I painted this Himalayan Goral based on Ali Karsh’s Painting to show you how to paint fur.
In preparation you need to find out which way the fur grows and how long it is. In these images I’ve marked the direction of the growth and indicated the length based on the color of the arrow: white is short, blue is really short, yellow is medium and red is long. When you paint the length and direction of your strokes should mimic what you see in the image. Really short doesn’t even need strokes but the others do. (Click to enlarge the images)
In order to get an inky fluid background that looks connected on both sides of the goral, I decided to mask the goral and pour the background.
Lay carbon paper between a sheet of Yupo and a black and white image of the goral. Pay special attention to marking the corners of the image with the carbon paper. Because you are only masking the basic outline of the goral to pour the background, you’ll need to line the image back up when you do the detail tracing.
In order to keep the masking fluid from ruining your brush, wet the brush lightly and roll it on a bar of soap. Be sure to coat the brush completely with the soap.
Spread an even amount of masking fluid on the image. Here’s what it looks like when first applied and then what it looks like when it’s dry. It gets a dull colors when dry and is firm and plastic-like to the touch.
Pour the inky background
There are lots of ways to do this, I’ll just share my method.
Coat the background with Adirondack blending solution.
Nozzle apply your colors all over the background. Be sure to pour on the edge of the side you are going to lift and tilt. For me I like to lift from right to left. I make sure there is ink on the right edge.
Lift and tilt your paper to allow the ink to flow across the page and drip off on a paper towel on the opposite side. If you want a “striped” appearance only tilt once and control the flow by the angle of the lift.
Remove the masking fluid
Peel the masking fluid off with either your fingers or a “Rubber Cement Pick up”, a ball of rubber cement or, as you peel, the peeling will make a little ball that you can use to peel off the rest of it.
Be careful not to rub your fingers through the inks when you are removing the masking fluid or you will get ink in the section you masked. If you do mess up, remove the ink with a little blending solution or blender pen.
Match the corners of your paper up with the edges of the black and white image. Use a colored pen that will help you know where you’ve already traced. I like green. Place the carbon paper in between and start tracing changes in value. For the fur, just mark the direction and length of the fur and major value changes between sections. (Click to enlarge the detail tracing. Note the length and direction of the fur marked.
In How To Paint Fur Part 2 we’ll actually paint the fur but there is a lot of prep work before you get to paint.