How to paint a loose watercolour hare (sketchbook tutorial)

How to paint a loose watercolour hare (sketchbook tutorial)

In this simple sketchbook tutorial, I’ll show you how to paint a loose water colour Hare, capturing their unique long ears, sweet face and their orangey brown hues with a subtle pink.

You can read about my other hare observations in this journal entry.

I worked from a single photo for reference, which you can do too, or alternatively, you can paint along by just looking at the photos I’ve provided. If you’d like to use the same photo as me  – please contact me.

In my sketchbook, we’re going to use colour layering to build up the tones in our Hare. This process will be fast and enjoyable. Painting in this style will be relaxing, so grab your paint brush and give it a go right now.

What you’ll need:

If you don’t have the equipment and paints I recommend, get creative and try with what you have handy.

I recommend using a sketchbook for this short tutorial so that you can keep things nice and loose and really observe and practice the layering techniques.

  • The photo reference I used.
  • Mop paintbrush – Rosemary & Co Size 10/0
  • Daisy palette (for mixing watery paints)
  • Water bowl
  • Paper towel
  • Watercolour paper or any sketchbook paper/book (preferably cold pressed)
  • Paints (see colour list below). I use Winsor and Newton paints.

Paint colours needed:

  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Umber
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Quinacridone Violet
  • Lamp black
  • Payne’s Grey

Applying the Base Colours

Step 1: To my outlined pencil drawing of my hare, apply a watery wash of Yellow Ochre to the lighter areas you can see. Placing the yellow to the nose face, ears, keeping it light and watery.

*Tip* Take care when outlining the whiskers to preserve the white areas.

Step 2: Whilst still wet, drop a little of the Burnt Sienna colour lightly into the Yellow Ochre we had created in the first stage. Using a combination of these two colours and apply to the face and ears and other areas where you can see.

Step 3: Keeping these layers still wet, Introduce the Quinn Violet and drop into the ears; for colour enhancement. I love how these colours mix and merge on the paper to create beautiful overlapping effects. Working with these three colours, drop them into places you’d like enhancement and outline. With these three colours, you are creating form to the ears, face and neck. Leave these first layers now to settle and dry.


Step 4: Whilst drying, we will continue creating form to the eye. Creating a watery wash with yellow, outline the inner eye. Whilst wet, drop in a light watery wash of Burnt Sienna. I love how these two colours create a shade all of their own.

Adding the black

Step 5: Next we are going to create a watery wash of Lamp Black with Payne’s Grey for a bluey hue enhancement.

Using a combination of the two colours, roughly outline the face and whiskers. Extending the colour outwardly to continue the form in and around the eye.

Step 6: Continuing with Payne’s Grey, I’m going to give an indication of the body shape by outlining and continuing to extend the Payne’s Grey to ears and face also. Don’t forget those ears too! Using a sideways motion with your paintbrush create the shading to the ears.

Step 7: Using Burnt Umber, outline the features to the face with a watery wash to define the eyes, cheeks, ears, neck, and around the whiskers.

Make any final adjustments where you feel necessary. I have included a mix of Lamp Black and Burnt Umber to get a darker brown shade. I love experimenting! I’m going to drop this into the darkest parts of my Hare for more depth. Once you’re happy, leave to dry and settle back.

*Tip* Remember to embrace all watermarks – they add lots of texture to your hare.

How’s yours looking? Here’s how mine turned out:

I hope this brief sketch book guide has helped you to paint your own Hare, and given you the confidence to experiment with your watercolour hues.

If you paint your own Hare, I would love to see your results, so tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #jenniferrosegallery so I can see how you got on. You can also find me on Facebook.

Make sure you hear about my latest step by step guides, video mini-classes, and inspiration journal entries – all for free- by signing up to my newsletter.

Happy Painting,

Love Jennifer Rose xx



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