The painting above was taken from a photograph I saw online last week of a panda in a zoo in China. He looks like he is playing a flute not eating his dinner, which makes this painting even more endearing. One task the class had to complete yesterday evening was make up a background.

How to: Make a line drawing of the major shape, the panda and the bamboo shoot.

Prepare your palette for the background: weak washes of greens, reds, blues, purples.

Paint in the background first. Wet the background area of the paper with a hake brush, apply the paint with a round headed brush, let the weak washes mingle.

Paint the panda: mix a chromatic black and start from the top of the animal. Use a fan brush for large areas of fur, works a treat.

Paint in shadow on panda using weak wash of chromatic black.

Paint in the bamboo shoot using the colours from the background.

Paint bamboos and leaves in the background. You can work on this in many layers, that is a personal decision.

This exercise will take at least two hours to complete