How to paint birds in watercolor: step by step tutorial for beginners | Yana Shvets | Skillshare

How to paint birds in watercolor: step by step tutorial for beginners

Yana Shvets, Paint.Travel.Take a risk

How to paint birds in watercolor: step by step tutorial for beginners

Yana Shvets, Paint.Travel.Take a risk

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8 Lessons (1h 28m)
    • 1. You will love this course!

      1:17
    • 2. Materials you will need today

      6:14
    • 3. Let's sketch birds!

      7:34
    • 4. Color scheme for this painting

      6:25
    • 5. How about a first layer?

      18:02
    • 6. Going forward with layers

      19:57
    • 7. Adding some depth

      16:27
    • 8. Final touch!

      12:20
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About This Class

Hey hey! In this course you will learn how to paint a cute couple of birds in watercolor. It's a simple real-time tutorial for beginners and intermediate students who want to have fun and learn something new.

Follow my guidance and create this cute couple today!

What you will learn

  • main watercolor techniques: wet on wet, wet on dry and more
  • special tricks (with salt and more)
  • how to use additional art materials (except of watercolors) to create paintings
  • how to create volume and make those birds 3-dimensional
  • how to paint realistic feathers, beaks, eyes
  • how to create dynamic art

This course is simple yet full of knowledge. Here you won't just "play with paint and do whatever", you will have a well-thought actionable plan on how to use watercolor medium, how it works and how to achieve a result you want.

Materials:

- cellulose paper, 300gsm, cold pressed (can be hot pressed too)

- any good quality watercolor paints

- few brushes: synthetic round, natural round, small synthetic pointy brush for details

- pencil, tissues, cup of water, white gel pen, salt

For more details on materials and the alternatives please watch a lesson inside this course.

Together we will paint adorable yellow birds!

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Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Yana Shvets

Paint.Travel.Take a risk

Teacher

Born in Ukraine, raised in travel. 
I am a professional watercolor artist, full-time traveler and a salsa lover ;)
After a burnout in the office, I hit the road without any plan and since 2014 I've been travelling around the globe, visiting different countries & settling down for a few months (sometimes years) in different cities. My watercolors are inspired by places I've visited and people I've met.

You can follow my travel-inspired adventures on Instagram.

 

My original paintings and prints of those are available for sale if you appreciate art on your walls ;) 
I am open for commissions and happy to create an artwork that will inspire you, have an impact on your family or become a gift for beloved ones. Just hit me a message.

... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. You will love this course!: Hello. My name is Yanna. I'm a full time traveler and watercolor artist. I have been traveling for the past five years, and about two years I have been teaching both a collar and I had a group of people. We have bean painting together every week, and because of that, I had an experience off teaching watercolor techniques. Two people off, absolutely different level from people who have never hold the brush before. Do those who are really comfortable with what color? And today we're going to paint an absolutely lovely couple off birds. We are going to explore different techniques and different ways how to show realistic bird , but also how to recreate the for fitness off the feather, the cute eyes and nevertheless, we are going to use a lot of impressionistic techniques as well. So people use heavy wet technique wet on wet technique, dry and wet, and other watercolor techniques that will help you to recreate the dynamics and the movement that we see on the photograph. So they'll had joined me in this course, and I will be very happy to give you feedback 2. Materials you will need today: Hey, guys. And welcome to my watercolor class. Today we're going to paint this lovely birds and we're going to use impressionistic style mixed with realistic. So technically, we're gonna used use mix style off painting with watercolors. That means we will need a lot of different material. And now we're going to talk about them. So first, that's that from paper paper I'm using today is Kansan. It's a French Brent cellulose paper, uh, 300 Judaism. It's a very nice, durable paper. And I think that if you choose to paint and cell loss Kansan, Montel, this is specifically the type of cans and paper. Montali, I think this is the best choice for cellulose paper. Now we will need different types of brushes here. I have a set and, um, this one do so. These two are synthetic brushes. I will need them to paint all the tiny details that we see on birds. And this one is, ah, nature of brush. It's a squirrel. Siberians quiero natural brush absorbs way more water than synthetic one and also released a lot of water, so which allows to go deeper into the paper layers. And this brush is bigger, and it's also mixed hair. So it's saw not only natural but synthetic hair, Uh, in this Bristol's which allow me to combine the qualities off those two brushes for the sketch. I'm going to use the pencil age, so that means that it's not a result, but also not super hard. Usually I'm a fan of soft pencils for sketching, but today we will have some of the details that I would like to mark with the sharp and hard pencil so that the lines that I make will not, um, get, you know, blurry or money later on here. I have, like, a set off extra materials that I don't know if we're going to use, but if all of a sudden we decide to use them, they're just that. So because now that I'm looking on the on the reference, I'm not sure that we will need um, like a white dope in or backs based pencil. This too. But maybe we will, because I see some white elements on Ah, the feather and around the eyes. So maybe I will use it. But you know, it's a creative process. We'll see how things go. Finally the watercolors today I'm using Russian brand new school Paletta White Knight. And here is my bled to I'm gonna mix colors. I have additional little plate for mixing. And as you can see how he is pretty much over the pain from pence, that's why have this bag off additional tubes with different colors. I love here. So in case I need more, I can just go ahead and take some off here, and there is no specific requirement off more toward the color you need for this painting. And just make sure to pick the main colors for the reference, which will be green, yellow, brown, red and maybe a little black. So those colors who will be used in the painting make sure you have them, um and, well, ofcourse, the best choice would be a professional watercolor professional grade what the color. But if you have student, it's OK. It's a learning process. So no one of the special things were going to use today will be sold. Yes, just a regular sold from your kitchen. We were gonna use it for specific technique. Also, I will have this little spray and I was prey the paper if I needed later on to blur the edges off my paint, and it will especially work nice with cotton paper. So coming back to paper, Uh, if you have a chance to use 100% cotton paper for this work, you will enjoy the process even more because it's going to give you more ability disabilities to enjoy the color mixing process because the paint will go deep into the layer off your paper and will allow to brand and mix the colors pains and it just arm really nice and pleasant process to watch and do all right, so that's pretty much it. I'm gonna use this tape. Teoh Um, take my paper to the top it and also always have a bag off issues somewhere nearby to lift or pick up the pigment or mistakes. Or if you need to use a technique of lifting. The paint is always useful to have, like a bag of those dishes and the force a cup of water. Okay, so that's about materials. Get ready and let's move to the sketching part 3. Let's sketch birds!: guys, let's sketch the birds. So the easiest way to organize your composition east to think off simple jug geometric forms and locate those Forbes on your paper. So let's say the birds are circles for bubbles. And first you want to locate the biggest circle here. It's this bird. Ah, it has a wing somewhere here, and the second bird is here with the head, and then the branch will be somewhere here. So this is very approximate layering out decomposition. And now that we know that two birds fit inside the frame, there's no, like weird space left or stuff like that, which happens a lot when you start from a small detail and then go out and paint the rest. Most of the times when people do that, they find themselves not really fitting inside of their paper inside the frame of their paper. So that's why it's very always to start with, like are more generic outlines and circles and then move down to detail in things. So now I can go and, um, place the I. It's gonna be somewhere here. Birds have this white outline around their eyes, so make sure that these aren't Linus saved, so I don't accidentally cover it with watercolor. Here's the beak. This birdie is super fluffy. This is gonna be one of our special moments. Um, where will mix the two styles to do techniques. So obviously, I'm not, uh, drawing every single feather. I'm just marking the most important, um, areas, for example, where the head is connected to the wing or where you see the shadow, like most of the shadow, the darkest spots. So those places you want to outline them with your pencil, everything else you can do later. With what? The color big and fluffy belly. Okay, perfect. And somewhere here will be the feet. But I will draw them later when I will finish the brunch. Now, second bird, the I will be somewhere here than this white area around the eye and the beak. But see, I did a mistake and located three I too far. So better to think off the length off the big first and maybe applying the week and only then draw and I so that the distance between the I and the beak is not way too far. Well, right now, it's much better because this second bird is kind of like hiding behind the other one. So you don't see the whole face. Here is the Wayne. Maybe I will make barely a little more more fluffy over here. Just round it up. It's like leaning doors. Thea other bird. And here comes the brunch. - Oh , yeah, And common mistake people do when they pain birds, they do the body. Ah. Which here, by the way, make sure that the body off both birth is very close to the brunch. It's kind of hiding behind brunch. Why? Because there's, ah, tale that everybody forget to draw. So body is connected to to the tail. Yeah. Go. Now we have two birds chilling in a son ready to get painted. All right. I want to make sure that this part is pretty wind and open. So we have enough space dear to play with our techniques. Okay, my sketches ready? And let's move to talking about the color palette 4. Color scheme for this painting: all right here. I have a separate piece of paper to demonstrate, and I think I figured out the best colors we're going to use in this painting. So to simplify, we will have some yellows, some green, maybe brown and black, or some blue if you want over here in the corner, but not necessary. And, um, my one of my recent favorite colors is gone. Budge. It's yellow and very, very bright yellow color. Um, I have squeeze it over here. It's nice and bright, uh, paint. So I'm gonna use it as my base. And then I will use a little bit off burnt sienna mixed with this gun. Budge for the shadow cart off the Bert. So for these areas, then at some point it looks like those birds are getting some of sort of greenish down. So I'm gonna take with Roma Dean and slowly add it to the mix to the point. I achieve some sort of greenish tone, but not bright, vivid green. So somewhere here on the border will be in the color that I'm going to use here and there. Um, but not a lot of time. I don't want my bird t to turn into green one. Um, so for the branch, um, I will stick to burnt Sienna and some CPR Burn number in between just to play with lights and shadows of the branch of the tree and for the background, um, the green color. I'm going to mix it by myself. And for that I will use the same gun, Butch, so that the whole painting is in harmony because my, my, uh, green background will consist off the same yellow. So the whole composition will be you in harmony. Older colors will be harmony with each other. Oh, so I can play around and use lemon and mixed lemon with azure to achieve writer tone off green so that the background is not just one boring tone off green color, but it's interesting flow and makes of different don't. So you will see that the background is no just month. That layer, right, it's It's a combination off different tones, sub tones and main colors. So the main will be green. And then I will inject some lighter green and then maybe a little bit off yellow and just let all those colors to blend and makes become a nice flow on the background. Also, make sure that when you work on your birds, you preserve the white space. So the area around the eyes should be just white. Should be just the here Whiteness of paper. Of course, you can use like a dill pen to work around it, but, uh, it's not exactly the, um most natural look that you will get. In the end. We will use synthetic brush to work on details, so we will mix some airy and lose technique or approach with some detailed work. That's why we will need ah, small synthetic brush to work on all those small elements on the feather. So take the time, study the reference and think off what color palette you're going to use. Because, of course, you can go ahead and just like take colors from your said. I have a lot of colors here, but in the end, evil just have really heavy painting stuffed with different colors and tones. And that will be, as I said, like, give some weight on the viewer and you want to keep the paint and light so that the person enjoys it then and just have this nicest, spacious feeling looking at your artwork. So it's always better to limit a little bit your a range of colors and have those collars just cooperate with each other and pop up here and there. All right, Uh, have your set off your pigments ready, and we will finally start to paint. 5. How about a first layer?: finally the big moment. So usually when I painted artwork that has a background, I start with the actual objects like this case birds and then add background in the end. But today I want to try the opposite way. Different approach. Ah, and first paying the background around the birds and paint birds after. Why don't why I want to do this? Because this area off the fluffiest bird, I would like to make it in a heavy, wet technique and maybe even spray some some water that I showed before and apply sold over here. So, in order to make a smooth and nice transition from the background to the birds um, fluffy neck, um, I need toe work in basically Allah Prima technique, which is painting in one attempt. So painting everything at once without coming back into the same place. So it will be hard to do if I paint this area first and then add the background because we will have a sharp line between this area and the background. So, in order to combine those two and have a smooth transition between two layers, um, we need to start from the background and move towards the birds. So first I'm just going to apply clean water or relatively clean water after mixing all those pains so that the bank ground is wet. But only what around the birds, the birds should stay. Dr. I've been taking my synthetic brush. I have prepared the mixes of green and don't just supply it here and there, including different our yellows and greens. Don't worry if your paper get completely buckled, it's totally fine. We touch it with the tape so it will get back to normal to being just straight home paper later after it gets dry. If you would work with the cotton paper, this process will be even more easier. But Montreal is their closest to cotton paper. Actually on um, kind of became behaves similar way now. I want to quickly mix dark version off green to do so. I need to take green and add a little bit of Fred because red is a complementary color and this is the color that will allow to make my green darker. You don't necessarily need to add those dark elements. I just think it's nicer to have more contrast between those, um, layers. Besides you know, when the watercolor gets dry, it lose the arm, our intensity. So it's on going to be that, um dark later it gets dry. All right, so the top is done and my bubble and a little bit off more euros and he just to have more variations. So now I would like to paint the neck that we've been talking about. I apply first, Just are pure water in this area. Be careful. The in their background may lick inside this place. So be careful now I'm heading my yellows and right away mix my yellow with burnt sienna for slightly darker tone. Well, we're here, but this is just the beginning. So don't don't worry that colors are kind of leaking and not very pronounced. I might need am smaller brush. And here I just mark basically their base base shadows and I will add more layers layer. What I want to do now is to and some salt in the area off there neck. We just painted that sometimes it happens if you drop too much sold in the place that you don't need just lifted really quick. You can always add more pain to later, but you don't want to live sold in that place. Also, I have to much paint over here. So he lifted and the paper kind of leaves funding marks, which totally fine by me. I will keep them. Another thing I was thinking to add were some sort of precious of water that will just dilute the bank round and create those random, um, areas without the pain. So you will see it looks pretty in percentage stick. And meanwhile, I could add some tone to the bird for more, um, directed work. I'm going Teoh, take small synthetic brush. - Meanwhile , we can do the face off another bird. Remember about the white outline around the eye? I'm working with natural brush right now. Also, it release releases a lot off water and pigment might be challenging to control this. So if you feel like it's to do hard ah, switch to synthetic brush. - For now, I can just, um, lay out the first layers, Um, in the in the place where the wings wings are touching background and outlined the belly. I'm working with them Sammy wet brush over completely dry paper. That's when my pigment is very much in control, so it's not leaking anywhere. - I would like to add more color into this area off the neck over here to make it more pronounced in. Interesting. Meanwhile, I really light layer off blue. We'll go on the belly almost to the point that it's transparent. Maybe at some pressure's off green on a belly just so that the colors correspond with the colors of the background and right away about at this shit apart under the wing. Because the wind naturally drops. The shadow on the ball on the belly were just the body off the bird. We'll go back to this area soon, Don't worry, doesn't have to be perfect right now. We can do the same over here and may surely, Um because one bird is hiding behind another one. They will be shadow from the first bird over here, So I mixed brown and blue to achieve this. Don't great tone for the shadow and make sure that your stroke is not sharp because it will not look natural. And in the place where the bird on the right it's covering the other bird with its feather , you can add Bickmore specifying more the feathers on the fluffy nous. This one All right, Infernal. I think we should leave this part to dry a little so that we see the true colors to the good dry and start working on ending new layers and clarifying the painting. 6. Going forward with layers: All right, So now that my pain paper and paint both completely drive, you can see that the colors lost the intensity, so they're not as bright and colorful anymore. I can even zoom in to show you. And also the trick with, um the salt works differently on each paper. So here you can see those, um, tiny, um, elements on paper that looks more like, um, the snowy affect. And it really is up to the paper. Ha little react to sold. So you need to take the time to experiment and see which paper reacts the best. But for you to compare, um, this is cellulose paper, and this is cotton paper, and you can see how the same trick looks on different paper types. So here you can see very clearly how each grain of salt are melted into the paper and left this nice white mark. Um, so if you again, if you use a cotton paper, this is the look you're gonna get, um, with this old, But not to worry. That's all a process. And this is very important to figure out what paper is your favorite. What paper needs to be used for different technique. So you just try it. You make your notes, you remember things and moving on. All right, So now I would like to add new layers. And you see that older tones? I added, they looked really dark, but now they just look like a very nice mix of different tones and some towns. So the belly looks three dimensional. So it looks like it's actually a sphere. No, just flett, um, line or layer. Okay, so how about we work on the burden is on the left. I would like Teoh make up the stop part of his head a little bit more greenish, as I mentioned earlier in our lesson about palette and since my brushes way to self tits nature, I switch it to synthetic, so it's more bouncy, and I have more control over number off water and pigment that it's really uses. And here is also a chance to outline this wide area around the eye. Teoh make it more nice and better outlined, so it looks like a circle on like a weird potato shape or something. While the layer is well, I'm just adding here and there. Some drops of pained And again, Since those layers are wet, they mix and blend nicely and organically. Here. I want to have the transition more smooth. So that's why I kind of blended the the bottom I took did say on TV and read, which was basically just an orange color to end here right under the neck and my burnt sienna. It's gonna work over here on the wing Here is this wink that's kind of hiding behind the feathers. So just outline it very carefully and right away at more shadow in the belly again . Don't worry that it looks, ah beat too dark because you remember that after the pain gets dry, it will lose this capacity. So you always have to think a little, uh, like one tone, uh, lighter. And over here I would like to use lifting technique. Teoh work on those feathers that are showing up over here. We will also at some white Open in that place to clarify the edges. - And over here I would like to make the shadow a little darker. So I take my blue and makes it with Brown and and the Shadow one more time. - But now we can see that this outline of the belly off the the other bird doesn't look pretty because it's super straight. So you want to you soft in this place and we can do it by Edin, but by working with wet brush. Or you can pick some color some orange color, for example, and make this edge more smooth, not smooth, but, um, blend the edge. So it's not like one sharp line, but more off soft transition between those two colors and run away. I'm going to work with the dark brown color. In my case, it's Ah, Shay Pia to Endo's Our Shadows that you see you on the birds mainly in between the feathers and because of the previous layer was wet. The strokes that I apply, they don't look sharp. They look are quite opposite, blended and soft, but you still can guess what it is about, which is exactly what I was eight and four here. I would like to do the same, but we need to start from the lightest color. So in my case is it's an red or orange Maurice pigment, and actually, it's way too bride, so want to mix it up with some burnt sienna and blue to achieve more off like a muted color than bright one. In our context, a PR and he go over the shadows between the feathers and again, my strokes in a sharp. They're blending within the previous layer because it's still wet, so it dilutes my strokes. They look more organic this way, - and it will also clarify this wide every I around the I. And here at the Bailey, I would like to have some brighter tones to give more life to own bird. I just added more yellow Pinkman because the way the sun is, uh, shining, it kind of creates this interesting shadows, and a part of the bird is in the shadow, and another part is bright and has the sunlight on it. So it's nice to show this difference between the shadowed part and in their highlighted part. - And what some Brenda Wing first up, why yellow? Going to inject a little bit off greenish tones probably will make you a little brighter in the bottom of the wing. You have a lot of white space, so I want to keep that space, and it is, um, Brown and again I would need to work on a shadow that the wind drops on the body of the bird. So mixing and Dr Tone off orange in blue in first I'll apply some orange and then this shadow. But after the sugar softer, all right, we can leave this to dry and get back later. 7. Adding some depth: Now let's Ah, give some life to your birds. Um, that's pained the eyes. In the weeks I'll take a little marine blue and mix it some with some brown to have gray stone. It's nice to give some to leave. Some white space gets more air to the painting. One part is dark. Current of the part is a bit lighter and here we go the same for another bird. The beak of the other bird is kind of hiding behind all the feathers of the first bird. So we don't see it clearly. I'm gonna take actually, first, I'm gonna take, um, red okra. So it's like a bright brown color in your palate and pain the I because the eyes are not purely back there, actually something like between red and brown, and they're not. If you look closer there not perfectly round, they have more often Ellman shape and they're connected to the beak. And when my base brown color is ready, I add some black also clarified this area around the eye has some dark outline to I would like to try to show you it more in detail. So a zoom in, try not to color the whole I in black how I wash my brush And I would will, um, working those like areas to balance out the colors. So somewhere there, black somewhere there More Greysia dear, Give more excess to the brown collar so the brzonkala is still visible. - So my eyes are not completely black for some brown shining into it. Okay, so now I think the birds look more natural But we still need to create some shadow in between those two birds. So over here I will try Tol Klein it very carefully. I delude the stroke right away. So it's not sharp, especially on the side of this first bird. On the right, you can even add more yellows. I need this dark tone that will be you as dark as this part on the belly and from the side of the bird on the right, I'm diluting this edge. So the police still fluffy Fernando shadows to showcase the volumes. Otherwise it will look like the birds are flat. And that's not true. - And also try to avoid just one straight line over here. I'm here. I would like to add more shadows under the wing some off my green tones that I mixed earlier. Will girl here on the top to connect the head with the the wing and over here I would actually prefer to keep it more impressionistic and not go over the details so that we keep the focus on this part. But not on the wind on the wing. This line turned out to be not very smooth. So I'm making it more smooth with a semi wet brush. When you do at the little bit more he does up here and I think we need to outline the I'm or no, let's, uh, paint brunch and I will take ah Rosiana for their highlighted area. So the place where the sun drop, maybe even at some yellow for more shiny affect number. See, You know, here in the bottom, in Serbia, even more the bottom. So now the colors makes by themselves my head, some of them so that the texture of the tree is not, um to boarding. It has different, uh, become elements here and there. So different tree. They have different textures, so you don't need to copy the one that's on the photo. You can just don't let her go and join the way you want. What's important here is to create the shadow right under the bird. So I take my ultra Marine at some burnt sienna. We're technically any brown that you want and create the shadow right under the bird. - All right. No, Um well, in order to work centralism water in order to work on the bottom part, we need to make sure that the tree line is completely dry. Otherwise, it's going to leak, Um, which could define if we start ah, with the tail. Because tale is also in the shadow so we can allow it to to bleed and right away while still what? And in some browns and shadows hopes that's too much. It's a big chunk of pigment, but it's OK. You can quickly lift it as long as the layers air What you can fix. Your problems are mistakes, and we can do the same with the other burden here that the trees almost dry on this side. So some kind of leak that, uh, noticeably, but it's OK. It's not like we need it just like a fun effect. I on purpose leave some spots yellow because, ah, of the light that still shines through. So it looks like a nice yellow outline or Oreo around. Okay, so now we need definitely to wait until this part is dry so we can finish up with the background. 8. Final touch!: All right, so let's finish up the background. The same approach. Just, uh, why. What? Um Well, not like clean water to make the pain the paper wet first and then move with your paint. - And again, I am mixing my green by myself. I almost never use green from, um from to my from my set. - Don't forget to feel in older spots between the birds because they cannot be just white. There's still background behind them. It's a common mistake that people do. They forget about those, uh, empty areas like between the Wayne or between the two birds over here and just leave it white. And technically, it cannot be won by ground green background behind with, like a white spot, unless is something very specific. Like, I don't know, White House on background, but it should be exactly the same color as everywhere. On the background, we can add sums precious for here and there and the fine oh, steps. I will take a small brush, even smaller synthetic. So I have control over my moves, and I will add tiny details. Okay. Like some feathers. Some strokes. Make sure that your lines are not think Don't forget Teoh to paint defeat. I'm just using dark collar, dark brown or and dark, just black. Basically. Don't forget to put the second feet of this bird and then some details here and there. But do not overdo it. - Some very dry strokes that will indicate the texture. But you don't really need Teoh to paint everything. Just if you thief, you hear you there. - There's actually a second wing hiding behind over here. So if you want, you can add it. I would look more neutral, some texture to feathers here. And if you on top now, I would like to take home white panel and to locate some of the white areas, especially there will be a noticeable on a dark background. - All right, I cannot fix this. Part three accidentally covered little and also think detector on the tree is my saying. So I will take a dry brush with a dry black pigment and just move it like this to create the texture this feeding off dry Dr brunch. Besides, this bottom of the tree should be much darker than then I have it. So I'm gonna end more shadow and a little bit darker should own uh, uh, tales still preserved, preserving the yellow shining. All right, so now we have those birds covered in light. There is nice game of shadow and highlights. And most importantly, we combined the two different styles Lose style, impressionistic style and the realistic style. So here you can see some very, um, lose and, like, very element and as well as detailed and concentrated stuff. So I hope you enjoy it. Please do share. You work in comments and ask me any question you have. I will be happy to help you and, um, give you some directions if you need them. And I would just be very excited to see your work. Thank you. And see you in my next class.