DIY Black Cat Watercolor Painting

Black cats, harvest moons and the color orange are synonymous with Halloween, and this watercolor tutorial festively combines all three. You will use elements such as lifting to enhance highlights and layers to deepen lowlights, creating a moonlit autumn scene befitting All Hallow's Eve.

(Image: Lucy akins)

Things You'll Need

  • Watercolor paints

  • Palette

  • Water basin

  • Cold press watercolor paper

  • 1-inch round brush

  • No. 8 round brush

  • Pencil

  • Paper towel

(Image: Lucy Akins)


The paint colors used in this project are: Winsor Orange, Winsor Yellow and Lamp Black. Prepare your palette accordingly.

Step 1

Draw a simple circle on a blank sheet of watercolor paper to represent the moon. You can draw your harvest moon in the center of the paper or just off-center.

Step 2

Using your 1-inch round brush, paint the entire surface of the paper with a very light Winsor Orange, leaving a large white circle around the moon.

(Image: Lucy Akins)


Use circular strokes when painting around the moon to create the illusion of a glow.

Step 3

Dip your 1-inch brush in Winsor Yellow and while the orange paint is still wet, paint the outer side of the white circle, allowing the orange and yellow to blend slightly. Leave the moon unpainted.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 4

Allow the paint to dry slightly and then paint the inner side of the circle with yellow paint. Make sure you leave the moon white. Deepen the bottom of the picture with more orange paint if desired.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 5

Allow the paint to dry and then lightly draw the silhouette of a cat along with some branches in the foreground. In order to give your painting more interest, draw the cat off-center.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 6

Using very light Lamp Black, paint the outline of the cat with your No. 8 brush.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 7

Use your No. 8 brush to fill in the rest of the cat with a darker shade of Lamp Black, leaving a highlight at the top of the head and top of the torso.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 8

Deepen the color of the cat by applying another layer of Lamp Black.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 9

With a paper towel, "lift" some of the paint on the left hand side of the cat's body. This will indicate the highlights on the cat.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 10

Mix Lamp Black and Winsor Orange (1:3) to make brown. Using your No. 8 brush, paint in the branches and the details of the branches.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 11

Apply another layer of the brown paint on the branches to create shadows, this time using a little more Lamp Black.

(Image: Lucy Akins)

Step 12

Using the very tip of your No. 8 brush, paint some leaves if desired. Make some leaves darker than others and some bigger than others. You can also darken the shadows on the right side of the cat with a little more Lamp Black.

(Image: Lucy AKins)

Once the painting is completely dry, you can erase the pencil lines if desired.

(Image: Lucy Akins)