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Jumped in the furry deep end

Discussion in 'Artwork help and showcase for newbies' started by Muzzz, Jan 25, 2021.


  1. Muzzz

    Muzzz Double Actioner

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    Hi all, well I took a leap off a cliff and attempted to paint my dog.

    I don't think it's quite finished but I decided to stop for now because it's too cold to paint in my garage this week. I'm using a Badger patriot 105 with a .5mm needle on bristol paper with CI. I mixed most of the paint 1:1 with transparent base and then added 10-15% 4011.

    [​IMG]

    So I have some questions. Is it just me or is animal fur really hard? I had difficulty with matching both the color and texture. She has a reddish-brown undercoat but then her fur gets very light and reflective at the ends, almost white-yellowish.

    I think my biggest struggle is which order to lay down layers. After the initial landmarks, I did a darker undercoat of dagger strokes with umber and orange, then a light coat of dagger strokes with white and a touch of sepia and yellow, and then filled back in with umber for a few darker accents...and I think I need to add more of the last.
    The fur looks too washed out and indistinct, I think because there are too many layers of dagger strokes that don't correspond to each other. I used a hefty amount of transparent base so maybe this also contributes to the indistinctness. Would it be easier to keep all the texture to one layer, and then just layer the colors on top of that?

    Also as you can see my erasing still isn't working very well, I get the paint too thick and then try to erase too hard. I'm going to try gesso-ing the bristol first for my next piece.

    Anyways, comments or suggestions welcome, thanks for looking.
    Murray
  2. wickedartstudio

    wickedartstudio Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Cutting your paint with transparent base isn't necessary all of the time. Sometimes you want that extra opacity for coverage on the base layers and/or the highlights, which will reduce that washed out appearance. Use colors cut with transparent base to tint your layers. I rarely cut my colors with transparent base. You can tint with a strong color with a very light wash too. That's what works for me. Experiment. Try every technique and find what works for you.

    Rendering fur and/or hair is hard. Most of us prefer to work from dark to light the majority of the time. I prefer the opposite when painting fur. You want to build fur in multiple layers. Multiple layers creates the illusion of depth which will make it more believable in the end. Don't try to paint every single strand. That creates a spaghetti look that is not believable. The fur on your dog is composed of tons of very thin strands, just like our hair. Pick out shapes you see in your reference and work on rendering those shapes, or clumps of hair as opposed to trying to paint individual strands. Adding a few strands here and there in a larger shape makes a huge difference. Less is more in this case.

    Overall your painting looks good and you've no doubt learned some things during the process! Developing this skill is just like everything else, it takes practice. Keep up the good work!
  3. Ttxela

    Ttxela Artist of the Month! Artist of the Month! Very Likeable!

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    It's not just you, fur is really hard, I had a request to paint my friends dog and put it off for over a year because the fur seemed a bit daunting, looks like you are off to a good start though. I got quite a few hints and tips from here and various FB groups :)
  4. Muzzz

    Muzzz Double Actioner

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    Thanks guys!

    Wickedart your advice on working light to dark for fur is very helpful, I was trying dark to light but it got really washed out and I had to go back to a dark layer. I've been watching your videos on color, the one from Sep 12 has a great tip on adding tint to a portrait base tone with transparent base or a very light wash to push the color in a direction. I'm sure I've read this many times in the last month but the lightbulb finally went on. I think I was leaning on the transparent base as a bit of a crutch to let me build up lines and features without making too many obvious mistakes but now I see the consequences of using that approach.

    ABing seems to be a bit like an onion, the more layers of learning you peel off, the more layers you realize you haven't peeled back yet. So much to learn but I'm having fun!

    I'm gonna put this one aside for now and reattempt it in a few months. Maybe I'll try hair next, it actually looks a little easier?
  5. basepaint

    basepaint Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    If you look up fur on the forum you will find some great how too videos,but it still takes practice, And if you spray a clear sealer over your bristle paper you will find the paint comes off easier
  6. musicmacd

    musicmacd The Createx Bandit Very Likeable!

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    The Createx illustration is transparent so taking advantage of that with the erasing is an great technique, as are dagger strokes, I wouldn’t be adding trans base at all if you’re trying to erase as your creating a thicker layer than necessary which could be causing you issues. I would use water or reducer instead.
    regarding the transparent nature of the CI, by creating your darks first you can scratch out highlights and spray over them creating interesting layers and textures. Realistic fur can have (with the techniques I use) from 4-10 layers of erasing! You can easily use 5 or so blades on a smallish piece.
    If you do anything to your painting I would finish the nose!
    Muzzz and jord001 like this.

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