donderdag 4 september 2014

Tutorial: Mini painting of a hedgehog in paper boat

A few weeks ago, I painted this mini painting of a hedgehog in his wee paper boat (you should know by now I have a thing for paper boats). I wanted to show you the progress of this painting and give you some insight into the materials I use and the way that I work. It has become kind of a (mini) tutorial!

The painted portion of this piece is just about 9 x 7 centimeters, so it's really tiny!
It's a watercolour painting and this picture shows the materials I used (apart from water ):

  • Watercolour paper: Canson Fontenay 
  • 4H Graphite pencil (Faber-Castell)
  • Tombow mono zero elastomer eraser ultrafine 2.3 mm (heaven sent for every small or detailed  pencil drawing and portrait!)
  • Watercolour brushes Art Master Pearl series and Da Vinci series (tiny sizes)
  • Winsor and Newton watercolours: Cobalt turquoise, Rose Dore, Raw umber mixed with a little bit of Ivory black and Yellow ochre.
  • Staedtler Pigment liner 0.05 (tiny point)

I will discuss the progress in four steps, corresponding to the four pictures you see in the collage Above :-).

1. Outlines and Sketch
I always start out by outlining the space I have for the painting, using my graphite pencil. I use the frame to determine the size. You can just go ahead and trace the frame so you don't need to go and measure ;-). I then drew the lines of the water, the paper boat, our hedgehog and the butterfly body. These lines will later be traced by the pigment liner. I sketched a circle behind the boat, very lightly. I did the same for the butterfly wings. 

2. Painting of larger areas
I painted the background and water with a wet brush and the Cobalt turquoise water colour. The circle is filled in very carefully. I experimented with different amounts of water to create gradients in the waves and the background circle. The butterfly wings were left blank, so now you can see they're white. 

3. Painting of small areas and details
The hedgehog and paper boat were next in line to be painted. I carefully painted the red (Rose Dore) stripes on the boat, and tried to pay attention to the shape of the boat and shading. The hedgehog was painted using the Raw Umber for his 'prickles' and the yellow core (very lightly) for his skin. Also, I gave his little cheek a touch of the red :-). The red of the paper boat is slightly reflected in the water. 

4. "Inking" 
I used the pigment liner  to "ink" the outlines of the drawing. Now you can see the lines again and the image becomes much sharper and playful.

I hope you found it nice or even helpful to see how I build up my mini paintings! Maybe you like to give it a try and recreate the painting yourself. I would love to see your results :-).
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or send an e-mail to

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