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Digital Subscriptions > Leisure Painter > FREE Sample Issue > Close encounter

Close encounter

Part 1 Learn how to take and use photographs of wildlife, before you begin painting a barn owl using a variety of watercolour techniques, with Paul Hopkinson



How to work from photographs

Build your watercolour technique repertoire with confidence

How to paint detail in watercolour

With any detail work, a sharp, large and clear photo is ideal. It’s difficult to imagine the detail so you need to be able to see everything you would like to paint. Of course some areas will be in shadow, but we are looking for the main parts of an animal, such as the face, eyes, ears and nose. For those of you with iPads or other tablets and computers, zoom into the detail so you can see how the hairs or feathers are knitted together. You will also be able to see the colours that will make up the image much easier.

If you prefer to work from a print and have photo-editing software on your computer, crop the large photo and print off sections, such as the eyes, nose and ears, or any tricky area you can’t quite make out.

Taking photos

With any animal portrait I always recommend taking the photo outdoors and on the largest photo size their camera can take. It’s a good idea to crouch down low to the animal so you are level with its eyes to remove the issue with your subject having a large head and a small body. Have sunlight behind you and try to take the photo on an overcast but bright day.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to this month's issue of Leisure Painter. Within these pages you'll find everything you need to learn to draw and paint successfully from how to render beaches and landscapes, buildings, flowers, portraits and birds to how to develop your artistic skills as you work on composition, perspective, tonal values, painting from photographs and colour mixing. Do you want to loosen up your style or work on detail with the smallest brushes? Do you need to know more about which materials to buy, or are you simply ready to take out your colours and paint alongside some the of the UK's best art tutors? Each month there are projects and step-by-step demonstrations to try. Enjoy your month of painting.