Paint with Me: Paint Birds using Watercolours | Jessie Dibbens | Skillshare

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Paint with Me: Paint Birds using Watercolours

teacher avatar Jessie Dibbens, Freelance Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Drawing the outline

    • 4. Painting part 1

    • 5. Painting part 2

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About This Class

About This Class

Come along with me and paint one of my favorite subjects: birds. We will focus on drawing and painting a sparrow. The skills you gain from this lesson can be applied to help paint other animals too. 


What skills will I learn?

- You will be shown how to draw the outline of a bird picture using beginner and intermediate techniques

- You will learn how to blend colours together and what colours to choose

- You will learn how to create textured feathers, shadows, highlights, and gradients

How can you apply these skills?

- With the skills you learn from painting this sparrow, you can apply to all animals

Do I need prior experience?

- No. This course is ideal for beginners and intermediates

What will I need to get started?

- There is a whole lesson on what materials you will need for the class

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jessie Dibbens

Freelance Illustrator


Hello there, my name is Jessie. I am an artist based in Wiltshire and I love painting wildlife and pets. 

I am also a teacher which is why I love creating classes on Skillshare. I love to help people learn new things in an easy and comprehensive manner. 

I hope you love my courses and I would love to hear your feedback. So, please don't hesitate to contact me. 

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1. Introduction: Hi guys and welcome to my class. Today I will be painting a sparrow. I see them in my garden all the time. We'll look at how I draw them and paint them. We will look at color combinations and how to dilute colours to get a specific color that you're looking for. Hope you enjoy this course, let's get started. 2. Materials: Hello, welcome to the Materials section. There are just a few things that you need. Firstly, you need some paintbrushes. You could probably get away with just using one. However, I used two, a median and a small. Secondly, you will need some watercolor paper. I would recommend paper that is 300, grams per meter square thick. I used A5, but you can use whatever size you want. I prefer thicker paper because it means I can put more water down without affecting the paper. it stops the paper from curling up. But again, you may use whatever you want, but just make sure it is suitable for watercolor paints. Thirdly, you need an eraser and pencil, a ruler, some tissue. Winsor and Newton's paints. You don't need to have Winsor and Newton paints specifically any watercolor paint. But these are fairly good quality paints. I would recommend you get it of course, you need some water and colouring pencils are optional. It's not a necessity. It's just adding in some final details and touches to the painting. But again, you don't need it. So for the colours, I used, yellow ochre, light red, Indian red, orange hue, vandyke brown, sepia, indigo and paynes gray. And I used these colors together by mixing them. I especially use yellow ochre and Vandyke brown just to make it darker yellow. And I use paynes gray and indigo for shadow areas. And also I used lamp black for the head and the darker parts of the beak and the eye. Don't worry if you don't have all these materials. Just need some paper that you can use watercolors on, a paintbrush, water, a pencil and a rubber. That's really all you need. Don't worry if you don't have all these colors. As it's not necessarily, you could just have a yellow, brown, and a red and you could play around, blend with them. I would also say black. You can practice blending the paints to produce colors similar to the picture. So don't worry if you don't have all these things, try your best. But the most important thing is to have fun and see if you can go away, learned something, and apply this to all your other artwork, I hope you enjoy the course, guys and I'll see you at the end. 3. Drawing the outline: Hello and welcome to the first section of this course. As you can see, I'm using a ruler to measure out two centimeters around the entire edge of my piece of paper. Now I'm doing this, because if you wanted to frame your picture, it's really a brilliant idea to allow, allow a margin around your painting. So if you wanted to include a mount on your picture in the frame, it's just to make sure that you're painting doesn't go beneath the mount. That's how much to me many times why I haven't considered the mount when you mount your picture into a frame And therefore a little bit of the painting gets cut off because of that. So for smaller pieces of paper, I'd say about two centimeters and maybe larger ones, four centimeters. But it all really depends on the size of the mount if you wanted to frame your picture. So as you saw, I just measured two centimeters all the way round and now have a nice little section in the middle of the paper. where I know it's safe to paint. Now I'm using a to 2B pencil. I like to use 2B pencils because they're quite soft. And so when I want to rub out any lines it's less likely to leave hash marks on the paper. So if you have a look at the picture here, you'll actually see that the bird is made up of shapes, so the head is circular almost oval in appearance the beak is triangular and the body is a big oval shape, I think the body of these birds, like the shape of a mango. If that, if you understand what I mean. And then for the tail or I would say is it's rectangular. Maybe even try and go out towards the end. So if you can just picture all these different shapes in your head, that might help you gauge on your drawing. So I've started with the head and I initially drew like a circular shape and made an oval. And what you'll find is that as you go through the different parts of the bird, you'll make slight adjustments here and there to mirror the actual drawing, the picture of the bird. So for the beak, I've drawn a triangular shape. And then I've also drawn some guidelines on their head. And I know that in, at the apex, where the two lines meet, that's where the eye should sit. And now around the eye I'm adding the shapes on the face. So obviously you have the major shapes of the bird. And then as you go on to the different parts, so if we just focus on the head, the head itself has multiple different shapes. So I've just added those shapes and then that's what you're really doing with drawing. That's one way. There are so many ways to draw, but this is the way that I tend to draw. And it's just building shapes upon shapes because that's what everything is literally made of, shapes. So you can figure out the shapes are, merge them together, adjusts where you need to. And you should get something like this. But as you can see, I'm working on the body now The belly is kind of rounded and the back tapers downwards as well. And then we can bring the belly in the back together where the tail sits, you'll see me, rub out certain areas and redraw them again and again, which is fine because this is how you learn. And I feel that this method is probably one of the quickest ways you're going to learn how to draw accurately. There are lots of ways you can draw your pictures. Some people like to use a grid. Some people would like to trace. Now I think tracing can be quite good, especially if you're a beginner and you want to focus more on your painting skills, I would recommend that and you do learn from tracing as well. So that's another way you can do it. And I will actually leave a template of this bird. So if you want to print it out and trace that onto your watercolor paper, you are more than welcome to do that because I know that sometimes you just want to get on the painting, which is absolutely fair enough because that is the most enjoyable part of drawing and painting. So I'm going back over to the beak and I'm adjusting it ever so slightly. I'm referring back to my picture every now and then, tweaking certain areas, making certain areas bigger or smaller, just to get the proportions as best as I can. And the last part, now we'll be working on the feet. so small shapes. What's really important is to make sure you get the proportion correct. So you might be worth stepping back and just having a look at the picture every now and then. Just make sure the feet don't get too big because I know it's happened to me before. I've drawn the feet, stepped back and said, 'hang on a minute the feet are bigger than its head.' So the proportions are very, very important. When drawing, take your time. you don't need to put a lot of detail into it and make sure the feet are not bigger than the head. Are you ready to crack on with the painting as much as I am? Let's go. 4. Painting part 1: So welcome to this section on painting a bird. For the stomach, the belly part of the bird. I'll be using some yellow ochre and a tad of Vandyke brown. I'm using a lot of water and I'm blending them together to get a darker version of yellow ochre. And it's quite good to test the color before putting it on your bird, as you can see on the left, I have put a little bit of the paint to test to make sure it's the colour that I want. So yes, for the stomach and a little bit underneath the eye, around the tail and a top bit of his head. I've used yellow ochre and Vandyke brown. So use plenty of water, don't shy away from water. They are called watercolors for a reason, watercolors love the water and they actually produce a really beautiful effect if you allow the paints to just dissolve and diffuse through the water. So blending is really important. Use water to blend the colours together and to disperse the colour out on your paper. Now for the wing, it's little red. So for this, I've used light red Indian red and a tad of orange hue. I've mix these colors together. And as you can see on the left-hand side, I've tested them to make sure I'm happy with the color before proceeding on. For your base layer is quite a good idea to put the paint down in a more diluted manner because you don't want to put a really dark color down for it to be wrong. So I'd say plenty of water. Gentle colours to begin with and we will build layers to produce the proper, accurate colours seen in the picture So I've worked on the head as well. I've put a little bit of the red on the head from that mixture of the three colors we blended together. And also I'm now using a colour called payne's gray. And I'm just putting it around the areas where there are some shadows and also around the black patches on the head too. Again, I'm going to use lamp black on the head, to really darken those areas as you can see in the picture. So what I find quite useful with painting in watercolor is to do layers. You don't necessarily always have to, but if you're not particularly confident in your skills, your ability, it might be a good idea to add a soft layer, foundational layer, and then build upon that as you get more confident, I am now switching brushes. I'm going to use a much smaller brush. I believe it was 2. And I'm just using some of the Vandyke brown and I'm just adding the darker patches that you can see on the wings of the bird. So what I'll do is place the paint down and as I go for it, I'll blend it with the red colour I created in the back to make sure that they blend together nicely. So I continue to add some of that orange colour I made, Again, it was orange hue, light red and indian red. 00:04:11.690 --> 00:04:12.290 It creates a really nice dark, Bloody sort of color. Almost marron. So now I'm just adding the second layer, feeling more confident, adding extra layers and understanding the different colors and shadows and textures of the bird. So that's really important in the wings. There are so many different textures you need to include in his painting. On the wing, you can see that the different layers of the feathers. So what I've done is I've allowed a white space between each of the group of feathers. And just so you can clearly see that they are individual feathers on the wings. And then later on you can add a bit of a darker colour. Maybe add some Vandyke brown to that orange, orangey color we've made to add some shadows on the wings to another good tip would be to use some paynes gray or some indigo at some shadows on the wings as well. Really important keep those individual groups of feathers on the wings separate with white space in between. Just so you can see the texture there. On the face, I'm just adding in some more of that color we've made to the corners around the eyes - just to add more of a 3D look to it. So it's not so 2D. So it's almost like shading, but with paints. So adding a layer and gradient with the paints and the colors is really important and effective. 5. Painting part 2: Hello and welcome back to the last section of this video. I'm now adding in some darker colors to the wing and the head. I'm using the brown, so I'm using Vandyke brown and sepia. I will blend them together to produce a slightly darker and richer brown for those parts in the wings. And I will also go over with paynes gray and lamp black, just a darken and those areas as well. And you can see that's what I'm doing.