Step by step-Painting-Cat-Head-With-Acrylic
For this bobcat head, start with a tan base color and then add three other colors: a light gray, a darker bluish color and a dark value of burnt Umber and Ultramarine blue with some Cadmium-barium red Deep. The tan and grays represent the middle values; the darkest value here is one step away, on my imaginary value scale, from my final darkest value. defer to a paint swatch to make sure that there is a clear distinction in values, so they will play off each other in contrast. It will take several more coats of the dark mixture to build it up to a solid value where necessary. Use this dark value with varying amounts of water to make thin washes. You can "draw" with these to lay in the dark areas and start painting hair details.
Add more details with the dark paint mixture to make some areas, such as the eyes, ears, nose and mouth, more opaque using several coats of paint. Add Cadmium-Barium Red Deep and Yellow Ochre Light to the dark. mixture and thin with water to paint hair and suggest more details, starting around the eyes. For this area of short fur on the head, use a lot of short strokes, even to paint the shapes that appear to be long, dark lines on the forehead. These may be formed by the fur pattern or by head structure, but keep the strokes short and broken, like the short hairs will be. At this point, establish a base color value on the nose and in the eye.
Continue the process-of suggesting hair and details, but now add a similar process with the light areas of the fur. Try mixing Cerulean blue, Ultramarine blue, Cadmium-barium red Deep and white to your base tan color. You are looking for a slightly lighter value than the base color. It represents the overhead light reflecting off the fur on the upper surface of the head and should have an almost lavender look. Use the same short strokes to suggest this light on the fur. You can work these areas of light and dark back and forth, refining and detailing as much as you want. This is when the painting starts to look more three-dimensional.
Make your "lavender" light paint another step lighter by adding white and continue fine-tuning the fur in short strokes. Keep enough color in the mixture so it will not result in a "chalky" look. For the white areas around the eyes and muzzle, add white and a touch of Cadmium Yellow Medium. mix burnt Umber, Ultramarine blue and a little Cadmium barium red Deep to make a final dark paint which accents the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and a few of the dark spots of fur. Add the whiskers last, using a brush with a sharp tip.