Painting Nature in Watercolor: Kingfisher | Anna Cutino | Skillshare

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Painting Nature in Watercolor: Kingfisher

teacher avatar Anna Cutino, Watercolor Artist & Online Tutor

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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

18 Lessons (1h 35m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Preparing the Palette

    • 4. Practice Part 1 Simplifying the Plumage Pattern

    • 5. Practice Part 2 Creating Watercolor Bleeds

    • 6. Head and Belly First Layer

    • 7. Eye

    • 8. Beak

    • 9. Wing First Layer

    • 10. Neck First Layer

    • 11. Tail First Layer

    • 12. Belly Second Layer

    • 13. Wing Second Layer

    • 14. Adding Details to the Wing

    • 15. Head Second Layer

    • 16. Tail Second Layer

    • 17. Feet and Branch

    • 18. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Learn how to paint a beautiful common kingfisher step-by-step and improve your watercolor technique in this intermediate class.

In this class, we will:

  • Practice painting wet on wet
  • Practice painting wet on dry
  • Learn how to create intentional „watercolour bleeds“ to suggest feathers
  • Learn how to simplify an intricate pattern in the bird's plumage


„Lights“ by Ikson,

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Anna Cutino

Watercolor Artist & Online Tutor


Hi, I’m Anna, an artist and creative educator.

My biggest passion has always been learning new things. I enjoy exploring all things creative and then sharing my knowledge and skills with others. I graduated with a BA degree in Education. Teaching art-related classes in English is a dream come true!

You can follow me on my Instagram @anna_cutino where I regularly post my work.


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1. Intro: Hi everyone and welcome to my skillshare channel. In this class, I will take you step-by-step through my entire process of painting a common kingfisher. My name's Anna Cutino, and I specialize in watercolor painting. I'm mostly inspired by nature and its' vivid colors. It's the beauty of the world around me that makes me pick up my brush every day. Before we start painting, our project we will practice creating intentional "watercolor bleeds". And I'll show you how I simplify the pattern on the bird's plumage. You'll have access to my line drawing of the kingfisher to my final painting and to the reference photo. I've also included a supplies list you can download in the resources section. So let's get started. 2. Supplies: Let's go through all the supplies you'll need for this class. I've included the supplies list you can download in the resources section for easy reference. The first and most important thing you'll need is a good watercolour paper. I highly recommend using 100% cotton watercolor paper. I'll be using Arches watercolor paper, cold pressed, 300 GSM. The size of my paper is A4, but I cut it into a square of 21 by 21 centimeters. You will need some watercolor brushes. I will be using sizes eight and four, a tiny spotter brush and a small detailer brush, I also like having some extra brushes that I only use for applying clean water. It saves me a lot of time cleaning my brushes between applications. That's why I use two number four, brushes and two brushes, number eight, but that's entirely optional. You need some watercolor paints. I'll be using the following colors. Cobalt turquoise light by Winsor & Newton, Ultramarine blue, orange burnt Sienna, burnt umber, scarlet, lamp black and some white gouache. I included the outline for you in the resources section. You can download it, print it out, and either trace it using a light box or by holding it up to a window. To draw your kingfisher you'll need a pencil. I'll be using an HB pencil. And it is also useful to have an eraser to get rid of any unwanted pencil lines or remove excess graphite. You will need two water containers, one for clean water and one for cleaning your brushes. You need some paper tissues and an old towel or cotton kitchen towel. Last but not least, you'll need a paint palette or an old plate. 3. Preparing the Palette: Before we start our exercises, I wanted to quickly demonstrate how I prepare my palette and show you the current mixes I'll be using. My main pigment is cobol turquoise slide. It's an semi-opaque demon that I'll be using a rod for this project. Then I will be using gray I mixed from ultramarine blue and band number. You can make this mix cooler or warmer depending on the ratio between these two Pain. The Grey I'll be using in this painting will be rather on the cooler side. This is orange mixed with Ben Sienna. And I'll be using different orange to bend CNN ratios in this class. This is lambda that I'll use for painting VI. I will also use bend on that on its own. 4. Practice Part 1 Simplifying the Plumage Pattern: This session is mostly just an exercise to get you familiar with the way I simplified the complicated pattern on the bad head and his wing. I'm also going to demonstrate what happens when I paint with paper that's too wet or I use too much water in my paint. On the other hand, I also show you what happens when a paper is already too dry. But first of all, let's go step-by-step through the process of creating the optimal outcome. As you can see, I iterate a few times for this practice session. So the first step I do is a bike been water on the upper section of the bed head. Then I apply cobol turquoise like now because I don't want to pay for it to be soaking wet. Drying time will depend on many factors. The environment in which season. All these matters. If you feel the grace to wait even longer before going on. Now I apply the gray mix to the outer edge. Then I start painting stripes from the outer edge. Now, I pick up some wine glass and tiny white dots. Now let's quickly go through what happens when I start painting. This drives too soon, or when I use too much water. As you can see, all the colors around together and I lose the battle. On the other hand, in this case, I waited too long, almost dry, and especially the white dots didn't spread at all. In the fourth example, the papers completely dry and I'm painting with a dry, which I don't want. In this case. This is the optimal outcome I am aiming for in this project. Might be different in your environment. So I highly recommend trying this out before you start painting the dredging. 5. Practice Part 2 Creating Watercolor Bleeds: In the second exercise, I am going to demonstrate how I create the watercolor bleeding effect to imply the small patch of feathers. I can see in the reference photo what I mean by vertical deed. It is organic shape that forms when the pain spread into another wet paint or onto a wet surface. To make it simple, I've drawn two circles that touch at 1. Now it like clean water to the bigger one. Then I fill it with orange paint. And now I let it dry completely. When the orange circles completely dry, eye moisten the smaller one. And I bought the water into the biggest cycle as well. But I only apply water in the area where I want to create the water calibrate. Let me show you from another angle. Now I feel the smallest cycle. And now I add a drop of global spread into the wet area. Now I'm going to demonstrate how I use this effect specifically in the king fisher painting. The orange area of the body is completely dry and wet. The wing and I also pulled the water onto the breast area. The area I cover with water on the breast is bigger than the bead will be. Make sure I don't sweat the part of the wing and neck where I went hard edges. So I basically create a narrow width path and then a larger width area on the breast. After I covered the wing and cheek with global turquoise, I start creating the bleed by debit my brush in this place and letting it flow to the white area. The result will vary depending on the pigment you use, wetness of paper and pen consistency. So I highly recommend trying this out before you move on to painting the project. I will show you once more. This time I'm using more diluted mix of global turquoise. Using mobile through will result in a software effect. I prefer how The first one turned out, but there's just a personal preference. And most satisfied with the one I created in the class project. This is the part where I let the pen do its own magic. The plate will be different every time. 6. Head and Belly First Layer: Okay, so we've done our exercises and now I start by applying a code of green water on the upper section of the bed head. I'm using my brush and I'm at the edges of the section. Now I pick up some cold and wet paper and still using the number eight brush, but you can also use a smaller brush to tidy up the edges. I've switched to my splatter brush now and I am painting with the gray I've mixed from band Amber and ultramarine blue. It's quite dark and concentrated makes this time I applied onto the wet cobalt to coincide. I start around the edges. I added a bit more gray close to the beak. And then I add a few flicks to suggest some fluffy feathers. If you feel liberated spreading a bit too much on your paper, just wait for a while until the cobalt gets slightly drier. Also, make sure you brush isn't too wet. Now I use the whitewash in quite a thick consistency and I add why? I avoid adding y to the gray areas. The white color should spread only slightly. The wave. Let's move to painting. I'm using my brush, making sure I take it right through the ages. The edge of the wing in this area and above the window will be a subtitle. And I need the middle part. And I pay attention to especially the outer edge should be nice and clean. I'm applying some orange groves. I use just the orange without an event. And I'm tidying up the edges. Then I applied onto the data. And here I can see the orange paint brush. I'm cleaning my issue between individual brushstrokes. Now let's move back to the small section. Using my brush, I add a drop of orange, neither beak. And I pulled the paint. And now I allow it to dry completely. 7. Eye: Okay. I start by applying a very diluted great onto the circle around the bed. I am going to paint the whole island dry paper. So I'll always let it dry before I move to the next step. Normally I would paint a part of the eye and then while it's drying, I would work on another section of the painting. But here is I want you to see the whole process of painting VI step-by-step. In one lesson, I will be using my head dry up between the steps. Now I'm painting the lower half of the eyeball. This is rather diluted band Amber. And I make sure I leave the highlight white. And again, I allow it to dry, or I use my hair dryer before I start painting the next path. Now and a time, a diluted Gray. Again, I'm leaving out the tiny highlight. When it's dry. And then the outer edge. It might help you to turn your paper is you need while you're painting. I kept my paper in one position for sake of the filming and it was so much more difficult. So Daniel paper as you need in the process, I am applying another layer of bent down onto the lower half of the eye. This time it's a bit more pigment it makes. I'm painting carefully around the highlights when it's dry. Mix to the upper section. Now I'm deepening the black color. And that's it. 8. Beak: Okay, let's pay the first wash on the beak. Now, I'm using my number for branch to apply a thin coat of water onto the lower beak. I switch to my spotter brush now and I'll painting with the great mix contour the wet paper and paying attention to the edges. And Ireland the paint flow to the middle. When the lower part of the beak is dry, I take my pencil and I draw a line at the bottom of the upper beak. I'll keep this very thin line without any pain. Now I apply to the upper beak, leaving the thin line between the upper and lower beak dry. Switching to my spot to bridge the gray mix to the edges and highlighted. A slightly darker beak meets the head. A slightly darker gray web beak means the head. When the paper starts drying but is still a bit damn. I take and I can see in the reference photo, once the big onto this. And then I apply some orange flakes into the that tell us the dark line at the bottom of this area with some grain clean my brush, I pull a tiny bit of the gray into the white area to make it a slightly old white color. 9. Wing First Layer: I'm applying clean water to the upper section of the wing. And as you've practiced in the second exercise, I pulled the water into the breast area, making sure I don't make the breast where it means the wing and the neck. So I basically create a narrow passage through which the band can bleed into the breast area. I also buy water onto this small section under the cheek. I've picked up the cobalt and I painted onto the damper. Can I move towards the breath? You can see I've made a mistake and I applied. And now it's bleeding in a moment, but now I'm going to create the intention. Nobody is defined consistency. You can see that now picked up a slightly thicker consistency and debate about the edge of the wing. And now I need to deal with a mistake. I am using a paper tissue to carefully where I don't want it to bleed into the breath. The same thing. And on the wing. Great. Right? And now I start. You can use a smaller brush. Then I apply. 10. Neck First Layer: You can see the neck is divided into small sections. With this one. You can see me. I also use the water, water on the bottom and I let it flow naturally. You can see me adding a few tiny dots, whitewash. Now I'm moving to the back of the neck. And also a bit of orange. 11. Tail First Layer: I've divided the tail into two small sections. Then I added, this time. Then I add a few flicks and I apply it to the left-hand dry completely. The second section. Now and I carefully we find the agents with my spoken brush. And again, I'll make a few things drugs into the orange area to suggest. I also pulled the grade down along the other section. And I suggest on the outer edge. 12. Belly Second Layer: And the second one. Now you can see me apply water through the bed area. I only add color in certain places and in others Island the first layer show through. This time. I'll make sure I don't cover the turquoise breed with any paint. I had orange close to the wing. This time is just Orange. Without any events Vienna. I used this bottom berth to add a drop of scholars under the cheek and the neck. And again, I make sure I didn't apply it over the turquoise bleed. But make sure you don't make it. And then I switched and I add some orange close to the outer edge. Then above the bed. Now along the way to create a hint of a shadow. And finally, I add a few tiny drops. 13. Wing Second Layer: I went to deepen the color of the wing. I put the water into the breast, making sure to some places, such as by the outer edge of the wing. But I don't want to cover the whole area. I won the first layer to show through, especially in the areas with whitewash pattern. Now to the intentional bleed again, I'm adding a highly pigmented drop of global takeaway slide. When I want to emphasize the effect. Then I emphasize degree on the outer edge of the wing with my spot to brush. And I add a few drops of grey in the same places as I did in the first layer. And again, I'm trying to add this path in the same places as before. I also at some tiny white dots. But not too many. Dry completely. When it's dry, but is still very diluted. To imply there's a slide shadow. Now I take my brush lines to create simplify the separations. I allow it to dry before I go and painting. When it's dry, I move to the next section. I use my pencil to emphasize the outline on this cluster of Fed s. Now I only want to apply to the area I have just outlined. Then I drop in the cobol turquoise and I define the edges using mice multi-branch. And I apply it only here. Then I use my smart. And basically outlining the individual from the bottom up. The left-hand edge. Separations. 14. Adding Details to the Wing: Let's continue on detail to the wing. Then I add a little bit. I also I covered the area with water. Now you can see me above. And I painted to imply a shadow. Again. I'm painting the gaps between. This time I'm betting on dry paper to defend the column. I feel it still needs to be. And these outlines as well. No, I allow it to dry completely. When it's dry ice dot outlining these brown. I'm using my brush. I also darken the outline on this and I add some detail to it. I let it dry it and I go and working on this tiny feather by adding a layer of water and then a drop of band on the I make sure the whole area of the wing is dry as I want to deepen the shadow on the doing, on the Betty, moisten the area. And then I add a little bit of burnt umber with my brush. This time on dry paper. The wing is finished now. 15. Head Second Layer: I want to deepen the color green water. So first integrate areas. As I don't want to ruin the pattern I created. I just want to emphasize. And again, I use a dynamo. And finally, I want to emphasize. Now I allow it to dry. When it's dry, moistened this narrow stripe. Now I emphasize on this little area. I deepen the deepening of the painted gray, some whitespace to create a highlight. Now, I decided I like the beat to connect more seamlessly. So tiny section, dry and I started working on the upper beak. You might need to wait a bit for the paper. When the papers getting dry. 16. Tail Second Layer: Now I'm going to deepen the cost of the tail. First I apply water to the brand section, and then I add a few drops, are gutsy enough. In the upper part, I use darker, more concentrated paint. And with my smallest bearish I paint being short lines into the dry Delhi area to emphasize the fluffy feathers. I feel I made the cut to dock and uniform. So I'm taking a small amount of the paint with clean bright on the left-hand side of the section. And I move to the second section of the tail. I put down water, drops into the dry Betty and paint with the grade down along to Brown. Detail is complete. 17. Feet and Branch: Okay, so the last thing we need to pay and the piece of wood with the brand. Then I let it dry for a while, but not completely. And I add a drop of water. And I use this technique. Director. After awhile I add another drop of water to emphasize. And now I allow it to dry completely vertical section. And then I add on the along the edges at a more saturated concentrated around the clause. I create dry for awhile. In the middle. With more concentrated. I outlined the clause with a concentrated. Now I use mobile. Small highlighted on integral. So we fit. 18. Final Thoughts: I hope you enjoyed painting the king fisher, And that wasn't too challenging. I would love to see what you are able to create in this class. So don't forget to upload your projects to the project section. I would also love to read your feedback on this class so I can keep on improving my class history. You thank you again for joining me and I'll see you next time.