Last week, I showed you the process I used to paint a koala in ink and watercolors. This week, I’m going to show you how I painted a baby hippo using watercolor markers. As always, read to the end to get this painting on Redbubble.
The first step is the pencil sketch. This is very vague. You don’t need to add much detail at this stage if you know your subject. These are more like guidelines and won’t really be visible once I paint over them. Also, if you add too much pencil, it will make your painting look muddy.
I added the grey first. Most of the hippo is grey and it’s going to be the base for everything else. I put the marker where the darkest parts are going to be. Don’t just color in blocks of color unless that’s the effect you’re going for. Laying your marker down in natural shapes and patterns makes the final result more authentic and realistic.
Here you can see I added water to the marker. It creates a really nice and smooth effect. The grey I used was a cool grey (meaning it has more blue in it) and you can clearly see that once I add the water. Some colors will separate more once you add water than others, so it’s a good idea to test that out before you dive right into a painting.
Next I added a light brown. This brown had orangey-red undertones to it, which complements the light pink I also added. You can see both the brown and the pink below. Looking at reference images before or during the painting process can help you see which areas of the hippo are the most brown and where that brown turns to pink. If you see the hippo’s ears, you can see all three colors I’ve used so far very clearly. Also, on the hippo’s neck, you can see those natural shapes that I created with the markers reflected in the result.
And below is the final piece. On paintings without a lot of bold and strong colors, using black is out of place, it tends to overpower the rest of the piece. I used a dark brown instead and used a light version of the same dark brown for the shadows on the neck, under the eyes, and ears. I drew onto my pan and diluted that color to get this light version.
If you liked this painting, check it out on Redbubble. If you like this style of blog post, let me know so I can do more in the future. We publish a new blog every Tuesday and Friday so, until next time, thanks for reading and goodbye!