Today I’m going to show you the process of painting a koala in ink and watercolors. If you’re interested in a more in-depth look at my process, check out this blog post, where I painted a camel. Today I’m just going to be showing you the work on the final version. Keep reading for a link at the end to purchase this artwork on Redbubble.
To begin, I sketched out my koala in pencil. There is almost no detail in this stage. It is going to be covered up by the ink, so I only need to give myself guidelines on where to put the ink. During this whole process, I had a page of reference images of koalas on my computer so I didn’t have to rely on my memory of where the darkest and lightest patches of their fur are.
The next stage is where I put down the ink from a pen. The ink I use is water-soluble (it has to be) and in a ballpoint pen. I put down the ink where I want the darkest portions to be. I don’t need to do any shading with the pen. That comes in the next stage.
I take a brush and start by applying water directly from the ink sections. That area is the darkest and the further away I get, the lighter the tone will be. When wet, the ink looks purple, but it dries very quickly and is in greytones. Because the medium dries quickly, I have to work fast. You can still see the lines where I drew, so if you’re using this same method, don’t draw your lines haphazardly. I deliberately drew the ink in a fur texture because I knew that they would stil be visible at the end.
The final step is to apply the watercolors. The ink cannot be reactivated once dry, so there isn’t any risk of muddying the paint with the ink so long as you activate all of it before the watercolors. I used the same red-brown color for the fur as I did the eyes. The paint for the fur I just diluted much more. When the paint was dry, I went back with the pen to draw in the pupil and the top of the eyes. If the paint isn’t dry, the ink will run and spread out.
I hope you enjoyed this look at my process for painting a mixed media piece featuring a koala. If you’re a fan of koalas, check out this blog post where we share lots of fun facts about the adorable marsupials. See this artwork on a huge array of products and gifts here on Redbubble.
Thank you for reading. If you have any requests or questions, please feel free to leave them in a comment below. We publish a new blog every Tuesday and Friday so, until next time, thank you for reading and goodbye!