Otter Painting in Acrylic

Otter Painting in Acrylic

A combination of airbursh and hand painted technique

Blog by Ellie Burdett

This was a great piece to paint, I found the reference picture on Pixabay a free download and royalty free.  I started by painting the canvas hoockers green to form the base for the painting then airbrushing several layers from light to dark.  I wanted the background out of focus to ensure the viewers eye was drawn to the otter.

“Tip: I first tried to paint the planks in the colour shown in my reference photo – having done this, I realised this was not lending itself favourably to the overall mood of the picture, being darker wood.  With this in mind I decided to go over the wood again once it was dry.  During the process another artist gave me a tip not to put to much detail on the wood again ensuring that the otter remained the star of the painting”


The next stage was to get the otter into the art work.  I used a chalk pencil to sketch out the otter on the canvas, ensuring that the painting so far was dry.  A complete coast of unbleached titanium white formed the base coat of the otter.  Following this is was a case of gradually adding fur layer by layer.  A great combination for getting the fur colour was the use of a three mix of colour using;

Unbleached titanium white, naples yellow with a hint of burnt sienna.

“Tip: I tried to add the darker fur around the feet of the otter to highlight the shaded area – this stuck out like a sore thumb and did not blend in well in fact it really drew the eye to that area of the painting.  After much time, research and reading – I discovered a big tip on colour theory, in that it is better to ensure you gradually layer the colour from lighter to darker (or the reverse), to gain a more natural look”

 There are some examples in the gallery below of this process and again to re-affirm that if you don’t get it right first time….with acrylics, you can correct it and carry on.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog today.

Supplies List:

Airbrushing the back ground and heads of the dandelions:

  1. Iwata Neo Airbrush
  2. Creatix airbrush paint
  3. Water to dilute the paint

Hand Painting the Otter and the Wood planks:

  1. Master philbert brushes
  2. Proarte detail brushes
  3. Liquitex basics acrylic paint
  4. Chalk pencil
  5. Liquitex glazing medium
  6. Liquitex gloss varnish

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