Squirrel sketching

I thought it might be interesting for blog readers if I were to share some of my process, so I will try to put up more of my sketchbook pages in future - starting with this squirrel. Enjoy!

Watercolour squirrel. © Michelle Beech. Please do not use without my permission


I painted this happy squirrel using mainly Winsor & Newton watercolours. At the moment I use a combination of Cotman and Professional colours (I try out a colour first using the cheaper Cotman tubes and then replace it with Professional once I've used it up). I also use Kusakabe watercolours that I bought when I was in Japan. I painted this on Bockingford HP watercolour paper.

Sketching squirrels for reference. © Michelle Beech. Please do not use without my permission


Almost everything I paint requires me to do a bit of research. For this one I did a quick Google image search (there were no squirrels to hand in the garden!) and sketched a few to better understand their faces and posture. I find that the research kind of filters through later when I'm drawing from imagination and just helps to create more believable characters.


I used a fairly limited palette (mainly ultramarine and burnt sienna and umber) and probably spent four/five hours drawing and painting, I think... next time I will set a timer so I can tell you. That included a few paint-drying breaks. I added the rosy cheeks in colour pencil for this particular painting (I sometimes find that if I do it in watercolour it mixes into the washes below and loses some of its brightness - something I'm trying to get better at! Suggestions welcome!)


I'm working on some woodland-related things at the moment, just for myself, for my portfolio. But I used the Colour Collective Twitter prompt and incorporated the chosen colour for this week, which was the bright green - I mixed permanent yellow, lemon yellow and cerulean, if you were wondering ;) I find that doing Colour Collective adds a bit of extra fun (and challenge!)


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