WILDlife in Watercolor


Learn to create wildly colorful animal portraits in watercolor with artist and author Shaunna Russell.

Please Note: This class was included in the Watercolor Summit 2.0: Gouache Edition.

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Frequently Bought Together

Realistic Watercolor Animals

Learn the techniques you need to create realistic-looking animals with sheen, depth, and dimension in this class from Swedish artist Kristina Granberg.

MODULES 1-2: Introduction & Supplies

Meet artist and author Shaunna Russell and discover the tools she uses every day, from paint and paper to brushes and palettes.

MODULE 3: Basic Color Theory

Shaunna shares her tricks for keeping her colors bright and pure, without getting muddy on the page or in the palette. You’ll learn what colors look good as “neighbors,” but that don’t necessarily mix well together.

MODULE 4: Value Study

Shaunna’s animal portraits look realistic despite her use of wild colors because she has mastered the concept of “value” — or, the lightness or darkness of a paint. In this module, you’ll complete a value study exercise that will show you how to convey real-life objects using unconventional colors.

MODULE 5: Using a Reference Photo

In this module, you’ll learn how Shaunna sources reference photos, what to look for, and how to translate that to the page.

MODULE 6: Painting the First Layer

You’ll get started with the base layer of our class project, a bright and colorful leopard! Shaunna shows you what colors to use, where to put them, and how to keep them from turning into “mud.”

MODULE 7: Depth and Shadows

In the next layer, you’ll learn how to add depth and shadows to your art, taking clues from your reference photo.

MODULE 8: Eyes and Nose

Things start coming together in this module — the eyes, in particular, give life to any painting! Shaunna shares her proven recipe for creating gorgeous eyes with depth and soul.

MODULES 9-10: Final Details

Many would be tempted to stop after the last module… but Shaunna has done this hundreds of times and is a pro at knowing what final details to add to make your artwork pop. You’ll be surprised at how much time is dedicated to final details, but it really makes a big difference.

See what our students have made!




1 hour 45 minutes






Frequently Asked Questions

We think you'll love our classes, but if you're not absolutely satisfied within 30 days, just contact us at hello@artsummits.com and we'll refund your purchase, no questions asked.

You have lifetime access. Your content doesn't expire, so you can come back and revisit it anytime.

A supply list is included with each class, though we encourage you to work with what you have or can afford.

We'll create an account for you on our private student portal website, and you'll receive your login details via email. All of your classes and digital products will be easily accessible inside your student portal.

Video so good, it's better than being there in person.

With multiple camera angles and the ability to pause and rewind, our classes get you up close to the action so you don't miss a step.

Art Summits watercolor painting classes with Annie Mertlich of Wildfield Paper Co.
Woman painting with watercolors

You were made to create.

We believe anyone can be an artist... even if they never went to art school. The need to be creative is built right into our DNA, and sometimes it just takes the right medium and a little practice to light that creative fire!