How to Paint Fur in Acrylics

Updated February 21, 2017

Painting fur with acrylic paint can be a challenge, but the trick lies in creating layers on your canvas and starting with the darker colours first. This gives the fur a more textured look. With the right tools and the right painting techniques, you can easily create a realistic painting of your favourite animal or pet using acrylic paint. When you have mastered the technique of painting fur with acrylics, you can capture the image of your favourite pet or animal.

Add a small amount of water to the acrylic paint to water it down.

Mix the colours you will be using on your palette. Don't over-mix the colours as this could flatten the colour.

Tone down the brightness of the canvas by covering it completely with burnt sienna. Use the second last dark colour on your palette, such as the darker greys or browns, depending on the colour of the fur. You will create more specific strands of fur with the lighter colours, so the darker colours will serve as a base.

Sketch an outline of the animal to use as a base.

Use a new brush to start the background colours until, drawing from your palette of colours, you are ready to start painting the fur.

Let each layer of paint dry before beginning the next layer. As you paint each further layer, use a lighter shade of acrylic paint to highlight the specific strands of fur.

Don't try to paint each individual strand of fur. Rather, let the fur strands shine through the layers. Use the small round brush to start in a single layer of fur using one of the colour mixtures. Don't fill the canvas completely.

Use a worn-out brush to create wispy and matted fur. The bristles will stick together as you create a stroke, giving the look of matted, messy fur. Use a newer brush to create more precise strands of fur.

Things You'll Need

  • Two round brushes
  • Small round brush
  • Acrylic paint
  • Canvas
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About the Author

Krista Martin has been writing professionally since 2005. She has written for magazines, newspapers and websites including Live Listings, "Homes & Living" magazine and the "Metro Newspaper." Martin holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in English from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Master of Journalism from the University of Westminster.