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Painting a fluffy Bumblebee with acrylic paint.

acrylic Bumblebee how to paint

These cute little guys are not that hard to paint and can add personality and life to a picture.They can be the main subject or hidden away as a nice surprise if some one looks closely enough.

First off get some reference material. Take some photos or find some pictures of bumblebees.

Paint Colours

Pthalo Green, Permanent Alizarine, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Raw Sienna, Tinting White

Step 1 Draw in the bumblebee

Completely finish your background then draw in your outline of the bumblebee

Step 2 Black stripes

Look at your reference and paint in the black parts of you bumblebee. Here I have used a mix of Pthalo green and Permanent Alizarine to make my black. I find this mix gives a really good black for floral pictures and I usually use this for the black on my insects.

Step 3 Yellow Stripes

Paint in the yellow stripes using a mid tone yellow. I have used Cadmium yellow medium here.

Step 4 Shape the body

Using Raw Sienna and referring to your reference put in the shadow parts of the bumblebee on the yellow. Keep in mind your light source for your picture if it is different from your reference material. Notice that I am not worried about getting some of it on the black parts as it looks good to have a little yellow showing around your black anyway.

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Step 5 Yellow fluff

Using a brush that will paint good fine lines and using your Cadmium yellow medium again paint in the fluff on the body of the bumblebee. Use short flicking motions and put some on the black areas as well. I use a Liner Brush for this as it holds more paint than a small brush and I like the slightly random look you get from it as it doesn't always go right where you think it will. That way my bumblebee doesn't look to tidy and precise. I can also get really fine lines with this brush.

Step 6 Black Fluff

Now do the same thing only using your black. Have some of the yellow you put on the black peaking through. Also overlay those yellow stripes little lines of black the soften edges of the stripes. Good ahead and do your legs and other details in black also. Taking note of your reference for the shape and placement of the legs. Make sure you connect the legs to the right parts of the body or it will look unnatural. Think about this when you place the wings as well.

Step 7 Adding White

Bumblebees often have a white Bottom, refer to you reference to see where to put your white highlights on your bumblebee. Think about where the light will be hitting it in your picture. For the white I use Tinting white sometimes called mixing white.


Never to late to make adjustments.

Now at this stage when I stepped back and looked at my bumblebee I thought he was looking a bit flat on top so I added more fluff on top to round him out. I was then alot happier with the shape.

Step 8 Wing outline

Using your black and your fine brush put in the outline of the wings and a few of the veins.

Step 9 Filling in the Wings

Fill the wing shape up with some iridescent Medium if you have some, it will make a very subtle sparkle which makes it look like the wings are catching the light. Paint in a few highlights on the wings where the light would hit them with your white paint.


Step 10 Veins

Using your fine brush put in a few more veins on the wings over the iridescent and white paint. Don't get to carried away you don't need to paint every one and you want to keep your lines very fine to keep that delicate look.

Now don't forget to put in the shadow of the bumblebee if he is sitting on something to ground him.  I don't know why but I always think of bumblebees as he.

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