No one can resist a woodland creature illustration … they’re just so cozy and quaint. In this tutorial, I’ll teach you how to paint a watercolor fox lounging in a field of poppies. While this tutorial is suitable for all skill levels, beginners should read the Painting with Watercolors for Beginners and Painting with Watercolors for Beginners Part II before painting this fox!
1. Gather Your Supplies
For this tutorial, you’ll need the following supplies:
- A watercolor palette that includes the following colors: reddish orange, golden yellow, deep purple, green, and red*
- Finetec Arabic gold pan
- Blank watercolor greeting card
- Size 0 paintbrush
- Dip pen fitted with your favorite nib (a straight pen with a Nikko G nib is a safe bet)
- Watercolor Fox Traceable Template + Color Placement Cheat Sheet (free download)
*The exact watercolors that I used for this tutorial came from Greenleaf & Blueberry. They are: Red Ochre, Yellow Ochre, Violet Hematite, Celadonite, and Mayan Red.
2. Make a Pencil Sketch
First, open the blank watercolor card and place the Watercolor Fox Traceable Template underneath the card’s front. Place the card and the template against a light box or a bright window. You should be able to see the template through the card, allowing you to make a pencil sketch.
3. Add Watercolor to the Fox
Next, use the Color Placement Cheat Sheet to add watercolor to the fox. The cheat sheet tells you exactly where to paint with each color to make realistic-looking fur.
As you finish up the fox’s body, the illustration should start to shape up.
4. Paint the Poppies
Now, use your green and red watercolors to add color to the poppies. Give the poppies some depth by painting them with two coats of red. The first coat should cover the entire poppy, then the second coat should highlight individual petals with subtle outlines.
5. Add a Gold Border + Optional Calligraphy
Now, use your gold watercolor and your dip pen to trace over the oval around the fox. Then, draw tiny half-circles all around the oval.
If you want to make your fox illustration into a card, as I have done, you can use Janet Style calligraphy to write a greeting at the bottom. I used walnut ink to write my greeting, but you could also use the watercolor calligraphy technique with your deep purple tone!
Woodland Fox: Calligraphy Edition
Woodland creatures make for a fabulous subject no matter what medium you use to create them! You can use calligraphy flourishing to create a stunning little fox with just your pen and ink, too. In TPK’s Woodland Creatures Calligraphy Flourishing Worksheet, I’ll walk you through how to create the fox pictured below — along with an owl, a raccoon, and a squirrel!
The worksheet is a limited edition item that will disappear from the TPK Catalog this coming Tuesday, February 22nd.
I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and that it inspires you to paint many more woodland creatures! The secret is to blend, use earthy colors, and — of course — take your time. Happy painting!