I would like to share my technique for painting fur in acrylic paints; in this case, white fur. Painting fur takes time and patience. With practice, it can also be fun. You can get a good sense of what is happening with the painting from the photos and their descriptions. Some steps are the same process repeated, building on the previous layer of paint, so I am showing progress photos.
My palette for this was limited. I used Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Utramarine Blue, White, Yellow Oxide and Cadmium Red Medium. The brushes were basically old, round brushes which were left over from exploring decorative painting. I feel most compfortable with a brush that has been well used and moves easily in my hand. The surface is a pre-primed, stretched canvas that is sold in all art supplies stores and online.
I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did creating it.
While looking for a really great fur reference photo, I came across this photograph of Kes. Her beautiful face and fur really caught my eye. I'd like to thank long time WC! member Joe Majury for allowing me to use his photo as the reference for this article.
My first descision was to crop the photo to focus on her beautiful face.
The first step for the portrait is a detailed sketch. It is important not to get hung up on too much detail. I sketch in only what is needed to get started. This allows me to work as freely as possible during the painting stage.
After the drawing is satisfactory, I begin to block in the dark areas; background, nose, and eyes etc... For this step, the colors I used were Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue.
Here is the first layer of many where I begin to block in tone and values. With the white of the canvas and the dark paint I previously added, it's easy to determine the values and tones in between.
At this stage, I use all the colors. Blending them with water helps make a thin, watery paint. I use this to paint in layers, waiting for each layer to dry completely before proceeding.
My goal is to slowly build the values from the bottom to the top layer of fur. This creates the illusion that the fur has volume and is soft. As the layers build, some adjustments are made, but as you can see they are very subtle.
Sometimes, it becomes difficult to see things clearly once I have stared at the image too long. To help, I turn the canvas upside down and paint like that for a little while.
This is the finished piece. I hope you enjoyed seeing the various stages. I really enjoyed painting Kes. Thank you again, Joe Majury.