How Do You Paint a 3d Koi?

Painting a 3D koi can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, capturing the vibrant colors and graceful movements of these beautiful fish can be a fascinating endeavor. In this tutorial, we will explore the step-by-step process of painting a 3D koi using various techniques and materials.

Materials You Will Need:

  • Canvas or painting surface
  • Acrylic paints (in colors like orange, white, black, and red)
  • Paintbrushes (different sizes for details and broader strokes)
  • Pencil
  • Palette
  • Cup of water for cleaning brushes

Step 1: Sketching the Koi

Start by sketching the outline of the koi on your canvas using a pencil. Begin with a simple oval shape for the body and add flowing lines to represent the fins. Don’t worry about details at this stage; focus on getting the overall shape right.

Step 2: Adding Base Colors

Select your base color for the body of the koi. Typically, an orange shade works well. Use bold brushstrokes to fill in the body, following the outline you sketched in Step 1.

TIP: To add depth to your painting, consider adding lighter shades near the top of the body and darker shades towards the bottom.

Step 3: Adding Details

This is where your koi starts coming to life! Use smaller brushes to add details such as scales, eyes, and mouth.

For scales, use short brushstrokes in different shades of orange, white, and black. You can even add underlined text for emphasis on certain scales.

TIP: To create a 3D effect, use lighter shades on the top of the scales and darker shades on the bottom to simulate shadows.

Step 4: Adding Fins

The fins are an essential part of a koi’s beauty. Use long, flowing brushstrokes to create the fins.

Experiment with different shades of reds and oranges to achieve a realistic look. Remember to follow the direction of the fins’ movement for added authenticity.

Step 5: Adding Water Effects

To complete your 3D koi painting, add water effects around the fish. Use lighter shades of blue or green to create ripples or waves. You can also use thinner brushes to add subtle highlights on the water surface.

Final Thoughts

Painting a 3D koi requires patience and practice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and techniques until you achieve the desired effect. Remember, every artist has their unique style, so feel free to add your personal touch to make your koi painting truly stand out!


Painting a 3D koi is an art form that combines creativity and technical skill.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins