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Before you buy, DIY! Our DIY projects will inspire you to take a new look at items you might already own or that you spot at the local flea market. Whether you are an expert or just starting out, this collection of DIY tutorials will have you feeling empowered to tackle your own projects in no time. Make sure you share your creations with us using #decoartprojects for a chance to be featured.

Frankie the Frog Painting

By: Cindy
August 25, 2020

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Frankie the Frog Painting
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Meet Frankie the Frog! This beautiful tree frog painting is made using our DecoArt Media® Fluid Acrylics. Follow the steps below to learn how to make your own.

Items needed:

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Cobalt Teal Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Pyrrole Red
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Phthalo Green-Yellow
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Diarylide Yellow
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Pyrrole Orange
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Payne's Grey
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics 8oz - Titanium White
  • Canson Watercolor Board
  • Gray or black transfer paper
  • Stylus
  • Paper towels
  • Round Watercolor Brush #5
  • Large Flat Wash 1" or larger


Preparation: Lightly transfer pattern using gray or black transfer paper

NOTE: There will basically be 2 layers to this painting. An undercoat which will consist of shadows, a color foundation, and a second coat which will be the final top layer of color and definition. You may need to go back and enhance certain areas to your liking.

Instruction #1 - fullsizeoutput 20
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Frog on Reed

Step 1:

Begin by placing your underpainting of the shadows on the legs and under the neck and
belly. Start with the legs. Work in small areas section by section.

Use a mix of Cobalt Blue Hue and Pyrrole Red for a blue purple mix. Thin to a good medium to thin consistency. Brush along the darkest area first one time.

Quickly rinse your brush, pat once on a paper towel, and spread the paint to a thinner and lighter consistency away from the darkest area.

For the under chin and belly area us the same mix but with more water to make the color lighter. Run the color first under the chin and along both sides of the neck, rinse, pat, and pull your color into the center of the mass, lightening as it does so.

Add a touch of Phthalo Green-Yellow to this mix and place the shadow along the left side of the reed. Under the frog first where it would be darkest, under the toes and between them, rinse, pat and pull the color away towards the right side. It does not have to go all the way to the right but if it does and it is lighter than under the frog you are good to go.

Use a lighter mix for above the frog just for color variation later on.

Instruction #2 - frankiestep1
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Step 2:

Use Diarylide Yellow with a touch of Burnt Sienna to add color to the toes, knee, and legs.

Use the same principal throughout when adding color, add a little along a dark edge, rinse, pat, and then spread.

Meld the shadow and the color slightly with the yellow mix going over the purple. No hard edges. Even when dry a damp brush will move water color around to a certain extent.

With a very thin version of Yellow mix add just a tint of color to the moon shaped “froggy
butt” and the lower part of the chest working it slightly into the upper purple area - no harsh lines or stops and starts of the color.

Instruction #3 - frankiestep2
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Step 3:

Base in the head and neck of the frog with Phthalo Green-Yellow mixed with a touch of Diarylide Yellow and Cobalt Blue for a nice Frog Green.

I outline the head and around the eyes with a good medium consistency color, rinse, pat, and spread so it becomes very light over the mouth and around the cheeks. Catch the little green area on the left below the chin.

Add a nice curve of a light Diarylide Yellow right along the upper lip line.

Instruction #4 - frankiestep3
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Step 4:

Base in the reed with Pyrrole Red and a touch of Pyrrole Orange. This is pretty intense so you don’t need to overly thin.

You MUST let this dry before you do the black of the eye or it will spider web together. If you don’t wait and you do spider web, quickly take a paper towel and blot it gently.

Once the red is dry use a thick mix (damp brush only) of Payne's Gray for the black. You can use Black if it is all you have, I just prefer Payne's Gray.

Be sure to rinse your brush very well before going back to your other colors now.

Instruction #5 - frankiestep4
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Step 5:

Reed: Fill in the remainder of the reed with a mix of Phthalo Green-Yellow and Diarylide
Yellow. Keep your color the lightest on the right side. For interest, I did not run the reed off the ends, I just let it disappear on both ends, but the choice is yours.

Allow Frankie to dry or hit with a hair dryer for a moment before adding your top layers.
This will help prevent pilling of the paper.

NOTE: After adding additional coloration to the frog and the branch, you may decide to
enhance your shadows. This all depends on how much water you used in any of your paint layers. Always remember to add a little color, rinse your brush, pat on a paper towel, and then move it around. Failure to do this will result in too much color being added and moved.

Instruction #6 - frankiestep5
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Step 6:

Frog legs: Use Cobalt Blue Hue with a tiny touch of Payne's Gray very lightly as a wash
over your dark leg and arm shadows. Reminder again - touch of color, rinse, pat, move color around.

Instruction #7 - frankiestep6
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Step 7:

Frog head: Mix a slightly darker version of Phthalo Green-Yellow with a touch of the Cobalt Blue and Diarylide Yellow. Same process, run along the top head ride and side, rinse, pat, and move color towards the center keeping it lightest right along the upper lip.

Reinforce the yellow highlight along the upper lip if needed. For “froggy” texture when dry pat in a touch of Burnt Sienna along the nose / forehead.

Frog Body: Use your same green head mix to go over the yellow of the legs and blend into the blue for no harsh lines with the exception of the leg to our right. Refer to the photo.

Instruction #8 - frankiestep7
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Step 8:

Hands and Feet: Mix a reddish orange color using Pyrrole Red and Pyrrole Orange. Run the bead of color along the outside of the finger or toe, rinse, pat and smooth the color to the lighter side of the finger or toe.

Work the color into the “body” of the hand or foot and allow it to be lighter. By pulling
the darker streak on angles into the back of the “hand or foot” you can give the impression of webbing. Just do one toe at a time or your color may dry too fast.

Instruction #9 - Frankiestep8
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Step 9:

Evaluate your shading under the chin, belly and butt. Add more shading as needed
and enhance the yellow belly if needed.

Instruction #10 - frankiestep9
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Step 10:

Evaluate your eyes. The eyes toward the center of the frog should be a little lighter than the section to the back. Use a little more red to the back and a little more orange to the front.

To prevent “crayon” looking eyes, clean your brush then dab and rub some of the color off here and there, to streak the color. ALLOW TO DRY or use a hair dryer.

Touch up the black of the eye with either Payne's Gray or Black. Add a tiny white highlight. Since this is so small, yes I add white rather than trying to mask or work around.

Instruction #11 - frankiestep10
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Step 11:

Adjust the reed, add any additional color or shading as needed repeating the reed and
shading steps.

Instruction #12 - frankiestep11
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Be sure your painting is dry. Use your large brush to make a large thin puddle of background color, I used Green.

Rinse your brush to clean out the color, then take your large brush and dampen one section at a time of your background - make it wet! With the large brush add the
thinned color all over the wet area.

With a crumpled up paper towel, blot the area to give a mottled look to your color. Repeat section by section until the area is covered. If you get a little green on your frog or branch it will not be noticeable when dry.

Instruction #13 - frankiestep1278
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Thank you for these tips and steps. It has helped me so much!! More please!


June 24, 2021

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