In the past, I've made videos about painting black hair and also about coloring something that's black in general. I thought why not add to that series and cover black fur on animals.
For this demonstration, I'm going to be using this dog.
Now, as I said in my video on painting things that are black, you almost never want to start with straight black. This looks very severe and because you can't get any darker, you have no way to paint shadows and so whatever you're painting will look flat. If you really look at this dog's fur, you'll see it's really mostly shades of gray, brown, and blue. I can even see some purple in it. Very little of it is really truly black.
I'm not accustomed to doing this, but if you like you can use a color picker tool to help you find what colors are really in something before you start painting. Here are a couple videos that explain how to do that.
From Amie Howard Art
From Lachri Fine Art
I started by taking some blue that was already on my palate and mixing it into some black so it would more grayish and muted. I applied this as a wash all over the dog's face, except for the darkest parts. Over those, I layered brown mixed with black, and finally, straight black.
I thought the blue was too light and obvious, though so I built it up to darken it and make it more subtle
So why the blue? Well, like I said, I can't start with straight black, because than I can't add my shadows. I always need to start with a lighter color. Now, when it when you're looking for a lighter alternative to black, the obvious choice is gray. But, I try to avoid gray with animals, because it can make the animals look old. Using a bluish gray also gives a nice sheen to the animals fur.
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Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolors
Royal Talens Van Gogh watercolors
Fabriano Studio 140 pound cold press watercolor paper
Painter of portraits and wildlife