Live Lessons: Orangutan With Watercolor Pencils

Orangutan Painting with Watercolor Pencils
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This lesson series features:
10 Hours of Instruction
10 Videos

About This Lesson Series...

In this lesson series, we develop an image of an Orangutan with watercolor pencils on watercolor paper. We use watercolor pencils to gradually layer the colors to produce depth. Contrast is gradually increased with each layer. We also exaggerate some of the observed colors to make the painting more interesting.

Lesson 1 (1:07:54)

In lesson one, we sketch out the contours of the Orangutan with a graphite pencil using the grid technique.

Lesson 2 (1:10:45)

In lesson two, we discuss watercolor pencil techniques, apply liquid friskit and paint the background with watercolor.

Lesson 3 (58:34)

In lesson three, we begin with applications of watercolor pencils on the head of the animal.

Lesson 4 (1:04:05)

In lesson four, we increase the contrast in the face and add more color before expanding outward to the surrounding fur.

Lesson 5 (1:01:09)

In lesson five, we work to the right side of the body, increasing contrast and laying the base applications for the arm.

Lesson 6 (1:02:10)

In lesson six, we continue work on the arm and right side of the body.

Lesson 7 (1:03:08)

In lesson seven, we harmonize the work thus far and continue increasing contrast on the ride side of the body.

Lesson 8 (1:08:36)

In lesson eight, we complete the hands.

Lesson 9 (1:18:01)

In lesson nine, we begin work on the wooden stump.

Lesson 10 (1:11:26)

In lesson ten, we complete the artwork.

Orangutan with Watercolor Pencils

Resources for this Lesson...

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Photo Reference

Finished Result

Here's what you'll need...

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Lesson Discussion

  1. When will lesson 2 be posted? I need to catch up as I missed part of beginning and end of the live lesson. Thanks, much appreciated.

  2. Wanted to post a follow up to the frisket ripping the paper. I tried the monkey again.. for a 3rd time and used Canson 140lb cold press paper. The frisket didn’t rip the paper, and in general the paint spreads and flows considerably better than using the Seth cole 140lb cold press paper.

  3. Hello. I’m new at this and have a simple question. What is rough paper? 300# watercolor paper? Any way I can find 300# watercolor paper but not any thing called rough paper.
    Thank you for the lessons I have found them to be VERY helpful and fun. Tks


  4. Hello again. Sorry, I should have watched lesson 3 before I made my other comment. I now know that rough watercolor paper is 300# watercolor paper. Tks again

  5. This is my first time using this medium. I find that when I go back in on a dry sheet, there is a sheen that does not let me add pencil work. I have I pushed it too far?
    Really enjoying this series and think I might start over again.
    Thank you

  6. I really am excited that you will do a watercolor course. I’ve tried learning to paint using watercolor through books, YouTube videos, etc. and it has been really challenging. Of course, I’ve viewed the various videos you have on The Virtual Instructor, and I really hope you’ll do a deeper dive into painting with watercolor in the new course. Because of this Live Lesson, I’m experimenting with mixing watercolor paints and watercolor pencils and enjoying the process.

  7. lets spend as much time on the log as necessary to get the best detail ..//We came this far with great detail why stop now and this is a learning great learning opportunity.

  8. Hello Matt and Ashley,
    I’m about to start the orangutan painting. Getting ready to trace it I tried a “masking fluid marker” which also says “drawing gum” on the marker’s barril, on a small area of scrap arches watercolor 140 lb paper (masking fluid mentioned on lesson 2) Well, I could not remove it from the arches paper for the life of me. I tried removing it by scratching it off with my nails, toothpick, kneaded eraser, and rubber eraser with no success. Damaged the little area after I scratched really hard to remove it.
    I’ve TRIED it before on bristol smooth paper where it was easy to just lift it and pull it off…with some tiny, barely noticeable spots of paper coming off. So per my personal experience, it doesn’t work on watercolor paper at all.
    I will make a run to the store to get the orange flisket you’re using to hopefully catch up with orangutan painting by next live session!

  9. Matt and Ashley,
    First of all, I thoroughly enjoy The Virtual Instructor experience. Soooo much amazing content, soooo much to learn from!! It makes me smile every time I follow your super easy to follow lessons.
    I can’t wait to the next live lesson! 😃

  10. Hello Matt,

    Still working on Fran Stan the oragutan. Was rewatching the stump as it is all I have left to finish.

    I just realized I have the same hair dryer!! Lol Does that say something about my age?


    • Hi David,

      I would caution against using masking fluid over finished areas. There is a chance that the masking fluid will pull up the pigment or damage the paper.

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