them. Because it really lets you focus on creating the right shapes and the right values versus having all of the fun of mixing my colors. These are just studies, so they're not meant to be like perfect, or even pretty if you don't want them to be, it's not something you should have to worry about posting these on Instagram, it's like for your learning. If you want to post them on Instagram, they are something fun that people love to see progress. But don't feel like you need to have your studies be a finished piece. I'm also tapering my strokes on both ends, so if we think about an eyelash, it's really thin, and then it thickens up tiny bit in the middle and then tapers out again. It gives the fact that it's tapered at the end but also that it's fading into the fur patterns. Once you have all of your tiny first, you're going to want to go back in and deepen up some of the areas for the clumps again, just about building up the value. I'm mixing up paint with a little bit less water, so that I get a darker color, and creating those clumps. Again, making sure I'm always going in the direction of the fur. If you feel like your lines are getting a little too harsh, don't worry about it. First of all, we know it'll dry a little bit lighter but if it still looks a little harsh to you, you can always go in with your larger brush, and a little bit of water or do a glaze of another color. I am just blurring out any extra hard edges here, then I'll let this dry and will come to the fun part, which is the highlights. For the highlights, I'm actually going to use the white gouache, I squeeze my white gouache to this little palette here, I am going to add some water, just to make it a little bit more liquidity, and so for the coarse fur, we do want to build up the width of the fur itself as part of the reason why it looks a little more coarse so I'm going to go right over my sections with the darkest values to highlight where the light is touching on these thicker hairs. This helps bring everything altogether. I'm making those same exact strokes, little eyelash strokes, tapered at either end, I'm letting some of my first completely overlap my darker areas so that we're all unified together. You'll see that some of my strokes when they start getting too dry, they skip a little bit and they are a little bit more greeny, sometimes that can work in your favor, looks like the hairs has a little bit of light bouncing off of it and it's shimmering, which can actually be really nice effect if that's what you're going for. Just experiment with the amount of water, you're adding to your gouache and what effect you're going to get. I'm not being shy about the gouache either. Gouache is really different than watercolor in the ways that it dries if the color is light, it often dries darker. I'm not worrying too much if the white seems to be a little bit harsh. Just like with watercolor, if I make a mistake, I can dampen my paper towel and rub it away. Here we have our coarse short fur. You can see how it's bristly, we have those areas of the fur that have bundled together, and just stuck together, maybe it's a little mattered and not super soft, and lot of great texture here. 4. fur studies | long & coarse: Next we're going to look at long coarse fur. I actually recommend you start with pencil when you're doing fur like this just because it can be so wild and all over the place, and just sketching out a few areas where you can see the length of these toughs, and how that managed to get their. This has to be perfect, and you should do it really lightly. If you are worried about your pencil line showing through, you can also go over with the eraser, so it's just the hint of the pencil remaining. I'm just going through here and sketching out some wild toughs like our reference picture. Looking at a reference picture, you can see that the hair is no longer just going in one direction, but it's coming up and out. When the hair is long and coarse, it tends to be a little more sticky [inaudible].[BACKGROUND]. Now I've got my general outline. I'm going to take my eraser and just lightly smudge it out. Just a little bit of that remains. You might not even be able to see that on camera, but I can just barely see it in my actual paper. I'm going to go back in with our black, mix up a wash of color. I am going to start laying in a whole flat color. At this point, you might not be able to see your pencil at all. Once the watercolor dries, you can generally see it a little bit more. It's really important that you make sure your watercolor is going to either cover, or you are not going to be able to see your pencil lines, because once you watercolor over it, you can resend it it blocks it in. I'm going to let this dry and then I'll come back in with our next layer. I'm using basically the same mix of water to pigment as I did for the wash, and just blocking out my shapes in the same way that I do with pencil. If you can't follow your pencil lines exactly, don't worry about it. As long as it looks natural and flows, that's more important than having an exact replica of what you're painting. You also want to make sure that your lines are in the exact same place everywhere, just because it doesn't look natural when they're parallel lines and too much order in something as natural as hair. I'm also layering my line width, even though we're starting just on the base here. Sometimes I'm doing small strokes that look more like the detail pieces of fur, and sometimes I'm doing it a bit larger and boulder to act more as the shadow. You can basically follow your reference picture for direction on that. These studies are also a really good exercise on taking license with your reference photos. I'm not copying each line exactly, just going through and taking what I need from each one to get the overall feel of each type of fur that we're looking at. You can see already how we've gotten some nice patterns going on, and already a lot of good texture. Instead of waiting for each layer to dry, I'm just going to keep going and building up my layers. Because by the time I make it from left to right, I generally have had enough time for this left side to dry, so I can add more here. I'm leaving some of these areas, the original wash as our base. Now that I've done two layers here of these bolder strokes blocking in all of our shapes, I can either start with my smaller brush or use the tip of my larger brush and then do the latter. Just adding some more detail around those darker edges. Again, making sure my strokes are fairly uniform, and in length, we don't want a bunch of tiny short hairs that wouldn't fit in. I'm just flushing out anywhere that there's not any detail with the very tip of my brush. I think that we're looking pretty good here. I would recommend that if you are worried about going to light, when you were working with the white gloss, you can always mix it up a little bit of your pigment to just give it a little bit of a pasty, rather than using straight white itself. Because it can be easy to go overboard with straight white. This can give you a little bit more layering abilities while keeping everything, and the same color family without adding in this harsh whites. It really depends on the colors you're using and how light the fur you're drawing is. Just a tip. I'm focusing my opaque color right alongside of these darkest areas, so that you can really tell where it's supposed to be receding or like throwing shadow. Here we have some coarse long fur. 5. fur studies | short & soft: For my personal favorite, we're going to the short so far, this is perfect for painting rabbits, and squirrels, and all things cute and fuzzy. I'm going to do the same thing as we did in the first two, and make a wash of color here. You can see in the reference photo I chose for you that there is a little bit extra shadows here, that's because I couldn't find a photo that was large enough for me to match the dimensions of the rest of the references without showing a little bit of like bunny tummy in there. I'm going to really ignore that a little bit more like these creases down here, and just focus on making just a few shadows here and there, instead of trying to show how the first bending or on the body, because we're going to look at that later. But I'm going to start with my brush and some darker pigment, and just block those areas in, just using the tip of my brush, because we're going to stick with short strokes this whole time. Then I'm going to go in with a clean brush or at least cleanish, maybe a little bit payment on it and blend those out, so that we can see where our shadowy parts will be. We want to blend those out until there's no harsh edges, and let this dry. All right, now we're going to get into it. Get your tiny brush, mix up the same level of black. We're a little bit darker, if you'd like, and settle in because we are just going to do hundreds and thousands of just tiny little hair-like strokes. Same as we did for the course, making that [inaudible] shape. We're just going to cover this whole thing, I was going in the direction of the fur. These hairs are a lot finer than our previous studies because they're softer, [inaudible]. Make sure you're trying to paint with your whole elbow, not with just your hand, because this is just begging for some carpal tunnel. It's something that I personally struggle with. If you notice me doing that, do as I say, honestly I do. You should be able to overlap. Your strokes. Don't make solid lines of each because that looks pretty unnatural. See, you'll see that occasionally I'll go back and cover up any areas that look to uniform, or it looks you sparse. You can see already we're starting to get a little bit of softness in here. At this point, I would go in with another layer of all these fine furs, and just make sure that I've filled in everywhere that ever has a little bit of detail to it, fill in any areas that are looking sparse, maybe add a couple hairs that are darker, and then I'll add a couple of hairs that are lighter mixed with gouache. Keeping it soft, we're not going to use any pure white on this piece, because these individually first don't stick out as much as their course wants do. I would let all my hairs dry before I go on with my second layer. But since this is taking me so long to make my way across the piece, these hairs in this section are already dry so I don't have to wait, or use my hairdryer or anything. You might find that if you don't wait, you will accidentally lift up previous hairs. Make extra work for yourself. It's helpful if you can like work on one whole section. If you're working, say like on the face, you can do the whole face, and then while you're waiting for the first layer of the face dry, move on to [inaudible] or whatever. Now I'm going to go in with some lighter, first with a little bit, of gouache for the opacity. Add that in for a little more depth. You can see in this corner right here, I have no detail because I accidentally dropped some water, so I'm just going to let that completely dry. I'm going to blot out any paint that will come up and then I will add over the detail again on top of the dry paint. We're going to let this dry completely. Now for the fun part, we're going to take a little bit of our base for color. In this case, we're still using the black, we don't want any gouache in these specs. We want a nice transparent color, and a lot of water, and we're going to do just a thin glaze of color. This will smooth the fur out slightly, making it look a little softer, unify all of the values that we've created and take the shape a little bit darker overall. If you are happy with the overall value, you can also just use pure water. I'm taking just a thin black glaze, and unifying all these colors. Make sure you're still going in the direction of the hair when you're applying your glaze. Once we have this dry, we can see how effective it is, at showing how soft is for us. We have our nice smooth software here, at this point, you could go back in and add a little bit more of white wash just to make sure you have some nice bright highlights. You can rely on your reference picture to let you know if you really feel like you need to do this, but I think we've got some nice softness here and I'm pretty happy with this one. 6. fur studies | long & soft: Okay, our last regular first study we've got our soft long fur, and we're going to be doing this basically in the same way that we did the short fur, but with longer strokes. So I'm gonna start out with a black wash gray. So one difference I am going to start when this is still wet to add in some of those areas where it's a little darker and you've got shadows from the larger furs. Doing it while it's wet will let you have really soft edges. If you prefer to have a pencil sketch ahead, you can do it just like you did for the long course fur. But I figure since this is just a study, I can mark out my hairs with the paint. If you got an area that's already starting to dry. Just take your brush and have it be just full clear water and blur out the edges. I want everything to be nice and soft. Now that it's dry, you know the drill. I'm going to go in with my larger brush and just use the tip and create long strokes focusing the darker areas where I've already created a little bit of darkness in the value and making sure that I follow the direction of the hair throughout the whole piece. You can see I've lost my detail right here, much in the same way as the short hair, the short soft fur. So I am going to go ahead and let this completely dry and then add that detail back in. That's good as new. I'm just going to continue this way until I'm happy with the level of detail. Now that this is completely dry, I'm pretty happy with the value that I have here and I don't really want to darken it up anymore. So I'm gonna do my unifying wash to make it look extra soft but in pure water. Since we already have some pigment on the paper, some of it will lift up and unify things together but we won't be adding any extra color. Once dry we have beautiful, long soft fur. 7. fur studies | black: Now it's time for some of the more fun and difficult furs. We're going start off with black. I would recommend you mix your own black in this case, just because it really makes a difference as far as luminance goes. I'm going to mix it like a burnt sienna and a navy. This in equal parts, maybe leaning a little bit more towards blue, will give you a nice rich black. But I'm not going tell anyone if you just use the straight up black like we did in the first studies. Not sure if this is picking up on camera, but you can really tell the difference between these two blacks. I am going to be leaving the highlights upon the paper. Just the white of the paper and filling everything else in with my black mixture. You can also, if you want to not mix up your own black, but maybe add a little bit of personality to a black that you're already using. You can add a little bit of blue into a black that you already have. Once I have this, I am going to get a clean brush, a lot of water, and I'm going to rub away those harsh edges. I recommend you leave this to dry naturally. If you use a hairdryer on something so wet, you're going to really move the pigment around. At this point clearly we need another layer, so I'm going to mix up another round of black and this time have it lean a little bit more towards blue. Cooler black for a little bit more shadowy aspect of this fur. I'm going to just go over the same exact places. Repeat the whole pattern all over again. With a wet brush, softening out those edges, and then I'll let dry. At this point, if I was painting something that is far away, I would probably just stop here to be honest. I have my nice highlights and once you had the shape of the animal itself, you would really be able to tell what it was and it would read as fur. But since we're doing studies, I'm going do it like I was doing something really close up like a face or something. I'm just going take that same exact black, and I am going to add furs, making sure to not turn my highlight areas completely black. Just extending black fur into our highlight areas so they read as fur. Something great about painting black fur is that you really don't have to do anything in the shadowy areas because it wouldn't show up and it would just look overworked if you'd added further. I have read that a lot of times black animals don't get adopted because they don't photograph well, which is really sad. But it really does make sense that you can't see how beautiful black fur is in-person. Now that my paint has dried out a little bit and I have a lighter black on my brush, I am bringing that all the way through this light section. Here we have some black fur. If you're not happy with the depth, you can always take a black and do a wash to unify everything like we've done in the previous ones, but I'm pretty happy with how dark this is. 8. fur studies | white: Now we're going to do white fur. Something that you want to make sure is that you have a clear water source. So if you've been painting for a while, you've been doing all these studies and your water is all muddy, take the time now to change it, because we are going to be working with really light colors. The first thing I'm going to do for my white fur, is do a little wet on wet under painting. You can see in my reference picture I have left the edge here open. That is because the contrast is really what helps things read as white. If you're interested in more painting white in watercolor, I actually have a class all about that so be sure to check that out. I'm going to start with some opalescent colors. I'm going to make a really watered down yellow and wet that. Go across the page and do the same with a pale pink and a pale blue. Clearly not all of these colors are readily appearing in my reference picture, but it's something that if you're working from life, you can really see how white fur isn't made up of just a few colors, and it makes a big difference to add a little bit more life into your fur. So at this point when it's still wet, I'm making sure right here is still wet, I'm going to go in with a dark color. I'm just going to use this dark navy. I'm going to let that bleed into my white fur. So this wet on wet gives me the really nice soft edge that reads as a few furs just poking out. This is another situation where you'd really rather let this dry by itself, rather than using a hairdryer. If you have any pooling of the color and you're worried it's going to get too far into your painting, you can just take a dry brush and map it up a little bit. We are going to refine that later, so don't worry if it looks a little messy. So you can see now that our piece is dry, those opalescent colors have really blended in, and we have nice under-painting to work with. Our next step is to really take a look at your reference. Sometimes you might want to use for your shadows like a buff titanium or just like a gray tan, or maybe just a straight-up gray, or maybe you use a really cool gray. In this case, we have a warm thing going on, so we're going to use a grayish tan. I'm mixing burnt sienna with a little bit of navy blue. I'm going to water that down quite a lot, and use that for my detailing of all these shapes. You want to make sure you don't go overboard when you're painting white, it's really easy to make it look muddy. Once I've got a few strokes in here, I'm going to start blending them out at the base. We're just going to make sure that we're always going in the right direction so that we are suggesting fur even when it's just moving around some of the pigment that is basically like dirty water. It has a lot of similar qualities to the black fur. We don't want to show every single fur because of the highlights, it's going to blow it out and just be pure white. Animal fur is usually not pure white. Generally there is a gray hint or a tan hint to it. We're just going to do that one layer, and then I'm going to go in with my tiny brush and my gouache. In this case I'm going to use the pure white gouache. You can tint it down if your fur requires it. This is the most fun. I'm going to go and detail out this break in between the background and the fur. So I'm just making the same. I love shapes. I'm bringing it out into the background, so we have a clear delineation of where the fur starts and where the background starts. Then I'm going to take that same gouache and add a few more furs. This can help tone down any shadows that are too dark that you may have added as well. Another cool technique you might see when painting white, is that rather than using white gouache, which can be frowned upon with serious watercolors, people will take either white masking fluid, but the one I'm interested in in the most is they'll make this break here, and then they'll take an X-Acto knife or a thin blade and scratch out pieces of the background so that you have just the white paper showing through. A lot of interesting techniques for creating whites in watercolor, but I see no issue with using white gouache. At this point we've got something nice and fluffy. You can definitely tell that it's meant to be white fur. 9. fur studies | patterns: For our last study, we are going to do spots and markings. Here I have like a nice cheetah pattern for you. We're going to start out with our lightest color. Our base color is going to be the yellowy orange, not the black of the spots because in black color we worked like dark. I'm mixing up just some burnt sienna with that, some orange to get a nice cheetah color and making that a whole panel orange. I'm not taking too much care for how smooth this is going to be because we're going to be painting over a little quite a bit. I'm still trying to go in the general direction of further. Well, it's still wet, I'm going to add some of my black, that same burnt sienna naming mixture. I'm going to dot it in, where my spots are. This will help it blend in a little bit better. We have some spots that are showing up with hard edges. Don't worry about it. We will blend in later and sometimes it's nice to have a little bit of that variety. You can see here my black is really skewing more towards this orange color, which is good for unifying them together. I've got all of my colors. I am going to actually take my tiny brush and I'm going to feather them in, moving it in and out, so that it looks like some of the light colors are bleeding into the dark and vice versa. It's good to work quickly when you're doing spots, if you're doing a larger surface area and obviously right now we're just doing these tiny studies. You may want to do a section at a time just to make sure that you are able to move your paint around. You can always re-wet your paper or just the section you're working on if needed. Of course there's tons of different types of patterns you could do. This general method works pretty well. No matter what the pattern is like, you do the same exact thing if you're making stripes or if you're making different spots. But obviously if you are painting something that has longer for, you would blend this technique with what we did previously with the long fur, adding more spots for shadows. That is starting to look pretty realistic like fur. The next step for us is to add some more texture to the orange sections, because right now they're mostly just around the spots themselves. I'm going to take a mixture of my black and my orange color and detail that. Same deal as when we did the soft short fur. I'm just going to get into it. Tons and tons of little eyelash strokes. You cannot take too much care about bleeding into the spots because it'll unify them together, and also adding that extra layer will darken up, those furs just a tiny bit. Now we have quite a few tiny hairs. I'm going to do the same thing. Another layer of this, add a little bit more detail, and then also add some white gouache and add some highlights as well. Now lets try this and see that that my spots could stand to have a little bit more detail. I'm going to mix up a little bit more depth of value. I'm going to mix up some more black and add in some more black first on top of these. Before moving onto, you'd find them. Especially in these areas where I had some a little bit too much water and I've got some water spots. I can really cover those up with little bit of extra furs. Now we're going to do our unifying layer and I'm going to mix up a transparent orange, like the color we used for the base and add lots and lots of water because we don't want too much extra color. Just want everything to one together and I am going to cover the whole surface with that color still going in the correct directions. It looks like my piece wasn't quite dry. I thought had left enough time. But I've like blended all of the detail that we did before, which is a shame. But that's okay. I will let this dry and we can just add the details back in. I'm going to, while this is still wet, I will add in some more of the black and I will do it over, the parallels of not being patient. You can overwork your paper if you add too many layers onto it. But again, these are for studies, so I'm not too concerned about that. I'm just scratching in these hairs. Again, if you're working from something further away, you might just leave it at this section where the black spots are leading into the colored fur, rather than adding all of the extra detail. I can feel myself starting to get a little lazy and little haphazard, so rather than overworking this, I am going to leave it and I'm going to come back in a little bit and do my beautifying glaze on and try to avoid making the same mistake twice. I'm back and I'm a little paranoid, but I'm going to do my unifying wash. I'm just going to be mixing up that same orangey brown. Just another note that the unifying wash can also be a good way to darken up your piece or shift the color slightly, so if you feel like your piece is leaning a little too warm, you can have a blue tinted wash to cool it down or mix up a darker wash to really make everything darker blend together. Here we go. Everything blended altogether, doing a soft wash. Once dry we will have some nice unified spotty fur. 10. bending fur around a form: Now, we're going to look at bending our fur around a form. I have just a couple of simple shapes here. I encourage you to do whatever shapes you can think of. It's really helpful to maybe start here and then to just evolve your skills and use every shape imaginable. To start out, we've got our circle, and we've got this wave, and then we've got a fold. These are really helpful because once you can wrap fur around these shapes, you can use them to build up other shapes to create your animals. Circle is probably the most important. You can use this as a basis for a belly or a head or maybe even components of the head depending on the kind of animal. If you're thinking that you have a cat, would have two circular shapes around their nose to create where the whiskers go. There's got to be a name for that part of the body, but I'm not sure what it is. But once you can wrap fur on that shape, you can use it to make all sorts of things. To start out, I encourage you to go and make arrows in the direction of the fur. Obviously with the circle, we're just going to go this way depending on the kind of animal you're drawing, it might be different. But in this exercise we're just looking at how fur can move around a shape. We're mimicking the shape, the band here. This could be maybe a tail or some other part that is floppy like a dog's ear that might bend around the form. Then here we have a fold so that the folds of skin wrinkles, that sort of thing. So we've got straight, curved, straight. I'm just using a Micron pen here, you can use whatever you want. For the next row, I'm going to start making my shapes, and making sure that they are curved in the same direction as my arrow there and just start filling it in with fur strokes. This will help you build up your muscle memory so that when you get to watercolor, you have a basis there. I'm just making sure that even without my base layer, you can tell it this is meant to be 3D and round. Then we're going to do the same here. We're going to start with more perpendicular strokes, nice and straight. Then as we move down, the strokes will bend along with the piece. Again, really important here to draw with your whole arm, not your wrist. Now for the fold, we're going to again follow our arrows starting out with nice straight strokes. Then bending our strokes once we get here, and straight strokes again. You can see now how even with no base layer, you can see how each of these are meant to be 3D. Next we're going to go in with our paint. I am going to mix up that same black again, and I'm going to do my base layers. For this piece, for the circle here, just make a shadow on one side pretending my light source is coming in this direction. Since this piece is bent away, I'm imagining that the shadow will pull more where it is curved away. Similar thought here. Since this is pushed up, I'm imagining it will be hitting the light a bit more. We'll let this dry and then we'll come back and we will do our fur. I'm going straight in with my tiny brush because these shapes are so small. But our next step is basically to do very similar as we did with the pen. I'm just mixing up a shade of that black and I'm going to create tiny hair-like strokes following the same direction with that muscle memory I've started building up, and build my way down the shape. Then for the next shape, I'm going to follow the same steps. Depending on what kind of fur you want to do, you can always switch up your strokes. If you're about to start a big piece, I recommend creating some shapes and practicing the type of fur you're going to be painting, whether it's short or long or soft or course, and just getting a feel for how the fur bends around shape before you jump in and have to apply it to anatomy and to all of those other skills that you need in addition to painting fur. When you're doing this detail work as well, you might find the opportunity to dig deepen up shadows where you feel fit it's appropriate. If you brighten in this fold over here, it would probably be a little bit darker. While I'm in here, I'm going to add a little bit of darkness there. You can build up to as much detail as you want to make sure that your piece seems realistic as possible. I'm going to add a little bit more to the areas that I have in shadow so that those hairs are a little bit darker even on top of their darker background. I'm going to add a few highlights strokes with my white gel pen. If you were, for example, doing a dog's ear here, it's really nice to have a nice line of highlights you can see. Especially if you're doing a black dog, sometimes that's the only thing that you can get shape is with a highlight. So it's really nice to have some nice pop of white and a contrast to show the shape of the fur. Here we have bent pieces of fur. This may seem like a silly exercise, but it's one that was really helpful to help you develop your skills and your muscle memory. You'll be able to use these as building blocks to creating all different types of work. 11. walkthrough | bunny portrait: Similar to how we looked at the direction of the fur really closely with the fur bend studies, I am going to do the same here. This is the picture I'm going to be using for our walk-through piece of my little Bunny. So I'm just going to go through and draw arrows in the direction of the fur, for each section you would see up his nose, of course, it's all going straight up. Then the cheeks going out to the side and chin going down. Of course there's nothing really surprising here. You might be able to guess which direction the fur is going, but when you're in the thick of it and you're working on the painting and you're looking at it really close up, it can be helpful to have this study in hand and maybe even reference it if you print this out and want to draw it yourself, I definitely welcome that. This can be really helpful to see. If you're painting digitally, you can add it in a layer so that you are always painting in the correct direction. So starting out here, I have a really, really light pencil sketch. I recommend if you're not super confident with sketching, that you do all of your sketching and erasing and then transfer it onto your water color paper so your watercolor paper doesn't get too overworked. Now I'm just going to start in here with my lightest color, which in Pippin's cases, this is pale tan. So I've mixed up a burnt umber and a blue and a little bit of yellow, and just a lot of water to get this light tan color. I'm just going to fill in all the areas where you can see tan on his face, which is a base layer all over because you have little pieces of tan peeking through the gray. Next I'm going to mix up the base color which is the navy and the burnt sienna, and get this nice gray I am blocking in shadows. Also all of the areas where it's just the gray color, I'm going to make sure to fill those in as well. Even this early on the process, I'm trying to make sure I go in the direction that the fur is growing. So now we have this darker base layer. I'm going to mix up my shadow color which is going to be the same gray with some added blue, so it's a darker cooler color, and I'm going to block in my shadow especially in the areas where we have separation of body parts like the ear to the head, and we want to make sure that the bridge of the nose, I guess that's what it's called on a bunny, between the eyes is nice and flat, and then the same as we did for the bending studies I'm making sure that my fur is bending around the chest and around the cheeks. So this layer is now dry. Something I like to do at this point is to create the darkest value we have. In this case it's his eyes. I'm actually going to take a micron pen and fill in that area so that I can get a good idea of how my value should react based on the darkness of that level. So you can definitely see now that we have the darks of the eyes in that we need to go a little bit darker overall. So I'm going to go back in with another layer and add some more darks and really focus on the shadows like underneath the chin and around the cheeks. Make sure that the values really match up with the darkness of the eye. Once those shallow layers have dried, I'm then going to go in with my triple zero brush and start doing that for detailing. It's extra important at this stage that you go in the direction of the fur. You could probably get away with blocking out your fur in the wrong direction, but once you get into doing the detailing, is a really noticeable mistake. So I'm going to go throughout the entire portrait and just add in a solid layer of tiny gray furs. So with my first layer down, I'm going to go ahead and go end with a glaze and focus on darkening out the areas that I don't feel I have enough shadow. Really this is not a short process. Every time I go in with another layer, I add another layer on top to make sure my values are unified and also that they're in the correct place. So I could go back and forth on this forever, but just trust how you're looking at the reference picture and trust where the shadows should go and add detail on top of it as the general name of the game. Once I'm happy with my values, I'm going to go in with my light gouache and I'm going to start adding those furs as well. One area it can really help is over on his eye if you have a few strokes overlapping the eye, it really helps the depth of your eye being placed backwards in the head. You can also use the light gouache to add in any detail that you have lost. For example down on his chin, It's not the shape I want anymore, so I'm going to use the light gouache to add that shape back in. Then with a slightly less opaque gouache, I'm just going to go through and add more for texture with this light color. Then for final finishing touches, I'm going in with the white gouache again and a dry brush to add in the whiskers on. It's easy to go overboard on this part, so I recommend that you do a couple of test strokes on different piece of paper before you go in for this. I'm also not going to do all these whiskers because he has a lot and it can be overwhelming in a portrait. So I'm just adding a little bit there and I'm going to add a little extra shine to the eye. [inaudible]. Not impressed? No. 12. project: That's the end of painting fur in watercolor. I hope that you've enjoyed the class and I can't wait to see your class projects. Feel free to either use the reference photo I provided of Pippin, or to use your own subjects. If you post on social media, be sure to hashtag ekatearcher Skillshare so I can see your work and tag me at ekatearcher. If you are on Instagram, be sure to follow me there if you're interested in more of my life painting with Pippin. Be sure to leave the classroom review if you'd like to help other people find it and I hope to see you in the next class.