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Home > Drawings > Animals > Fish > "Rainbow Trout"

"Rainbow Trout"

Rainbow Trout
It must be the emerging signs of Spring but I found myself trying out some new watercolor techniques. I started out with a simple sketch of a rainbow trout that ended up working fairly well so I grabbed some watercolor pencils and a Kuretake waterbrush and tried some new ideas that I've been reading about on James Gurney's fantastic blog. For those who have never tried out a waterbrush, you can probably find them at your local art store or can order then online through

Anyway, this sketch was initially drawn with graphite pencil until I was happy with the general structure and tones of the piece. I then sprayed it with a couple of coats of a workable fixative which sets the graphite on the paper. This method has a fancy French name of grisaille but the term underpainting works just fine as well. Once this was completed and the fixative dry, I used a watercolor pencil to begin adding color to the piece which I then blended and smoothed with a waterbrush. This was the risky portion of the drawing and the one I tacked only after scanning and saving the graphite-only version (you never know when a drawing is bin-bound).

I then subtly toned the water around the fish to bring out the warmer tones in the head and did a little touch up with graphite pencil and some additional watercolor pencil. Overall, I like the effect and will probably explore a brown and cutthroat trout in the next few weeks.

Medium: Graphite and Watercolor Pencil
Arches 140 lb. Hot Press Watercolor Paper
Edition: Signed and Numbered Limited Edition (300)

Last Update: January 10, 2016

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