Kitty! Of the big kind! 😀

I’ve been wanting to paint a tiger for a while now. The last full painting I did (aside from a few small studies), was back in 2008 and it was a bit different to this one, lol!

I downloaded a great reference photo by Angeline Rijkeboer on Paint My Photo, prepped a 10×12 inch canvas board and started painting.

Normally I finish the background before transferring my main image to canvas, but it’s fun to change things up a bit every now and then. So with this one I decided to outline the tiger and his black stripes before working on the background. That being said, I definitely prefer my usual way of working. 😉

Tiger Painting - DreamerFor the background, I wanted a simple, soft transitioning green from light to dark so the tiger would be the main focus. You can see I went over the tiger’s outline in quite a few areas but I wasn’t concerned. I’m using acrylics after all and you can always paint over mistakes!

I made a grey tone with Titanium white and Mars Black and tinted it with Alpine Green, mixing in more white or black as needed. This is one of the easiest ways to achieve neutral tones for backgrounds – white + black + tint colour. There are other ways, but this is by far the easiest and it suits my style of work.

Tiger Painting - Dreamer

Once the background was done I blocked in the basic colours of the tiger using Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna and a bit of Van Dyke Brown for the orange parts of his fur and mixed in a bit of Australian Ghost Gum for the white fur.

I use Derivan Matisse Flow Acrylics and they have slightly different names for some of their paints. You can see their paint chart here:

Tiger Painting - Dreamer

I love doing the the subject’s eyes as soon as possible because they give life to a painting and inspire me to keep going.

Sometimes when a painting doesn’t work the way I want it too, I feel tempted to just stop and work on something new – but that definitely wasn’t the case with this guy!

Tiger Painting - Dreamer

You can see that he’s almost done in the image below!

I used a filbert brush for most of his fur except for the really fine strands that were done with a liner brush. I added a bit of Paynes Grey mixed with Titanium White for the blue/shadow areas of his white fur. And a little Naples Yellow Light for the yellowish areas of his fur.

Quite often I’ll have a name sorted out when I’m in the sketching phase of an artwork, but this guy hit the canvas so fast that he still didn’t have a name by this stage!

Tiger Painting - Dreamer

Whiskers are one of the last things I paint and it can be a bit scary knowing the entire painting is done and if I mess up the whiskers, I could mess up the whole thing.

I don’t have a steady hand and often struggle with straight or fine lines in my work, but Jason Morgan has a wonderful video with tips on how to paint whiskers: I use his method now and it has made a huge difference not only for painting whiskers, but other areas that require a fine line.

For his nose, I used a combination of Burnt Sienna, Magenta Light and Titanium White. And after more refining and adjustments, the tiger is finished!

I took a while to think of a name but finally settled on Dreamer, because he has a dreamy kind of look in his eyes. 🙂

Do you think it suits him?

Tiger Painting - DreamerAcrylics on 10×12 canvas board.

I used a photo by Angeline Rijkeboer on Paint My Photo as a reference:

Prints are available of this painting in my Etsy Shop:


Hi, I’m Kat! An Australian artist who loves painting fantasy characters and illustrations.


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