How to Draw a Cow in Watercolor and Pen & Ink

In this demonstration excerpted from Discover Your World in Pen, Ink & Watercolor, Claudia Nice takes you through the steps you need to create a cow with simple watercolor painting techniques. Apply what you learn to other types of livestock when you’ve finished, and soon you’ll have a whole barnyard of creatures!

Drawing Livestock in Watercolor and Pen & Ink
If you would like to include grazing animals in your rural landscape, here are some step-by-step examples.

Reference Photo

Step 1: Study the animal’s form. Make size comparisons, head to body and so forth. Simplify the various body areas into easy-to -draw geometric shapes. Use the shapes as building blocks to rough in a light pencil drawing.

Step 2: Refine the drawing, erasing the lines of the geometric shapes as you proceed. Lay down a light wash of watercolor to establish the basic color of the animal. I used a thin, flat wash of Burnt Sienna plus orange for
the calf.

Brown ink lines help define the form.

Step 3: Give the animal form by
wor king darker color mixtures into the shaded areas of the body. Accent the painting with pen and ink, avoiding harsh ou tlines.


Scribble and criss cross pen lines where the arrows show

In Discover Your World in Pen, Ink & Watercolor,  you’ll learn how to paint & draw landscapes, animals, flowers and still-lifes in pen, ink & watercolor.

Claudia Nice has more than 15 years of experience teaching drawing & painting. With a focus on capturing nature images, she has authored or contributed to more than 30 painting books and is an award winning artist and trusted teacher to many students.

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