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Painting a Humpback Whale Jacket

Updated: Apr 24

Join me behind-the-scenes today! 🐋

Hi Friends,

There's always something in the works in the studio. Between commissions and the fact that I never run out of ideas, so as soon as one piece is finished, I'm excited to get another one on the mannequin for painting. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at my process during my latest creation: a shimmery, summery Humpback Whale jacket. 💙

Step 1. Planning

a mom and calf humpback whale underwater
Photo by Swanson Chan on Unsplash

After figuring out what my "blank canvas" is calling for, I often sit down with some reference photos of the subject matter to help inform the design idea I already have in my head. Sometimes this step draws me in a new direction from my original plan: for instance, my first idea for this jacket was to have a single whale across the back. But after looking at photos, I decided it would be more fun to show off different angles of the animal and cover more of the piece by featuring two.

Step 2. Outlines and Mixing

Mixing paint in front of a white jacket with the outline of a whale on it

Next, I put a rough sketch of my design onto the clothing item. About 80% of the time I do this in paint. When I'm less sure about getting proportions right the first time--as was the case with these whales--I do it in water soluble pencil first. Then I mix my first color.

Step 3. Painting

The darker shades of these whales were done in silver and pearlescent blue, with lighter areas in pearlescent white and pearlescent turquoise. I used three different sized brushes throughout, my choice depending on the coverage and level of detail needed.

Close up of a hand painting a humpback whale

I almost added an abstract background reminiscent of water to the design--but ended up preferring the clean look of the white. It seems more bright and summery, and the contrast keeps the whales as the star of the show.

The Reveal

This piece was a lot of fun to make, and I love the final result. 😊 Let me know any questions you have about my process or materials in the comments!

If you'd like advocate for your favorite animal or cause by wearing it on a custom hand-painted piece, get in touch here:

The Studio Assistant and I are already busy in the planning stages of our next piece!

A rabbit sniffing a pot of paint in front of draped lace fabric

Until next time,


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