How to Paint Cuddling Tigers With Watercolors

Updated on April 29, 2018
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Niina is an artist, illustrator, and art teacher who loves the world of watercolors.

How Do I Capture the Beauty of Tigers on Paper?

Tigers are fascinating animals. Because they have such a majestic presence, they are excellent subjects to paint. In this tutorial, I share some tips and tricks on how to capture them on paper with watercolor paints.

What You'll Need:

  • One piece of 11"x16" (30cm x 40cm) acid-free 300g watercolor paper
  • Windsor & Newton watercolors
  • Paintbrushes with different sizes (from 3 to 6)
  • Pencils for sketching
  • Jars of water

1. Decide on the Colors

My tigers are going to be semi-realistic. Instead of painting traditional tigers that have yellow fur with black/brown stripes, my tigers' furs will be painted with different shades of yellow, pink, and red. Their stripes will be painted with Prussian blue and purple.

2. Add Watercolor Splashes

Start by making an initial sketch. Then, move forward to paint the fur. In the beginning, I mix yellow, orange, and brown. I used lots of water and let the colors mix together.

I am not going to paint anything in the background. Only thing I do is make some splashes by dropping color from the tip of my paintbrush onto the paper.

3. Start Painting the Yellow and Orange

Start to paint the back of tiger on the left. To do that, mix warm shades of yellow and orange.

4. Dry and Wait

Let the paint dry. Allow the colors to mix with one another.

5. Add in the Darker Shades

Move on to the ears and the lower back. The ears are usually bit darker than the fur.

  • The tiger on the right gets a purple lower back and ears that are a mixture of red and purple.
  • The tiger on the left gets ears that are a mixture of red and brown.

When you paint with watercolors, always start with the lighter colors and move on to darker colors. The idea of watercolors is that the light shines through the paper.

6. Paint the Stripes

Start painting the stripes. The colors I used are purple, red, and Prussian blue.

7. Add the Finishing Detalis

For the finishing touches, use warm yellow to paint the inner side of the ears and mustache.

Your tiger painting is finished! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and are excited to try more watercolor experiments.

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