Tricking People Into Thinking You Can Paint, Part II (DIY: Animal Portrait)

Ok guys, it’s the update I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for on the edge of your seats.

(By the way, every time I start a new blog entry I want to be all like “ok Y’ALL” or something equally annoyingly Texan. I don’t speak that way, so I don’t know where this urge is coming from. Anyway, just throwing that out there.)

So remember that time I started a painting with this lovely little outline:


And then was like, whoops sorry guys, forgot to take pictures! And ended up with this:


And left you all like this:


No? If you don’t remember, you can read about it here. (You can also find the materials I used if you follow the link.)

So here is the breakdown, step by step, of how to actually trick people into thinking you can paint.

DIY: Animal Portrait

Start with a good quality photo.


(I am not good with backgrounds, so I “intentionally” leave them out as part of my “style” ;)

Then, using a photo editor like Picasa, print out your photo “poster-size”. I had to play with this one a bit to get the right size for my canvas. I think it wound up taking 9 pages of printer paper. (Side note: when you go to print the poster pages, make sure you select the shrink to fit option, and not the crop to fit option.)

Then cut out the white edges around the pages so your picture lines up correctly. Tape the colored edges together.


Now cut out the image you want to put on the canvas.


Then trace around the image. I just drew blobs around the cow’s feet since the feet were hidden in the grass, and then googled “cow hooves” and drew them from the pictures.


Then I cut out large sections of the cow where there are logical “lines” (i.e. around the horns, eyes, ears, hooves, legs, etc.) You can be as detailed or not as you want, the more detailed the more realistic it will be, the less detailed the more abstract it will be. Either way it’s going to look good. If you want to be super detailed you can follow the lines of shadows and color variations. I did a little of this. I would recommend using a closer range of colors if you’re going more detailed, and a wider range (more dramatic differences between colors) if you’re going to do a more abstract piece.


Now comes the fun part, painting! I basically treat it like a paint by number. I sit with the original painting in front of me and try to get my colors fairly close. Here are pictures as my painting progressed. I try to start with something easier and move on the the harder stuff later. Don’t worry if you mess up or decide you don’t like your color choices, wait for them to dry and you can paint right over the top.






After I’m finished with the color portion, I use white paint to cover the rest of the canvas and touch up any little boo-boos I might have made. It also sharpens the edges.

Hopefully my mom likes her birthday present! Please let me know if you try this out, I would love to see your results!


2 thoughts on “Tricking People Into Thinking You Can Paint, Part II (DIY: Animal Portrait)

  1. Pingback: Home Makeover and House Party | Veterinarianess

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