Penguin Painting – An Artist’s Guide to Penguins

17th November 2014 Estimated reading time: 1 min

Before applying any colour, test on a spare piece of watercolour paper that this is the strength and colour you were wanting to achieve. It is disappointing to mix a colour and put it on your work only to find it was not the colour you were expecting. Save time and frustration by constantly checking the colour before it is applied to your work.

I used neat Indigo, but if you add a little Alizarin Crimson Permanent this creates a warmer dark colour. Then add a little Indian Yellow to make a grey.

Quick Tip: When using watercolour cards, check that your image will be on the front of the card when it is folded before you transfer the image.

Step 1: Sketching the penguin

Place the graphite side of the Tracedown onto the paper and then place the image on the Tracedown – make sure is positioned on the paper correctly.  Using a sharp pencil and medium pressure, trace around the image.

Step 2: Mixing colours

Squeeze out each of the 3 colours on to your palette (you will need very little of the Crimson and the Yellow).  Mix a very weak solution of the Alizarin Crimson Permanent and apply to the area of the beak and small patches on the feet. While this is drying mix some neat Indigo. This is going to be the colour you will use for most of the painting. By only using this one colour for much of the painting it helps reduce the paints becoming “muddy”.

Step 3: Painting the penguin

Apply a weak solution of Indigo to the wings, under the chin , the feet , the beak and the strip across the chest . Gradually being to strengthen the Indigo and apply to the darker areas. Try not to overwork and retain light areas on the body to create a feeling of the structure of the penguin. For the final dark areas add a little Yellow and Crimson (just a touch) to the Indigo mix to create the darkest colour. Apply to the eye and any areas which still need this final depth.

Step 4: Adding shadows

Finally mix a weak solution of Indigo and Crimson to create the subtle shadows on the belly and neck the penguin. Keep these subtle and work from the bottom of the belly up – the darkest shadow will be under the belly.  To complete your Penguin put some shadow under the feet.

    Anita’s Top Tips

  1. Keep it simple, make it fun
  2. Have 2 water containers one to clean your brush in and the other to keep clean for mixing with the colours or using clean water to move the paint on the paper.
  3. Try mixing different dark colours.
  4. Try not to apply more than 3-4 layers  – Light, Mid, Dark and Final Darkest Dark.

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