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Animals from life

Part 3 How to add a splash of colour to your sketches, by Liz Chaderton
Blue Flamingos, watercolour on deep-edge canvas, 231⁄2x311⁄2in. (60x80cm). Flamingos don’t have to be pink. Having studied the movement and behaviour in life, you can develop your own take on a species as long as your tones and proportions are correct. This was painted in watercolour on canvas.

Over the past couple of months we have explored some of the advantages of spending time in zoos and wildlife parks, observing and drawing animals from life. While I would urge you to use monochrome drawing media to help you hone your observation, drawing and mark-making skills, I do realise that the colour of animals is part of their fascination and joy. If you are spending time finding the right colour out of 20 possibilities, however, you are not looking at the animal. Sketching from life is all about observation and you should endeavour to spend more time looking at the subject rather than looking at your paper or art materials.

On the other hand, a big advantage of colour is that you can incorporate negative painting into your work. Being realistic, you could not be expected to stick to black pen on white paper for too long so let’s explore some of the options.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the May issue of Leisure Painter. This month we have practical advice, step-by-step demonstrations and instructional features on drawing and painting with watercolour, acrylics, ink, oils and coloured pencil. Try 12 confidence-boosting exercises to help you draw and paint figures, be inspired by the travel posters of the 1930s to produce contemporary-looking poster-like paintings, and learn to paint a plethora of subjects, including landscapes, animals, birds, flowers, seascapes and more. Enjoy your month of painting with Leisure Painter.