Step by step tiger in mixed media

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Step by step tiger in mixed media

Recently I painted a tiger in mixed media and thought it would be good to share a 'how to' for anyone who fancies a go.

tiger 1 rotated

When am painting wildlife I usually prefer to depict animals and birds that I can observe directly in my local area, working from sketches and my own photographs together with a certain amount of reference material. This enables me to engage interactively with the subjects and learn something about their life and habits. I feel this gives a sense of connection with the subject. However on this occasion I wanted to paint something more exotic, stimulated by some beautiful pictures of felines I had seen in a magazine. Given the limited possibilities for travel and park visits at lately, I did a fair amount of research online, sketching from images and videos to gain insights into the subject before I started to paint in earnest. I chose to work in mixed media so that I could use acrylic for immediacy in the initial stages, followed by coloured pencil and gouache for detail. I tested the colours and layering techniques I intended to use on scrap paper first to avoid any problems once the painting was well developed. I used the reverse side of a sheet of acrylic painting paper. This was a more neutral tint and had a slightly smoother surface than the right side but still enough tooth and resilience to take the pencils. Step One After doing my initial research I selected a few images as resource material and drew the essential features of the tiger's face with HB pencil, placing him slightly off centre for added interest. Once I was satisfied with the drawing I blocked in the background with dense ivory black pencil blended with a little nutmeg and cedar green. This was a little time-consuming, but necessary to achieve the effect I wanted. I suspect that it might be perfectly satisfactory to do the background in acrylic if preferred. I'll share step two soon in my next blog post. Enjoy!


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