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Zesty Zebra

Video Duration: 18 mins

Estimated time to complete the lesson: 2-3 hours

(pause video as needed to complete steps, but please complete at your own pace)

This tutorial is recommended for adults and children 10+.

Use acrylics to create a vibrant and colourful background, layered with a white zebra design.

  • be guided step by step

  • learn valuable skills

  • design an attractive composition

  • pick up handy tips



  • watercolour paper or canvas

  • paints - primaries and white

  • brushes #6 and #0 round

  • fine mist sprayer

  • graphite pencil

  • white chalk (or light colour) pencil

  • palette

  • water

  • straw or empty pen

  • scrap paper

  • scissors


REMEMBER – there are no rules, don’t be afraid of experimenting!

These are my tips, to be used as as a guideline for creating this particular work, in conjunction with the video. Pause the video after each step and then complete that stage at your own pace. You can always go back to gain clarification on a particular aspect of the process:

  • PREPARE COLOURS - put out a small amount of your 3 primary colours and mix water into some
    of each, leaving some paint undiluted 

  • FIRST BACKGROUND LAYER - use your #6 brush and apply colour to the background. Remember
    to be loose and playful - there are no rules. Keep varying both colour and application but don’t
    overthink it! Be experimental, but also be patient. Make sure you leave white space between
    colours, but not too much!

  • DETAIL LAYER IN BACKGROUND - use your smaller brush to add to the background, do all of the
    above, just in a smaller and more detailed way. Allow this to dry completely at this stage

  • DRAW SUBJECT - you can either draw straight on to the background with a chalk pencil or use a
    template that you make yourself using a piece of paper to transfer the outline. Large area subjects
    work better than smaller or complicated subjects. Draw your subject on to a separate piece of
    paper, cut out and trace around this onto your background

  • WHITEWASH THE BACKGROUND - dilute some white paint and paint this loosely over the whole
    background, leaving the main subject colourful

  • WHITE DETAIL IN SUBJECT - use a more concentrated white mix to add details to the subject,
    thinking about the contours and patterns. A simple line design will work better - no shading at this

  • DARK DETAILS - dilute blue to add details sparingly. Use an even more diluted blue to add washes
    of shadow where appropriate. MAKE SURE ALL OF THE WHITE AREAS ARE DRY. Add any
    finishing touches you see as necessary.

QUESTIONS: Please feel free to send me an email at

Happy Creating!