Gillian Toft - Artist

Painting Fur in Watercolour

 

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What Brushes Should you use for Painting fur in Watercolour?

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If you want to recreate a fairly realistic rendition of fur, I find that riggers, comb and fan brushes are the most useful. It is also very effective and rewarding to take a tatty brush that’s no longer much good and customise it with scissors or a blade. This affords you a customised, more haphazardly tapered brush, therefore better for depicting fur.
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How to paint fur in watercolour

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When painting fur in watercolour look for the lightest colour value that you can see and lay that down as a base layer. (see image above). Subsequent layers can be overlaid exploiting the nature of the brush. It’s important to paint in the same direction as the fur. It helps to look for more clumped areas and twist your brush from horizontal to vertical to cut into some areas and create the resulting shadows. (See image below).
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While most fur tends to layer conveniently dark on light, you often have areas of white fur.  As your paper is usually your white in watercolor you’ll find it best to paint in the negative. To depict any areas that sit right next to the darker fur, leave a slightly larger area than you need for the white fur and using your comb or fan brush cut into that area with your darker colour to leave a ‘furry’ edge. For the rest of that area look for the usual colours within white. (See image below).
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