Painting Basics TRACK: Lesson 6, Underwater Creatures


Choose an underwater creature: fish, crabs, lobsters, and more. Aim to capture a three-dimensional feeling of form and a wide range of textures and colors.


Manette, Helen


Consider the background as well, is your creature in a specific environment, or do you want to do a close up view which minimizes the background?

Sea Anenome 15
Flickr album: sea anenomes
reference images

We have a collection of underwater creatures on our free reference photo collection on Flickr. Or, you can search for your own photos.

If you want to get ambitious, visit your local seafood market!

Lobster Reference #158

Aquarium Live Cams

Coral Predators CamAquarium of the Pacific

Recommended media

Any paint medium: watercolorgouacheacryl gouacheoilswater mixable oilsacrylics. We recommend using the same paint medium for the entire track.

Olivia Tonge, Flower Crab
Olivia Tonge, Flower Crab, 1910


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Drawing Lobsters

See how to draw lobsters realistically using digital painting techniques in Adobe Fresco, and a mixed media technique using watercolor and oil pastel on Yupo paper.

Working from detailed reference photos, tips are explained for how to capture the color variations and textures in a lobster.

Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Guest Teaching Artist Mia Rozear.

Drawing Crabs

See how to draw realistic crabs in soft pastel and Adobe Fresco. This video demos how to draw quick sketches and how to transition to a more polished and finished drawing of crabs.

Explained in this drawing demo is how to explore how to capture the gesture and structure of the crabs while also achieving the range of textures, surfaces, and colors on the crabs.

Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Guest Teaching Artist Mia Rozear.


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