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Digital Subscriptions > Leisure Painter > Sep-19 > Tell your own story

Tell your own story

Follow wildlife artist, Julie Askew, as she explains the thought processes and painting techniques she uses to paint the story behind her subject, a grey seal


How to build a narrative quality to your work

How to develop a balanced composition

It has been a while since I have painted British wildlife, and one of my favourite native creatures is the grey seal. I have seen them around our coasts many times for years, from Pembroke to North Norfolk, which are very different habitats, but the same great creatures. Half the world’s population of grey seals live in British waters.

Sadly, a recent headline stated that 100 per cent of marine mammals found dead on British coasts, including grey seals, had ingested plastic. My reaction to such news is to paint.

Know your subject

Understanding the anatomy helps any depiction and it is worth doing research before you begin. The best is, of course, to observe seals from life and to use your own sketches or photos as reference. Alternatively, there are brilliant videos on YouTube and at For anatomy, look at this great article by Steve Harris: how-to/identify-wildlife/how-toidentify- mammal-bones-on-theseashore. This understanding will help you to create a natural-looking seal painting.

Demonstration Grey Seal

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the September issue. You will find packed inside a wealth of practical advice, illustrated techniques, creative ideas and step-by-step demonstrations in watercolour, acrylics, oils and pastels. There's information for beginners, and prompts and inspiration for those with more experience. There's everything from how to paint from photographs and ten top tips for keeping your colour mixes clean and vibrant to painting cat's eyes in detail, filling a nature journal and painting landscapes, buildings, reflections, animals, birds and more. Enjoy your month of painting.