Watercolor Stingray Tutorial + Free Stingray Template!

When I did my #100daysofwatercolorwreaths project, I challenged myself to do a short series on arranging sea creatures on a wreath. Some of them were difficult, and some were really fun to do. I certainly had my favorites, and I think the stingray remains the top favorite. Keep reading to learn how to paint a stingray of your own!

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Stingray Title Photo

Materials:

  • Water and water cups
  • Paper towel or rag
  • Watercolor paint
  • Watercolor brushes (round sizes 2 and 6 or comparable sizes)
  • Watercolor paper
  • Light box (or bright, sunny window)
  • Washi tape or painter’s tape
  • Pencil and eraser

We’re going to use mostly the wet-on-wet method to paint our stingray. But we will also paint in layers to create depth and dimension.Stingray outline template for blog postFirst, download and print out the stingray template. You can print on any type of paper. We will transfer to watercolor paper later. There are four different outlines, and in this blog post, we’ll use one of them.

Next, use a light box or a bright sunny window to transfer the template to watercolor paper. Lay your watercolor paper on top of the template and use washi tape (or painter’s tape) to secure in place. Then lay both papers on top of the lightbox (or tape against a sunny window). Use a pencil to very lightly trace the outline onto your watercolor paper.

Once you’ve traced onto your watercolor paper, remove the template and get your watercolors ready!

I decided to use cool blues and greens for my stingray, but you can use whatever color you want! If you need a refresher on some beginner tips for watercolors, check it out here.

Stingray Wreath.jpg

When painting, notice how the light hits the subject, and where the darkest/lightest parts are. When we render light and dark as accurately as possible, the subject will have a more realistic look. (Please note that the photo above was painted during the #100daysofwatercolorwreaths, and the tutorial today is a brand new stingray, so the final colors will look different).

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We’ll start with the fin on the left. With your size 6 brush, lay down some clean water and then your paint color right along the edge. The paint should bleed into the water, filling it up. Add more paint if necessary. Draw a little bit of the color out to paint the top of the stingray. Keep the top of the stingray very light.

Then paint the underside of the other fin in the lightest hue.

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When the first layer has completely dried, paint another layer of the same color over the pelvin fin (the round bottom part where the tail starts). This should help darken that area. You can do the same with the fin on the left to darken it up more.

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Switch over to your size 2 brush, and let’s work on the fin on the right. When the second layer has completely dried, take your size 2 brush, and paint the outline of the fin on the right. Then quickly wash out your brush and draw out the color to create a gradient. Add some more paint if necessary.

Paint the tail with either brush size.

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When the fin on the right has dried, use your size 2 brush to paint small dots to add detail to your stingray.

And that’s it! Now you have a cute stingray!

Paint the rest of the stingrays, and share your work on Instagram with #watercolorwithTUD!

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21 Comments

  1. I really love your watercolor tutorials, I am going to try this stingray! I love your work and want to fill the walls of my house with them!

    Like

  2. I absolutely love your final outcome! Thanks so much for such a great watercolor tutorial! I love playing around with watercolors and will definitely have to try this out. Thanks again! Your work is stunning!

    Like

  3. This is a very good tutorial. I love the step by steps with the photos that you use to demonstrate the watercolor stingrays.

    Like

  4. I adore this tutorial. I have done a fair amount of water color, but really I am a beginner and usually do flowers or something like that. I am so excited to use this post to create some sting rays of my own. Thanks for sharing your creativity and technique!

    Like

  5. This is an awesome watercolor tutorial! I love watercolor, but unfortunately I’ve never been very good at it. Perhaps I should give it another try!! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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