Tips to Help You Paint Animal Fur

Many of you know me as a social media guru for artists who paints still life and landscape paintings. But, believe it or not, I am actually an artist first and foremost.

So, I thought I would share some of my art techniques for a change. I started my painting career as a wildlife artist. My still life painting reflect this because I most often add birds to my paintings.

Years ago, I learned from the best wildlife artists. Robert Bateman, John Seerey-Lester, Guy Coheleach, Alan Hunt and Carl Brenders taught me how to paint eyes, feathers and animal fur really well, while the late Vivi Crandall shared her amazing brushwork and color theory secrets with me.

In the speed video below, I demonstrate how to paint a realistic monkey. The same techniques can be applied toward any animal. Be sure an check out the important ‘fur tips’ below the video…

 

 

 

Here are a few extra tips to help you paint animal fur:

  • I prefer to paint the animal over the existing background color. This helps to make the animal part of its environment.
  • Outline the animal shape.
  • First, I like to paint the eye…for me, when the eye looks correct, the animal starts to come alive!
  • Next I do a thin wash of darker undertones over the body, allowing some of the background to come through.
  • Now it is time to begin ‘the fur’…remember this MOST Important Tip!!!
  • Painting fur is a lot like laying shingles or shakes on a roof – you start laying them from the bottom up!

  • See how the bottom shakes are covered by the top and so on…this is the same way we place our paint-brush strokes to recreate fur on animals and feathers on birds.
  • I started with the tail and worked my way up the body.
  • It is important to understand the way hair, fur and feathers grow to believably paint them!
  • Then, start at the feet and work your way up the leg and around the hip and elbow.
  • For the face, start with the nose and the strokes radiate out from there.
  • It helps to splay the brush or use an old paint-brush to paint fur.
  • Remember to work from dark to light and thin to fat. The lightest color is last.

I hope this helps! Please, if you have any questions, ask in the comment section.

Thanks, ~Lori :)

If you enjoyed this article and video, please check out my other helpful videos: http://www.finearttips.com/videos/
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