Koala painted in Gouache

This painting of a koala is taken from one of my photos while I was visiting Australia Zoo about 3 months ago.

I usually start with the eyes and noses of animals, and beaks if I’m painting a bird. Then if I’m happy I move on to complete the painting.IMG_3662

As I started painting rather late, I only managed to paint the koalas head, so the rest was finished over the next few days.

I believe a good painting is observing all the fine details that makes each animal unique.

In this case I spent more detail on the nose and getting all the little freckles on the koalas ears.IMG_3663

Next I painted a dark under coat of what I could see in the koalas fur, the shadows. Then I started painting the darker hairs.IMG_3666

After the darker hairs I moved onto painting the lighter hairs and made sure I captured all the swirls. If you look closely you can see that the hair has so many different directions.

The single fur starts off like a squirrel and seem to change further down the body and almost become more like wool of a sheep. This was hard to paint the change in appearance.IMG_3668

After revisiting several areas and a few touchups on the nose and chin, I thought about how I was going to anchor this little animal down.

The tree that the koala was sitting in was sawn off and didn’t look natural, also it wasn’t a eucalyptus tree.

I got out a spare piece of paper and practice three different trees trunks before deciding I was comfortable enough to try the real thing. Luckily I did as I stuff the first two up.


The eucalyptus brach was made up of mainly water and very little gouache pigment at all.

I think next time I’ll start with the tree it’s less stressful.

This is one of my favourite so far, I think because of all the problems that these poor guys are having with all the bush fires this season. Hopefully this will be someone pride and joy once when they all go up for sale later in the year.

Do you have a favourite Australian animal ?


7 thoughts on “Koala painted in Gouache

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