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Oil Painting Step by Step by Tom Swimm, John Loughlin, Anita Hampton

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Lesson 11: Painting Animals

with Caroline Zimmermann

The key to painting animals is to capture the unique qualities of the subject, especially the animal’s hair, fur, feathers, skin, or scales. There are countless ways of suggesting fur and feathers in a painting, and many of the techniques involve using special brushes that are made to mimic these textures. Other techniques include drybrushing, scraping, or spattering (see pages 1213). As with any subject, creating a likeness simply requires careful observation—whether you’re studying the actual creature or a photograph.

For this rooster, Caroline Zimmermann used different tools to create a variety of feather textures, from the soft, downy white in the tail to the crisp, shiny neck feathers. ...

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