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Friday, March 24, 2023

Easy methods to Paint Birds in Watercolor (suggestions from a newbie)

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If in January you’d’ve advised me that I’d be portray birds in watercolor very quickly, I’d’ve advised you that you just have been insane. I’ve by no means been good at drawing, in truth, I draw an elephant like a three-year-old. It’s true. Just a few fundamental shapes and a tail!

I by no means loved artwork lessons in class. I hated it as all my work was dangerous. So dangerous that individuals laughed at it. 

Final February whereas I used to be on Fb, I noticed an advert for a watercolor course. I noticed a few  animal watercolor work and I believed to myself: “I’d love to do this”. Proper then, I made a decision to study watercolor. 

owl painting in watercolor with a brush and some watercolor pigments

Owl in watercolor

All of the photographs on this put up are of the work I’ve carried out since. Me. Somebody who hated artwork class. 

A number of the hyperlinks on this put up are associates. I’ve linked to Dick Blick Artwork Supplies as a result of that’s the place I get my provides and I like them, they don’t seem to be paying me to let you know about them, I similar to them. They ship actually quick, their costs are superior, and generally they’ve unbelievable offers on watercolor paper, I all the time use Arches watercolor paper, so keep watch over  the web site to get offers. 

watercolor raven

One in all my favourite work, a raven

That is how I discovered learn how to paint birds in watercolor

I joined a category from Domestika. The category Expressive Animal Portraits in Watercolor is by the fantastic Sarah Stokes and it’s extremely useful. Bear in mind I used to be a complete newbie and didn’t even learn about water conduct or colour principle or colour tones.

On this class, you’ll study colour principle and tones. You’ll apply with colour tones, textures, and backgrounds. Sarah is likely one of the greatest watercolor lecturers I’ve come throughout. If you’re within the UK she does in-person programs, like her class on portray huge cats. 

My favourite tutorial was the examine and portray of this leopard cub’s eye. It actually made me analyze all the colours and tones and I extremely advocate doing this one. 

painting table

My leopard eye from Sarah Stoke’s tutorial

After this course, I took one other one among Sarah’s programs, the Creative Watercolor Methods for Birds. There’s additionally a giant emphasis on colour tones. These artwork classes are invaluable! 

That is what I produced whereas studying about colour tone utilizing watercolor. You possibly can already see the advance from the one on the left to the one on the fitting. I imply have a look at that eye…it went from cartoonish eye to a extra detailed eye. That is my absolute first watercolor portray. It’s actual enjoyable to return and see how a lot you will have improved, so save your first work! 

two birds in watercolor

Studying colour tones

Courses from watercolor artists

One other fabulous watercolor artist is Liz Chaderton. She has an amazing YouTube channel the place she shares tons of helpful suggestions and tips, and I extremely advocate it. She is a tremendous artist and trainer.

She has some nice sources if you wish to paint birds in watercolor. For instance, she is releasing a e-book, Portray Birds in Watercolor in march 23′ (within the US). When you don’t wish to wait otherwise you’d moderately do a category, then you may take her on line course Portray Birds in Watercolor

Whereas I haven’t taken any of her lessons (but), I’ve her e-book Portray Watercolor in Canvas. I really like this e-book a lot that took her class Portray Watercolor in Canvas. This class opened my eyes to a brand new world and now all I wish to do is to color in canvas. The vibrancy of colours is unbelievable.

Patreon watercolor artists

After doing these programs, I found a couple of watercolor artists on Patreon. For a small month-to-month charge, you may take tutorials, which include downloadable templates and photographic references that can assist you. If, like me, you may’t draw that is tremendous useful!

I prefer to study from totally different artists as every of them has totally different methods and I like that manner of studying. I nonetheless haven’t developed my very own model and undecided if I choose to color practical birds or artwork items with finer particulars or simply do a hen silhouette. 

These are the watercolor artists I comply with on Patreon:

Louise de Massi:   I’m a superfan of Louise. She’s knowledgeable artist with a long time of data. Her tutorials are very detailed with all of the hows and why’s of the whole lot she does.  Her hen work are beautiful. This owl under is one among my favorites. 

barn own watercolor painting

Barn owl from Louise de Massi’s tutorial

She is probably the most beneficiant along with her information and she or he all the time solutions feedback in her posts. A few of her tutorials run for 2 hours and, at first, they could appear too lengthy, however after doing every tutorial of hers I really feel I’ve discovered months’ value of watercolor methods. 

Month-to-month subscription: $6 

One other factor I really like about her is that she likes to do watercolor work utilizing simply two colours to create totally different colours. Like this magnolia watercolor. It was one among her tutorials and solely used two colours: Everlasting Rose, and Winsor Inexperienced Blue Shade.

magnolia flowers watercolor painting

Magnolia watercolor portray from Louise de Massi’s tutorial

Maria Raczynska:  I like Maria’s lessons as she does most of her portray utilizing the wet-on-wet method and you are able to do a portray in someday versus portray a layer and having to let it dry, after which one other one, and one other one. 

I haven’t made any birds along with her tutorials but, as I signed up not way back. I’ve solely carried out an orca whale (proven under). As you may see the ocean waves look bizarre, however that is my first attempt at an oceanscape so I’m proud of it!

Maria has a couple of watercolor hummingbird tutorials and different hen portraits so I’m taking these subsequent! 

orca watercolor painting

My watercolor orca from Maria’s tutorial

She additionally works with watercolor panorama and I’d like to learn to paint landscapes.

Month-to-month subscription: $9 

Kiley Busko at Painted Wing: Kiley primarily paints birds and she or he likes to make use of a number of pigment in her work and  It’s beautiful. Right here’s a few of the work I’ve carried out following her tutorials. 

Month-to-month subscription: $7 a month

watercolor bird

Chicken in watercolor from one among Painted Wing tutorials

watercolor painting of a fox

Watercolor fox from a Painted Wing tutorial

Easy methods to paint hummingbirds

Selecting colours to make use of is a number of enjoyable, particularly whenever you begin to get assured in creating new colours from those you have already got.

When you find yourself beginning to learn to paint hummingbirds you’ll come throughout one other problem: iridescence. How do you recreate that? Some watercolor artists paint hummingbirds with no iridescence, and that’s completely high-quality since their iridescence just isn’t all the time seen anyway. I like a very good problem (I all the time prefer to make issues troublesome for me), so I began experimenting. That is what I discovered. 

If portray a purple colour, you should utilize Daniel Smith Amethyst Real. It has a bit sparkle to it, which is stronger below direct daylight. Watercolors fade below direct daylight, so undecided how helpful that’s! I nonetheless love the colour and luxuriate in it utilizing it in topics which have black fur or feathers, like this crow under. 

crow watercolor painting

Amethyst real sparkles

Throughout my search, I began contemplating utilizing gold leaf and utilizing it earlier than making use of watercolors on prime. I’ve not carried out it and do not know if it really works, it’s simply one thing that I considered and also you may wish to attempt it. Earlier than I made a decision to go for it, I got here throughout the Gold and Silver colour from Holbein. And I’m obsessed! I blended the Winsor Violet with the Holbein Gold and I really like the outcome. The shimmer doesn’t appear to fade, so I’m going to begin mixing it with different colours to create hummingbird and bug watercolor work. 

Right here’s what the Amethyst Real + Gold, and Winsor Violet + Gold (on the fitting) appear like: 

two swatches of colors using violets and gold

Amethyst real + gold on the left and Winsor violet + gold on the fitting


Additionally, you may attempt DANIEL SMITH luminescence duo-chrome colours. I haven’t tried them but, however right here’s a brief video on how they behave. I’ll replace the article once I attempt them. 


Possibly in a couple of months I’ll get the braveness and study to color with oil paints and acrylic paints! 

Able to learn to paint birds with watercolors? 

kingfisher watercolor painting

Kingfisher in watercolors



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