Dolphin Watercolor Demo – 12 step painting

OK – Brushes out! Follow along if you fancy paining this fresh dolphin.

I used Saunders Waterford 140lb Hot Pressed High White paper (available from Ken Bromley Art Supplies, UK) for lovely sparkle and Winsor & Newton tube watercolour paints.

Colours are French Ultramarine, Windsor Violet, Cerulean Blue, Antwerp Blue and Burnt Umber. Brush sizes 6 and 3 round.

1) I wet the entire inside of the dolphin drawing with clean water and let it soak in a bit.

2)Then while still moist I added loose washes of Cerulean, Ultramarine and antwerp to create the main tonal areas.


3)Adding stronger washes of the same colours as before I defined the body further.

4)In order to get the washes to run and suggest the sleek sides of the dolphin I held the painting vertical and let the paint do its stuff! – creating a lovely granulated effect free from brushstrokes!

5) To lift out highlights on the fin, tail and body I used a damp brush with water squeezed out so it would soak up pigment leaving a soft white mark suggesting sunstruck spots on the dolphin. This lift is a useful trick and looks quite natural.

6) Finally I added the eye and darkened a few accents here and there for punch but did not want it to be too slick and perfect! I always like to add some spatter for another dimension so there it is – my final flourish for a leaping dolphin.

Discover my dolphin prints here on my Etsy gallery 

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