Bunny sketch by Maria Coryell-Martin.

Helpful Tips for Painting Fur

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Art Toolkit Team

Technique | September 07, 2022

Getting fur right is tricky, so we came up with some helpful tips for recreating that soft, directional texture on paper!

In the video below, Maria sketches a bunny inspired by her childhood pet, a Flemish Giant rabbit!

Start by painting a light, flat wash over everywhere that isn’t white. Once this first layer is dry, use a small pointed brush to put the next layer of color on, always moving in the direction the fur is going. Using thin layers of watercolor can add a gentle texture that gives the feel of fur. In watercolor, this technique of layering transparent washes of paint is called glazing.

Make sure you keep an eye on your model or reference image! One rule of thumb is to look at your subject more than your paper.

Bunny sketch (detail) by Maria Coryell-Martin.

Keep building up layers where the fur is dark, and remember to leave the lighter patches alone. If you’d like to include more definition, you can add fountain pen marks either at the end or, if you use waterproof ink, after the first layer of wash.

Once the last layer of paint is fully dry, go back in with some white gouache or white gel pen to add highlights or whiskers!

What is your favorite type of animal to paint?

Supplies used in this demonstration: