Here I have started to fill in the black parts of the underbelly and legs. I love capturing all the colours in the black fur - such as the lilac and pinky highlights and the deep blues and aubergine giving movement to the darker parts. It is always important to add light to a black animal as their body shape can sometimes get lost in the darkest parts.
The fur on a red panda was a new experience for me as it is soft thick and dense to protect them from cooler temperatures and fuzzy / rugged looking at times. So it wasn't a simple brushstroke I was after showing singular hairs as such, but a rough matted appearance to represent the wooley fuzzy look. I experimented with different techniques and found the best approach was to have your brush almost dry with the paint on it giving short quick bursts of direction, layering and movement is so important when capturing fur on any animal.
The feet were also fun. The red panda's feet point inwards and the thick white fur on the soles of the feet offer protection from the cold and hides scent glands. This fur on the sole of their paws is similar to the snow leopard - who is the red panda's primary predator in the wild. You can't really see his feet in the painting but there is a slight hinting at the white underpart where he grips onto the branch.
Did you know?
- A female red panda can eat approx. 200,000 bamboo leaves in one day! - The red panda is the mascot of the International Tea Festival in Darjeeling - Also known as the lesser panda, it was discovered 48 years before the giant panda.