Painting Goats in Watercolour


They have those strange hypnotic eyes – don’t they? – goats?

Their pupils are a distinctive horizontal ellipse and added to their cloven hooves and raffish beards they are very paintable.


As some subscribers will have read I visited a local small holding last month and actually smoothed and petted a goat for the first time in my life.


She was a petite almond coloured nanny goat and very gentle. She nibbled at my fingers but did not attempt to bite me and simply bleated whenever I left off scratching behind her ears.


I was inspired by her character and came home and painted a cartoon goat relaxing on a rag rug in a log cabin – complete with pot-bellied stove.

goat small.jpg

I have this romantic dream of staying or living in a log cabin and so did this as a little indulgence to my aspirations. How much fun would it be to spend a quiet retreat with some goats (and possibly my Jack Russell) for company, just sitting by a stove as the wind and snow howled around – just reading and drinking tea? Lots.



For those of you who would like to try painting a goat please feel free to print off the images below giving a step-by-step goat tutorial. If you have any trouble just email me and ask for them to be sent to you – I am at


I love this stage when things are all soft and blurry – this is where I like to let watercolour be watercolour and let it go more of less where it likes.

Ungtjitled-1 copy 2

Watercolour allows for lovely expression – especially in the early washes. I tend to then use stronger paint and details at the end of the painting process.


The main thing is to always establish your main tonal areas before you start to paint. If you Google “values in painting” or “Tonal Vales” you will find a lot of information on this. It’s well worth doing a tiny black, white and grey thumbnail sketch – only 2-3 inches  – in order to work those out.

Below is a simple tonal thumbnail of a scene I was creating of a junction in Las Vegas.


tonalsnj copy 2.jpg

..and here is the final pastel painting…having established the tones I was free to paint confidently in colour.

Facebook banhneoor copy

I tend to use hot pressed watercolour paper – preferable Fabriano Artistico 90lbs (200gsm) as it is exquisite to paint on and the watercolour flows so well on it. It is also 100% cotton rag and is archival.


Some other goats I painted over 6 years ago now were for illustrations for a book written by Marnie Jones. It is a children’s book all about animals waking up in the morning.

goat 6 goats.jpg


If you’d like to share any goat paintings/sketches/tips of your own please do by adding them in the comments box below!

Finally – for free watercolour tuition head over to my YouTube Channel!



Thanks – Alison

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