Process of a Painting: Zeus

How to Paint a Pet Portrait |

Meet Zeus! I just finished painting a custom pet portrait of this adorable little fella and thought it would be fun to share the process. 

After I’ve made a light pencil sketch, I wet the entire piece of paper and let it rest a moment so that the paper absorbs some of the moisture. While the paper is still wet I begin to lay in bits of colour to indicate Zeus’ markings. Next I add some light washes of green and blue to the background. The moist paper creates a soft underpainting and prevents hard edges. Once the paper begins to dry I help it along by using a blow dryer. Drying the paper completely, helps “lock in” the colour so that subsequent layers of paint don't disturb the underpainting. 

Painting Tip - A watercolour is completely dry when the paper no longer feels cool to the touch.

I wet the entire painting again, add another soft layer of colour to Zeus and begin to paint in his features, then dry the paper completely.

Next, I carefully wet only the areas around Zeus’ head in order to darken the background and add depth. More detail is added to the nose and eyes.

Painting Tip - Sprinkle salt into wet watercolour paint to create a textured background.

This layer was painted on dry paper which allowed me to create sharper edges and add more delicate detail to the features.

As the painting nears completion the details become ever subtler. It is the refinement of these details that really make the painting come alive.

Painting Tip - Use an xacto blade to gently scratch the paper’s surface and reveal or sharpen highlights in the subject’s eyes. A gentle sand papering can also add texture and lighten areas where shadows may have been painted too darkly.

The finished portrait! I’m really pleased with how it all came together. Do you have any painting tips? Share below!

Visit my Etsy shop to view other pet portraits and custom artwork!