Acrylic painting with structuring paste and PRIMAcryl - how to paint a stag by Jana Voscort

Painting animals is more popular than ever, with forest animals in particular enjoying great popularity. In these tutorial, artist Jana Voscort explains and shows how expressively a stag can be painted with acrylic colours. With the brilliant colours of PRIMAcryl® and light structures with the Schmincke Structuring paste, an expressive motif can be created that inspires you to try it out for yourself.


  • Mediums for pre-treatment of the surface: Schmincke Primer 1 50 512 or Gesso (White) 50519
  • Mediums for creating structures: Acrylic Structuring Paste 50 543
  • Colours - PRIMAcryl® as Fluid or in tubes: Titanium white 101, Black 793, Natural burnt umber 684, Sienna 678, Transparent brown oxide 682, Madderbrown 681, Classic Gold 896, Sap green 570, Quinacridone magenta 326
  • Surface: Canvas
  • Brushes: different Acrylic brushes, e.g. by da Vinci
  • Others: Charcoal or chalk for sketching, palette knife/ spatula

Step 1

Preparing the surface
First, I prime my canvas with 2-3 thin coats of gesso or primer so that the colour can be applied more smoothly later and the canvas is less absorbent. The primer must be thoroughly dry between each coat and afterwards. Alternatively, you can also use pre-primed stretcher canvas.


Step 2

Creating structures
I create the structures with a spatula or palette knife and a structure paste, such as Schmincke Structuring paste. For this, I carefully brush and dab on the edge areas of the canvas. I leave the centre and all the areas where I want to place the motif free.I let the texture paste dry thoroughly, this works best over night. Please note: The thicker my layer, the longer the drying time.

Step 3

Colouring the background
For the background I use a wide brush and paint with titanium white and sap green. Here I apply the paint directly to the canvas and mix it only partially with the brush, so that interesting colour mixtures are created. The previously created structures now bring even more depth to the background. For the next step, the colour layer has to dry completely. 

Step 4

The preliminary drawing
I sketch my preliminary drawing roughly with chalk or charcoal on my painted canvas. 

Step 5

Let´s start with  the motif
Now I prime the stag with the darkest colour (natural bunt umber) and add highlights and shadows layer by layer with titanium white and black. That is how I create more and more plasticity.

Step 6

Working on the details
Then I start to paint more details and finally focus on the highlights, especially the eyes, nose and the areas that should be in focus. I work out the fur with different shades of brown (sienna, transparent brown oxide and madder brown) and add short brush strokes.

Step 7

Last colour accents and the signature
By working out some flowers in the deer antlers, I set a few contrasting colour accents of quinacridone magenta and titanium white. This gives the motif a softer and more cheerful effect. For my signature I use Classic Gold with a very fine brush. I finish my painting with this last step and let the colours dry well overnight.