Realistic Pet Portraits with Oil Painting

A course by Marcelo Rochá @artrocha
Painter. São Paulo, Brazil.
Joined November 2021
, Painter

Learn to paint your pets from scratch in oils using the expressiveness of the alla prima technique

  • Portuguese with subtitles in English
  • 100% positive reviews (10)
  • 434 students

Learn to paint your pets from scratch in oils using the expressiveness of the alla prima technique

Portuguese with subtitles in English
  • 100% positive reviews (10)
  • 434 students
  • 16 lessons (2h 16m)
  • 17 additional resources (3 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: Portuguese
  • Portuguese, Spanish, English, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

Painting our pet is a way of expressing, transmitting and honoring its essence with all the energy and beauty of brushstrokes. Marcelo Rocha specializes in the subject: he has portrayed hundreds of furry companions realistically and with oil paint for clients all over the world. In this online course, he will teach you from scratch how to carry out this process with the alla prima technique, a traditional, fast and sophisticated painting method.

For this, Marcelo will present fundamental materials and concepts to pick up the brush and start painting with oil. He will explain everything from how to look for the reference photograph, prepare the canvas, assemble the composition and carry out the drawing, to how to face painting and varnishing. Portray your beloved animals with all the sensitivity and emotion that oil paint can convey!

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Materials, Techniques and Concepts
  • U3
    U3. Composition, Drawing and Painting
  • U4
    U4. Varnishing and Presentation
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

To start, Marcelo Rocha will talk about how he left a successful career in Information Technology to study painting and become a full-time pet painter. He will also introduce the great masters and contemporary artists he admires in the field of realistic portraiture.

Then you will get to know the materials you will need throughout the course and you will understand the principles of the alla prima technique, also known as direct painting and wet on wet. From there, you'll see how to explore dualities in your creations — hot and cold; the light and the dark; the objective and the subjective—and will perform exercises to understand different coat colors.

Later, Marcelo will teach you how to choose and treat a good reference photograph of a pet, considering characteristics such as light and composition. In addition, the teacher will explain how to study the colors and organize a palette to then prepare the canvas and draw the pet realistically from a grid. In this process, he will show how some applications can help with painting.

Time to get your hands dirty! First, you'll learn how to paint the darkest parts of the animal, like the eyes and nose. Then you'll see how to add shadows, lights, depth and final touches to the work. Finally, Marcelo will detail how to varnish the work and present it physically and virtually.

What is this course's project?

You will portray an oil pet from a photograph.

Who is this online course for?

To anyone interested in learning to paint from scratch or improving their oil skills.

Requirements and materials

No prior knowledge is required to take the course.

To follow the lessons, separate oil paints, a canvas, brushes, spatula, palette, thinner, linseed oil, pencil, ruler, neutral soap, paper towel and a device to observe the reference image.


434 Students
10 Reviews
100% Positive ratings

Marcelo Rochá @artrocha

Marcelo Rocha is a Brazilian painter specializing in oil and plein air paint. After working for many years as an IT executive, he decided to study painting at Plein Air Studio in Brazil and The Art Students League in the United States. Nowadays, he dedicates himself exclusively to art and is the author of hundreds of canvases made to order and scattered throughout private collections in America, Europe and Asia.

With a realistic style, Marcelo portrays people and pets with marked brushstrokes and interesting pictorial effects. His passion for painting pets started with his own dog, a Paulistin fox named Sheik. After a first try, he realized he could be happy in that niche.


  • U1


    • About Me
    • Influences
  • U2

    Materials, Techniques and Concepts

    • My materials
    • Alla Prima Technique
    • Duality in oil painting
    • Painting furballs in 3D 1
    • Painting furballs in 3D 2
  • U3

    Composition, Drawing and Painting

    • Best photo and composition
    • Color Study
    • Drawing using apps
    • Painting eyes and nose
    • Painting the shadow
    • Painting the light
    • Background and final touches
  • U4

    Varnishing and Presentation

    • Varnishing the paint
    • Painting presentation
  • FP

    Final project

    • Realistic Pet Portraits with Oil Painting

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

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  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

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    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

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Realistic Pet Portraits with Oil Painting. Illustration course by Marcelo Rochá @artrocha

Realistic Pet Portraits with Oil Painting

A course by Marcelo Rochá @artrocha
Painter. São Paulo, Brazil.
Joined November 2021
  • 100% positive reviews (10)
  • 434 students