Cute Pet Portrait in Oils – Developing Forms

In this series we will be making a pet portrait in oils. In this session we will be using halftones to develop smaller forms, while adjusting and enhancing the colours.

Reference Image:


  • Canvas
  • Brushes (one medium and two small)
  • Solvent (mineral spirits etc.)
  • Linseed Oil
  • Easel
  • Palette
  • Palette Cup

Oil Paint

  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Yellow


  • Begin by seeing if there are any colours that are a bit (too dull perhaps).
  • If there are, mix up new colours and test them, once you’re happy you can use these colours as you develop the smaller forms (killing two birds with one stone).
  • Develop the forms using a smaller brush and mixing up halftones (more values between the shadows and lights)
  • Work your way around the chosen area (in my case I focused on the head).
  • Look for all the medium and smaller forms, once they’re in place you can leave the piece to dry.