Today’s critique comes from artist Esraa Osama Salaheldin. He has created this oil painting on canvas. I really like your clouds on this, especially the whole cluster of clouds coming from the right. Those are very nicely shaped and grouped together. This is a really cute painting all around!


In your submission, you said that you were going for realism. One of the things I like so much about this piece is it reminds me SO much of my earlier work. I’m pretty sure I have a tiger I painted somewhere that looked very much like this one! This makes it even easier for me to offer advice because I can tell you exactly what I did to improve.

First, let’s look at the drawing. You’ve got a great concept here, but we want to spend more time focusing on that drawing. The proportions are off all over the entire tiger. Everything is shaped just a bit off. If this guy were to stand up he would be similar to a corgi (long body, short legs). One of my first attempts at painting a person (well angel) was similar but I painted the legs too long.

Look at the photo before from 1999. If she stood up, she would have fallen right back over! But don’t let that discourage you one bit! If you slow down and start spending some more time focusing on getting your drawing very accurate, you will end up creating the realistic paintings that you’re looking for!

There are several ways you can improve your drawing skills. The first is to practice. A lot. Draw every free chance you get! Besides that there are other tools you can use along with non stop freehand drawing to improve even faster. The first is to trace your subject. This is something I have my students do. The goal is not to forever only be able to trace. What this does is forces your brain to see things accurately. Much like how we have kids learn to write by tracing letters. You’re not going to forever be dependent on tracing, but it will help push your drawing skills along faster. You can also use tools like a proportional divider  or a grid.  You just have to figure out what works best for how you learn and like to draw.



Taking a look at your background. Your clouds are very nice, but watch out for the dreaded baked potato shaped clouds. A friend of mine recently did a video showing you how to draw clouds that covers a lot about shading and their shapes. Definitely a must see! Now you will also want to make sure you’ve got reference photos of clouds as you paint. You don’t need to copy them exactly, but you want to get a feel for the general movement and shape to make yours look even more realistic.


Onto the grass and hills in the background. Right now, they are all the same value of green. If you soften up (lighten up using the same colors as in your sky) the ones farthest back, it will help create a lot more depth in your piece.

For the grass up front, this is going to be the same as your tiger. Spend extra time studying your reference photo. Right now everything is very uniform and unnatural looking. The key to making grass look realistic is in variation! Let some of those blades overlap each other. Have different lengths and widths in the grass. I do really like that you made each blade get smaller (shorter) as you went back farther into the painting. That is perfect! Now you just want to get some more of that natural grass feel in there and you will be all set!


I’ve got a demonstration on painting grass that should help you out some 🙂