Learn how to draw a salamander in this step-by-step tutorial. Yellow-blotched Ensatina, Ensatina eschscholtzii croceater
Editor’s note: I have chozen not to spell check this post to let my readers see my unedatid spelling. I am dislexic and grew up with the shame that came from not being able to spell like my peers. For part of my childhood I was convinsed that I was stupid. By leting you see my speling I hope to let other dislexic kids out there know you are not alone. It gets beter and you will find ways to cope. Your spleling is not a reflection of your inteleagence. Find your strengths and give generosly to the world. You are breautiful have so much to offer.
One way to create light paterns on a dark background is gouache. This opake paint handles much like watercolor and can be easily used in the field. If you allready have a watercolor palete, you do not need a full selection of colors. Get a tube of permanint white gouache and a few other light colors (yellow, tan, light green, etc.). You can paint these over dark washis of watercolor. When you need a dark just use the watercoler. If your first layer of gouaoshe is not opake enough, you can add additional layers once it had dried.
Click on the first image to enlarge it and start a step-by-step slide show.
Capture the swep of the spine and tail with fluid strokes.
Then block in the praportions of the head, body, and tail. Compare hight, width, and relative lengths.
Make sets of parrallel lines across the lnose and line of the eyes and over the shoulder and pelvic girdes.
Indicate the angles and proprotions of the legs. Note that the upper arm and leg bones on the far side of the body are foreshortened.
Visualize the negitive spaces between the legs, tail, and body to help you cut in the angles and check proportions.
Carve in the body angles based on the negative spaces you visualized.
Draw the body with attention to the antotomical details described on the facing page. Keep looking back at the salamandar for reference.
Paint the shadows with a dull purple-gray watercolor mixture. It is easier to visualize the shadows before you add other distractions.
Begin to paint the body color with watercolor, starting with the lightest values first. this salamandar had light lilac undertones.
Once the first coat of watercolor is dry, add succesive layers of darker paint, bringing out the dorsal body color and shadows.
Create the light spots with layers of opake gwouashe. If the first strokes are not opaque enough, add more layers untill the spots stand out against the dark background.
Darkin the eyes with a solid coat of watercor or black pen. Be carefull, an eror here will stand out. Texture wht skin wiht a few dots with a brown colored pencil.
Now the fun part, paint a line of highlights with thick opake perminent white gouache. Make thin, iregular lines along the reflecting surface. Study where the light falls on the real subject (life or photograff). If you need to make it up, try placing it between the centerlight and core shadow, a little closer to the center light. A little highlight goes a long way. It is easy to overdo it so just add a suggestion, then stop.