Monday, October 18, 2010

Animal Hide Coloring Tutorial

(Originally posted HERE on May 5, 2010)
This is a 2 part tutorial!  Summary:
Part 1
Coloring animal fur on this Baby Goat image just released at Doodle Pantry, using Tombow markers and a waterbrush on watercolor paper. 
Part 2
Shows how you can create your own animal hide background paper using Tombow markers, watercolor paper and a waterbrush.
  • IMAGE: Baby Goat from Doodle Pantry
  • CS/PAPER: watercolor, saffron, cocoa, moss, Basic grey Kioshi DP, Hand colored faux animal hide watercolored paper
  • INK: Tombow markers 947, 977, 942, 946, 098, 491
  • ACCENTS/TOOLS: Waterbrush, Spellbinders octagons dies, SU oval punches, linen jute string, sewing machine, pop dots, glue dots
1.  First I determined which areas would be the lightest and used the lightest marker to outline those areas, as below.
2.  The next color is a little darker, and I outlined the remaining areas on the animal.
3. Use the waterbrush on the lighter colors first. I started by setting the brush tip in the center of his head and in a circular motion, I spiraled the tip around until it began to touch the outlines of the lightest color, I kept spiraling up to the edges and then watched as the color blended toward the center of his head.  This color is very light, almost like a creamy white, so you can hardly see it in the photo.  I did this brushing motion in each area of the lighter color, some areas I had to just back and forth because there wasn't enough room to do the spiral motion.
4.  Notice below, all the cream areas have been blended.  Start again in the medium brown area, using a spiral motion of the brush tip and starting in the center of that small area moving outward until you reach the edges.  Don't go too fast, try to keep a steady hand.
5.  Continue the same process as step 4 in the remaining areas of the same brown color, until that color has been blended.
6.  Below, I am showing the next area of the medium brown fur, same brushing as step 4.
7.  Wait for the first 2 colors to completely dry before starting this step.  Using the darker brown 947 and add spots or blobs where ever you want.
8.  Lightly touch the tip of waterbrush with gentle flow of water to dots of color you added in step 7, and watch as it blends in.
TIP:  If you get areas where a wet/dry water line appears, lightly and swiftly stroke the waterbrush with slight water flow over those wet/dry waterlines to smooth them together.
9.  Below, continuing to lightly dab the waterbrush on the brown spots, and blending together.
10.  Add the mustard 946 color in short strokes over the hay/grass as shown.
11.  Quickly run the waterbrush tip over the mustard colors and watch as the begin to blend.  It is Ok to leave some areas a bit white.
12.  Add the green 098 color to fill in the areas of the hay.
13.  use short and swift strokes over the green ink to blend with the mustard color.
14.  Add generous amounts of the 491 marker around the perimeter of the goat.
15.  Finished blue outline as below.. (Not pictured: Use the waterbrush around the entire 491 color on the goat, swiping back and forth gently until all the blue has been wet and moving outward in all directions.
16.  using the 947 color brush tip, apply some very short and skinny marker lines from the darker spots to the lighter spots as shown.
17.  Quickly but gently move the waterbrush over all the short marker strokes you just drew in the fur.
18.  Finished goat image.
The key to watercoloring animal hide (fur) paper is to NOT try to be exact.  Meaning don't try too hard at this.  Really!  Almost everything comes out "right".  But if you don't like how your first one comes out, just try again.  It won't be long before you like your results.
This paper sample I did was my very first attempt ever!  I simply had the idea that maybe I could scribble tombows on watercolor paper and add the water with a waterbrush to blend it and maybe it might look like hide. And when it did, I thought "Anybody can do this!".
Things to keep in mind:
  • You can use this technique for SO MANY kinds of fur... bunny, cow, goat, leopard, giraffe, tiger, zebra, ducks, anything that is furry or fuzzy!  Just change your colors and the shapes of your blobs of color.  the sample I did could be a cow or other farm animal, but if I made the blobs more elongated like stripes, it could be zebra. Or if I made them closer together and more trapezoid shaped, it could be giraffe or leopard. And if I colored almost the whole area with light yellow and added a bunch of streaks of mustard yellow with even smaller streaks/spots of a yellow brown color, then it might resemble the fuzz on a duckling.  The sky is the limit on this one!
  • Cut your watercolor paper to a little larger than what you want your final size to be, so that you can trim off edges that you don't like.  A general measurement is to make it about 1/2" longer in both directions.
1. Using the desired colors of Tombow markers to match your specific project, start by coloring the center of the fur spots with your darkest color, then scribble around those spots/blobs, and then the lightest color go around all the spots/blobs. I used 947 in the center, 977 around that, and 942 around the 977.  You can see how totally childish this looks, there are even white spaces in there and it is very scribbly.  This is the actual paper I used on my goat card pictured at top.
2. Begin using the waterbrush on the lightest color first and moving the color into the white spaces (if you have any white spaces).  Try to do this as quickly as possible and not move your brush too slowly.  Make sure you have good water flow coming from the brush, but not too much water. Too much water would be defined as puddles starting to form.  You basically want water to seep into and begin to feather out in the watercolor paper, pulling the color with it, without water pooling on top.
I went around all the lighter colors, and if you touch a little of the darker colors, it is OK, let it go.
3. Now comes the fun part.  Give your waterbrush a gentle squeeze on the handle and begin dabbing your brush tip up and down near the center of one of the scribble blobs, while holding it at a bit of an angle.  Dab it over one area of the blob, and  then move over and dab again. Just keep dabbing it up and down and moving your brush around the blob.  If you think you have too much color pulling into the tip of your waterbrush, just swipe it off on a paper towel a couple times and keep dabbing. 
Make sure you do not have too much water coming out.  You will begin to see it blend together and change in texture and pattern. Maybe even stop dabbing every 3-4 dabs and just watch it to see where you want to add more water next.
4.  Can you see below how I worked over the top left corner, the 3 blobs in that corner?  Can you see how the paper is wet, but it is not pooling or puddling? This is how you want it to look.  Once you like how it is progressing, move over to the next blob of color and do the same thing until all blobs have been blended and now you can step back and look at it and if there are any areas the you think need a tad more blending, just quickly swipe the wet waterbrush over those areas.
5.  It is OK if there are small spots of the paper where water didn't penetrate.  See below.  Do you see the little spots?  Some are darker and some are whiter.  They are all over the place.  This is actually where water didn't fully seep into the paper, therefore didn't blend completely. And it looks JUST FINE, wouldn't you say?  In fact, it gives it a nice characteristic of fur.
My picture below, I accidentally turned it around 180 degrees before snapping the photo. So the upper left corner in the pictures above is in the lower right corner in the picture below.
6.  ALLOW TO COMPLETELY DRY!  This part is hard, because I know we all want to go add to a card right away, but you need to set it aside until it is dry before trying to glue it down.
7. If you are done blending color, it won't hurt to spray on the sheet A LIGHT MIST of Matte or gloss clear acrylic sealer spray.  Just a few quick spurts so that it appears to have misted the top of the paper is all you need. DO NOT OVERCOAT with sealer.
It is THAT EASY!  If you try it, I would LOVE to see what you do.
Just upload somewhere and type in faux animal hide, or better yet come back here and leave a link in a comment!
I hope you got some inspiration today.  Here's wishing you a wonderful week!

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