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Our 'Learn To Paint' series

‘Penguin in the Snow’ watercolour painting by Vanessa Haarhoff

Vanessa Haarhoff

A masterclass for all ages in where to begin with watercolour painting.

You will need:

  • HB pencil and eraser
  • Watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paints
  • Watercolour paintbrush
  • A glass of water
  • A hairdryer
  • If you don’t fancy painting with watercolour, you can still follow the design with whatever materials you have at home
Penguin In The Snow
‘Penguin in the Snow’ by Vanessa Haarhoff

Vanessa’s top tips that she will take you through include:

  • Find a picture of a penguin to use as inspiration, or use your imagination
  • Use a pencil to sketch the outline of the penguin. Try not to press too hard or it can make tears in the paper
  • Wet the area where you want to paint with a wet brush
  • Dip your brush in water and mix the paint you want to use in a palette
  • Apply the watercolour paint to the wet paper. Applying paint to a wet surface is called the ‘wet on wet’ technique
  • When starting a new colour, rinse your paintbrush
  • Use darker paints for the background to make the penguin ‘pop’
  • Turn the paper around to allow the paint to run with the water, and use your brush to spread the paint
  • Allow layers to dry before applying your next layer
  • Add dark paints in areas of shadows, in order to create a 3D penguin
  • Keep adding details and more layers to the penguin like ‘ruffled’ features to give your penguin character and definition
  • When adding layers to your background, make sure you leave the white fur and the Santa hat. Leaving white spaces in watercolour painting is a useful technique to master!
  • To help the paint dry quicker between layers, use a hairdryer. When the paint is dry apply more layers to give the penguins more body
  • To blend different paints together, apply a wash of water, then apply the two paints so they merge together
  • Finally, make the penguin’s eye come alive by popping a white dot in the middle of the black eye
  • Then, apply any finishing touches. The trick with watercolour is to know when to stop. Sometimes less is more!

Any questions on getting started, simply message us on Facebook or Instagram and we can help!

Don’t worry if you don’t have a paint set at home, we stock them in our online shop here.

Don’t forget to tag us at #PaintWithMFPA for a chance for your creation to be shared on our channels.

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