Toucan: Maximize the Brightness of Watercolor | Katya Rozz | Skillshare

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Toucan: Maximize the Brightness of Watercolor

teacher avatar Katya Rozz, Watercolor Artist & Pattern Designer

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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

17 Lessons (1h 31m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Art Supplies

    • 4. Tonal Scheme

    • 5. Color Scheme

    • 6. Drawing

    • 7. Paper Preparation

    • 8. Toucan: Upper Part of the Beak

    • 9. Toucan: Bottom Part of the Beak

    • 10. Plant

    • 11. Toucan: Chest

    • 12. Background

    • 13. Toucan: Black Details and Eye

    • 14. Toucan: Feathers

    • 15. Increasing Color and Shadows

    • 16. Finishing Touches

    • 17. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Hello, my dear creative friends,

In this class, we will paint the iconic tropical bird, the Toucan. I will guide you through my approach to painting unfamiliar subjects and will demonstrate for you my thought process behind each decision. 

In addition, we will discuss how to take your watercolor artwork to the next level by using color in a smart way and how to maximize the brightness and saturation of watercolor. 

We will learn how to:

- analyze the new subject by creating tonal/color schemes

- prepare the paper so we can extend the time you can work in a wet on wet technique

- paint a realistic Toucan step-by-step.

In this class you will find some advanced techniques, which are suitable for those of you who already have some experience with watercolor.

But also, it has plenty of useful information for those of you who are just starting.

Everybody is welcome to this class,


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Katya Rozz

Watercolor Artist & Pattern Designer




Hello, my name is Katya. I'm an artist and surface pattern designer, living in Israel.

I've started learning watercolors about 4 years ago and I paint/draw almost every day since then. I believe that I'm only at the beginning of my watercolor journey, but I decided to teach on Skillshare and share with you what I'm already learned. Hope you'll find it useful!

You can find me on Instagram to see more of my works.

Nice to meet you!


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1. Intro: I know how hard it is to start working on something new and unknown, and how important it is for your personal development to go out of your comfort zone. One of the goals of this class is to give you the tools that will allow you to be more confident painting your subjects with watercolor. Hello, my name is Katya Rozz. I'm an artist and designer from Israel. I create my artwork using acrylic, digital drawing, and watercolor. I love watercolor because of its vibrant transparency and airiness. In today's class, we will paint the iconic tropical bird, the toucan. I will guide you through my approach to painting unfamiliar subjects and will demonstrate you my thought process behind each decision. In addition, we will discuss how to take your watercolor artwork to the next level by using color in a smart way and how to maximize the brightness and saturation of watercolor. We will learn how to analyze the new subject by creating tunnel and color schemes. We will learn how to prepare the paper so we can extend the time you can work in a wet-on-wet technique. Together, we will go through the step-by-step process that will make our bird look realistic and alive. In this class, you will find some advanced techniques which are suitable for those of you who already have some experience with watercolor. But also, it has plenty of useful information for those of you who are just starting. Everybody is welcome to the class. 2. Class Project: Hello, my dear creative friends and welcome to the class. Today, we will explore the full process of painting the iconic tropical bird, the toucan, using watercolor. It is my first time painting this bird. This is intentional because in this class I want to share my thought process while painting a new subject and to show you the logic behind each decision. Our class project for today is to create a bright watercolor painting of the tropical bird that you have never painted before. Besides studying a new subject, our goal today is to achieve as much brightness and as much saturation as we can using watercolors. You are welcome to join me and paint using my reference. I've downloaded this image from, and you can find the link to download it in project and resources tab below this video. Also, I found a few additional stunning photos, and you can choose one of those for yourself. I'm excited that you decided to watch this class and let's begin. 3. Art Supplies : Before diving into the process, let's review the main materials we will use in this class. First, the paper. In our preparation phase, I will use this watercolor sketchbook with regular cellulose paper. Any piece of watercolor paper will be okay for this purpose. Paper for our final composition. I have here regular sketching paper for creating a drawing of a toucan and 100 percent cotton paper. Both pieces are sized equally. In my case, this is 30 by 30 centimeters or 12 by 12 inches. Watercolor paper really matters. It is the most important ingredient in watercolor painting. It will be great if you have 100 percent cotton paper from any brand. I use arches, 300 gram cold pressed cotton paper. Watercolors. Today, I want to show you my set of watercolors. I use watercolor from tubes and I have a small swatch for each of the colors. The majority of colors are: greens, blues, yellows, pinks, and reds. By mixing these basic colors, we can get all other colors that we can imagine. Observing our reference today, I see blue, green, orange, yellow, red, purple, and black. Such a large number of colors, isn't it? Also, some of the colors are so vibrant and bright that we should pick the colors to help us to create the brightest results possible. For getting clean, transparent, but very saturated watercolor washes, I tend to use single pigmented colors. Usually, manufacturers write it on the label, so you can find the pigments your watercolor consists of. As my parameters set today, I will be using the following list of single pigmented watercolors, yellow, red, green, and blue. By mixing these colors, we can get a diverse palette of clean and vibrant colors. For the yellow, I'll be using lemon yellow, for the red pure red, for the blue, teal blue, and for the green, teal green. Also, we will need black. Today, I will be using lunar black, which has a granulating effect, but any black will work. I already have yellow, red, blue, and green on my palette. Also, I squeezed a small amount of black on a separate palette. You will need some palette for mixing colors. A built-in plastic pallet as I have here, a ceramic plate or any other you have. Masking fluid. We are going to use it to cover small highlights. It will help us to save time. But if you don't have masking fluid, don't worry. Later in this class, I will let you know how you can replace it. Brushes. In today's class, I will use five main brushes. The wide natural hair brush for wetting the whole piece of paper. Any wide brush will be suitable for this purpose. Natural hair brush was pointed tip number 6 or bigger for covering smaller areas with water. I have a Kolinsky hair brush number 6. If you use synthetic brushes with pointed tips for applying the paint on paper, I have three main sizes. Thin brush number 0, middle brush number 5, and the large one, number 6. All these brushes are from different manufacturers, so they slightly differ in their labeling. But the idea is to get different sizes for painting different areas. Two brushes, for example, five and zero, will work great in this class. A few different regular pencils with different softness for sketching and eraser. I have a few different erasers, irregular rectangular eraser, an art eraser, and an eraser pen, which is great for erasing small details. Any type of pencil and any type of eraser will work. The board and the masking tape for taping down the watercolor paper, paper towels, very important. Always keep them near your painting hand. You can find the full list of materials in the class description tab below this video. See you in the next lesson. 4. Tonal Scheme: In the first part of this class, we will do as much preparation for the watercolor painting as possible. I want to create this painting with the minimum amount of layers, probably no more than two. We should have a precise plan to be fully prepared. For the preparation process, we will create two schemes, tonal scheme and color scheme. Creating schemes like this is an effective exercise which trains your color analysis skills. The more you observe the world around you in this way, the better your ability to interpret what you see becomes. Doing this exercise on a daily basis even while just looking at things in a specific manner which I will describe in this lesson, will make you more able to create unique artwork based on your imagination and your own interpretation. The first scheme we'll create is a tonal scheme. The goal is to identify tonal relationships between different areas of the image. That means that we will create a black and white scheme using just regular pencils. To do this, we carefully observe our reference and first identify what are the lightest places in the image and what are the darkest. After we find the lightest and the darkest places, we will search for the main tonal gradations between the lightest and the darkest. For learning purposes, I have created a copy of the reference in black and white, where it is much simpler to see the tonal hierarchy. Sometimes color can be distracting and because of how our brains work, we can mistakenly perceive two different colors astonishingly different while they are identical and vice versa. To save time, for creating tonal and color schemes, we will not create the actual representation of the object. Instead, we will create tonal blocks inside the square to locate different tonalogy areas of our composition. Let's start by locating the eye, the chest, and the main black body of the toucan parts that create the highest contrast in the image. I don't concentrate on shape here, I'm just roughly sketching the abstract rectangular areas according to what I see on the reference. After this, I add the rest of the tonal blocks in the exact same way. As for here we work with tonal relationships and we need to create a full diversity of tones from light to dark. I have started to work with a harder pencil which leaves lighter lines. When I'm looking at my reference, I see that the lightest almost white areas are here in the chest area and here in the upper part of the beak. These are two areas of maximum contrast. This contrast is created by how this light areas are relating to neighboring dark areas. In the chest area, white is located next to the black, and in the upper part of the beak, white contrasts with a darker background. These what creates contrast, the context, the way one color looks next to the other. If this light parts were surrounded by similar tones, it wouldn't create a contrast. It's important to understand then when you wish to highlight a specific color to emphasize it, you can do this simply by locating this color next to the color which is significantly lighter or darker than the color you want to emphasize. While building the tonal scheme, I start with mid-tones creating the background. After completing the background, I move on to the darkest places. The black part of the body, the eye, and the line visually separating the beak from the head. Here I work with a softer pencil which helps to create darker lines. Note how by building two tonal areas, we have created the main tonal hierarchy of our three main tones; white, middle gray, and dark. Now, let's continue adding mid-tones between these three main grades. When adding every new area analyze how it is related to the mid-tone, is it lighter or darker? Working on my tonal scheme, first I identify how every relates to the background. Is it lighter or darker than the background? The more areas you have, the more anchor points you have. Always compare how each new area relates tonally to every existing area. If you see that you need to darken or lighten any of the areas, go for it. But don't forget to adjust all other parts appropriately. Definitely you can skip this step if you feel confident enough. But I do this almost anytime I append a new subjects or use an unusual composition. We don't need to invest a lot of time in this exercise. Just a simple five-minute sketch can give us a better understanding of the tonal hierarchy and we'll prepare us for the final painting. It's extremely useful in avoiding mistakes and creating area watercolor paintings where many layers of corrections can potentially destroy the transparent vibrancy of the watercolor. In the next lesson, we will move on to the next phase of preparation and we'll create a color scheme of our future painting. 5. Color Scheme: Now we will be concentrating on color. We will split the whole composition to main color areas. I'm creating a larger scheme this time. Again, a square, exactly as our final painting will be as well. I'll roughly sketch a three-by-three grid and locate the eye of the bird and the rest of the main abstract color blocks of the image. Color scheme is the next level of analysis. As the areas which were looking the same while building the tunnel scheme can be different in color. Let's see what that means. For example, here in the black and white scheme, the bottom part of the beak was looking like one solid area. But when I'm looking at my reference in color, I see that there are two different colors in here. These two colors, blue and green, are different hues, but they are similar in their value, in their lightness and darkness. Therefore, here in our color scheme, I create two separate blocks. Here it is. I think we're ready to move on to adding colors. But one small detail, I will add a thin white line along the upper edge of the beak here, as I want to emphasize the contrast in this area. I will also leave this upper edge white while painting our final work. Let's prepare our main colors. I will mix first, moving from the lightest to the darkest. The lightest color here is yellow. I will be using lemon yellow, which consists only from one pigment. It's vibrant and saturated exactly as our beautiful toucan. When I'm looking at yellow areas, I see that some areas appear yellow and some areas are lime green. For creating lime green, let's mix lemon yellow with Phthalo green. Here, we have the leaves which are as light as the yellow of the toucan, but this color is less saturated and more muted. It is important to know that if you want to mute or to desaturate a specific color, add a bit of complimentary color to it; a color which is the opposite on the color wheel. In my case, I will add a bit of red, which is a complimentary color to green. I am using the pyrrole red. Great. This is exactly what we need. As you can see here, I create swatches next to my schemes as I want to be better prepared and organized so I will not need to spend extra time searching for appropriate colors while painting. Let's continue with the beak. Here are three neighboring areas: orange, blue, and green. The green and the blue are tunnel identical and the orange is darker. Let's prepare colors. First, slightly muted but still bright green, exactly as we did with the leaves, but with less water. Now let's search for the right blue. I will experiment with two options and we'll choose which one fits better. First, let's mix Phthalo blue with lemon yellow. As the second option, let's mix Phthalo blue with Phthalo green. I'm adding both to my swatches. After they dried on paper, we can compare. I definitely like the second option more, with Phthalo green and Phthalo blue. Today, I will move forward with it. While the blue area is drying, let's move on to the orange. To get the orange, I mix lemon yellow with red. While the blue area is still drying, we have time to prepare the red color. The biggest area of red is the left part of the beak. Here, I see a deep burgundy color. To create this color, I'm adding Phthalo blue to the pyrrole red. Here it is. We see deep, beautiful, and slightly purplish red. Look how bright yellow and green are. Moreover, we can apply some magic and make these colors stand out even more. Let's see how to do this. One of the insights from the color theory is that by adding a complimentary color, we can affect colors. We can affect them in different ways. In our case, I want to emphasize and to increase the brightness of yellow. The complimentary color of yellow is purple. Using purple next to the yellow will affect it. Though, if we will use saturated deep purple, it will create a strong feeling; beautiful, but may be too aggressive bear. But if we will add a muted, even slightly grayish purple as a background, it will significantly increase the power of yellow. This is exactly what we can see on the reference. The pale grayish background emphasizes the yellow. It makes it higher and stronger. By making the background slightly more purplish than the reference, we can increase it even more. Muted purple will significantly increase the brightness of yellow. You can apply this method in all your works. By adding a complimentary color, you can increase specific colors. You can use it in the background, edit in the color palette of neighboring elements, or in any other ways. To create purple, I mix red with blue again, but with a larger proportion of blue. Looking at my tunnel scheme, I see that the left red edge of the beak overall is darker than the background. Keeping this in mind, we adjust the amount of water in both mixes accordingly. Purple background color should be lighter and more watery than the red, approximately as I did here in my swatches. The darkest color of our image is black. Today, I will be using lunar black, the unique watercolor with a granulating effect. This black will add an interesting texture to the black areas, but it is absolutely unnecessary. Now our color mixes are ready and we only need to finish applying them. Now, when we have this schemes ready, I feel much more confident. We have studied and analyzed our image and we are fully ready to dive into painting. But before this, in the next lesson, we will draw our toucan and we'll do some preparation of watercolor paper. See you there. 6. Drawing: Today, we will focus on Toucans Portrait. The years of practice have shown me that a successful sketch and careful preparation are essential parts of the process. On a later step, when painting with watercolor, it can be frustrating to discover the proportions are incorrect, or some important details are missing. I've prepared the reference and the paper in square formats. For simplifying the process, we will use a grid method, very simple in this case, a grid of three. We have it on our reference and we create it on our paper. First, careful observed the reference. Observe where there are most outward points of main elements. Observe lines and identify main proportions. Let's start from the eye. The eye of the bird is located exactly on the intersection of the grid lines, in the right upper part. Up to this, I roughly place all main elements, such as the head, the beak, and the chest. I find the most outward points of main elements and connect them according to what I see on the reference. Observe the curves, the angles between different shapes, and try to replicate them in your sketch. After the general scheme is ready, start defining lines and curves, build in a smooth silhouette of the bird. While observing the eye, I see a reflection from the landscape in front of the bird, the sky and the trees. Try to capture these small details as they will help you tell a story through your painting. Also start observing tonal relationships in small details. Look for the shadows and the highlights. Continue defining your sketch. Carefully specify each curve and each angle. While sketching, try to take a few short breaks to look at the sketch from further away. It will help you to identify imperfections and things you want to change or add. The beak of the toucan has a very sophisticated structure. It has different color areas, unique curves, and patterns in it. Carefully observe the bird and try to replicate the main details. Observe the relationships between the lines. Almost every line has its continuation in other body parts of the bird. In this class, we will not focus on feathers. Instead, we will just hint at the feather's texture in the curves of the bird's body silhouette. There is a plant in the left bottom corner. This plant beautifully adds value to the overall composition. It balances it and creates color harmony. But it will also not be our focus today. So I simplify it and reduce the number of leaves in it. You can experiment here by adding another plant that you think will fit well. Here it is, our sketch is ready, and now it is time to trace it to watercolor paper. For tracing sketches, I use this simple tracing pad. But if you don't have one, you can just trace your sketch through the window in daylight. In the next lesson, we will prepare our watercolor paper. 7. Paper Preparation: I'm excited that we are ready to start painting with watercolor. It is my favorite part. As I previously mentioned, I want to create this painting with a minimal number of layers, one or two maximum. The reason for doing that is that I think that this approach reveals the potential of watercolor in the best possible way. It helps us to keep the painting clean, vibrant, transparent. I believe that the beauty of watercolor is in this beautiful eerie effect. Not always, but sometimes a lot of layers of washes make your painting look a bit heavy and overdone. While painting with watercolor, my approach is to under-do rather than to overdo. But capturing so many details with only one or two layers might seem complicated. Paper dries quickly and we don't have enough time to paint all we need to paint. Today, I will demonstrate the approach of how to make this process easier. The first foundation of this approach is that we will bade each area in the wet-on-wet technique separately and make all efforts to give it a close to finished look. We will start painting from the most complicated areas with the maximum number of details. The upper part of the beak, the bottom part of the beak, the chest, the eye, the body, and the plant. The second foundation of the approach is that, before diving into the painting, around half an hour before taping down the paper, we pre-wet the paper a few times from both sides. This way, by the moment we start painting, the paper will be damp inside, but dry outside. This will significantly extend painting time until the paper dries. Here, it's important that you have 100 percent cotton paper. As cellulose paper cannot absorb water, the cotton paper nicely absorbs water. Take the biggest brush you have and wet the paper around five times from both sides. Make sure that the paper is fully wet. I use a natural hair brush, but synthetic one will work too. Avoid creating water paddles. Instead, try to create even layers of water on the paper surface. Wet one side, flip the paper, and wet the other side. Repeat this action around five times. When you are done, leave your paper to dry. The time of drying will depend on your climate and air humidity. In my case, it takes around 30 minutes. When working in this technique, I planned my time ahead. That means that I make sure that I have at least 3-4 hours to paint until the paper dries completely from inside. When the paper is dry outside and damp inside, we'll have significantly more time to work on each area in a wet-on-wet technique. When you see that the gloss from the surface of the paper has disappeared, it is time to start painting. 8. Toucan: Upper Part of the Beak: It's been 30 minutes since I finished wetting the paper. My paper is slightly damp, almost dry outside, and the gloss has disappeared, which means that we are ready to go. First, let's prepare color mixes that we discussed earlier in a sufficient quantity. Yellow, lime green, orange, reds, one warmer and one colder with more blue in it, and blue. After this, I changed my water as I wanted to be clean to keep the painting as clean as possible. Now, let's take down the paper to the board. Please note, that if your paper is not dry enough, it will be problematic for masking tape to stick. In this case, wait a few extra minutes. Now, we're ready to start. I will start from the most challenging part of the bird, the upper part of the beak. I will paint the whole area except the orange part, which has crisp edges, and it's better to paint it separately. In the beginning, when our paper is damp inside, we have more time for each area. It makes sense to start from the biggest parts with a lot of colors, shadows, and highlights. I carefully wet this area with my kolinsky hairbrush a few times. Make sure to create nice even layers of water, avoiding water paddles on the paper surface. It's good to have a brush with a pointed tip as it helps you create precise lines. Keep the paper towels nearby, so you can quickly fix the unwanted spread of water. Here, I mistakenly added water to an orange part. With the help of paper towel, I simply wipe the water from this area. When the paper is wet, it has a nice even gloss, and it's time to start applying watercolor. Here, I'll be working with my synthetic brush number 5, with a pointed tip. When observing my reference, I see that we have a few main parts and colors in this area. I will be applying appropriate colors one by one. First, I see an almost white line along the upper edge. As we previously discussed, to create maximum contrast, we will leave the upper edge of the beak untouched. In watercolors, we get white color by leaving the blank paper. Let's start by applying yellow before reaching the upper edge below our white line. I apply the color and smooth the borders with confident movements of the brush. Now, a bit of green at the top, following the curve of the upper edge of the beak. I apply the color and blend it into the yellow area with the brush. I start adding one more green area, starting from the right bottom corner, and follow into the edge of the orange part. At the very bottom right, I see the blue. I gradually increase the green in the upper part. Try not to blend the green and the blue at the bottom, as we want to keep them as separate areas. I continue to increase yellow, gradually building the volume according to what I see on the reference. Also I see a small blue point in the right upper corner, so I accurately apply a bit of blue here. I really love how diverse this area is. The more I look at the reference, the more details I see, and the more details I see, the more I can add to my painting to make it look alive. Now, I dig our second green. I pick a dense consistency of paint without a large amount of water in it, as I don't want the colors to spread out too much, and keep all color areas separated. They will have nice smooth borders between them, but they wont be mixed together. I apply the color and smooth borders with the brush. Just make sure when you do this, that your brush is damp, without a lot of water in it. As if the brush will be too wet, water will spread on the color and remove it. Continue increasing colors and building a volume in this area. We build the volume by creating highlights, shadows, and all that is in between, in appropriate places. Observe the reference and find all these elements and replicate them in your painting. Now, let's move on to the red part. Closer to the most outward point of the beak from the left, I see very bright light and saturated red. The mixes that I have on my palette are suitable for the mid-tones and shadows, so I take the unmixed read and apply it to this point. I add the color and spread it up and right with the brush. Also I add a bit of yellow here to make it warmer. I spread the color up and right according to the direction of the texture. I mix my yellow with red separately on my palette to increase the saturation of this area. I apply this mix slightly above the border and spread it up and right. This mix is dense, with a small amount of water, as I want to avoid spreading the color. Closer to the top border of the red area, I see beautiful Burgundy, purplish red. I take our dark red mix and add it here. Again, I apply colors in a way that they wont mix together too much, as I want to achieve this beautiful color diversity, instead of creating a plane red mess. Now, I apply a warmer red along the right border of the red area. When we paint borders in a wet and red technique, the borders look smooth and natural. Exactly the effect I want to achieve. I paint the borderline and carefully smoothen its borders with brush. Now, let's move on to painting shadows. I take saturated red mix and add it along the bottom edge, but leaving the left corner light as it is right now. After we applied red here, we'll blend it with the existing layer. I add some texture with sharp, thin brushstrokes. Now, let's continue increasing shadows. I take our purplish mix, dense, without a large amount of water, and apply it accordingly to what I see on the reference. Continue working on this red area. Gradually increase the shadows, add the new ones, add light texture with short brushstrokes following the direction of the beak's shape, varying the color of the strokes to make the texture look natural. I see that overall, the red area becomes lighter, closer to the right border, but the border itself is slightly darker, so let's slightly darken the color here. Again, I carefully paint a thin line with thick and concentrated mix of paint. After the line is ready, I smooth its borders with the brush. Now, I want to emphasize the highlight in the bottom right point. For doing this, I clean my brush, wipe it with the paper towel, and lift the color from highlighted areas. To lift the color from the paper with the brush, our brush should have less water than the paper, so it will be able to absorb water and paint from the paper. We'll leave the color here, and you can do this in all other highlight areas. Continue deepening the shadows, adding texture, and build the volume in this part. Remember, that the red area, especially its bottom edge, should be darker than the background, we will add later. Make sure that you darken it enough. Don't forget to emphasize highlights. Highlights are important as they show how beautiful our bird is illuminated by daylight. If you want to learn more about watercolor, and especially about watercolor techniques, head up to my profile page, where you can find other classes where I demonstrate these techniques in a very detailed way, especially these three classes where I explain the basics step-by-step. Also you can find the links to this classes in a Project and Resources tab below this video. As we pre-wetted the paper, this whole area is still down, and we had enough time to add a lot of details. I had been painting this part for about 40 minutes, and the fact that this paper stays damp for such a long time, makes the process much easier. Continue working on this area until you feel that the paper starts to dry. Once it becomes dry, stop immediately and move on to the next part. You can always wet the paper again and continue working. Now, I feel that my paper started to dry and I'm happy with the results. Vibrant colors, high contrast, highlights, shadows, everything looks almost finished. There are only a few touches missing to give this bird a final completed look. Now, we're ready to move on to the next part. 9. Toucan: Bottom Part of the Beak: In this lesson, we will want to painting the bottom part of the beak. When looking at our color scheme, I see that there are two main colors here, blue and green, which don't only look the same. Also looking at the reference, I see some red and orange which go from the upper middle point in the direction of the left corner. I wet this area a few times exactly as we did in the previous lesson. When wetting this bottom part makes sure that the upper part is completely dry so the paint will not spread up and will not create unwanted spots. When the paper is wet and has a nice even gloss, we can apply colors. I'm starting by applying a blue color, relatively water mix. I look at the reference and apply color accordingly to what I see. Don't be afraid of the amount of paint here, as watercolor has a tendency to become lighter once it dries. Apply the color and spread it with the brush. Remove excess water from the brush with a paper towel as you go. After this, let's apply some bright yellow in the right upper corner. Now let's add the beak green area. I take bright lime green and apply it in the middle. I apply color carefully, soften the color transitions between green and blue, but avoid mixing blue and green together. I see that the green is lighter than the blue. So I'm adding some darker green to decrease the tonal difference between the two areas. Also, as we discovered during our preparation exercise, the bottom part of the beak overall is darker than the upper part. So we should keep this in mind and create this difference in our painting. At this step, we should have approximately the same amount of water on the paper surface and in our brush. This way, we avoid spreading the paint in unwanted directions. Looking at the reference, I see the thin dark shadow along the bottom edge. For this shadow, I mix blue green, and a bit of red with a small amount of water. Here we are, we get this beautiful dark gray. At this step, I want my brush to be with enough paint, but almost without water in it to make sure this dark shadow will not spread out too far from the edge. I paint the shadow, wipe my brush with a paper towel and soften the borders of the shadow. Again, I take more paint, wipe the brush with a paper towel, and darken the shadow again. After this, let's darken the green area a bit more. I take our second green mix and apply it in shadowy areas. Now we move on to completing the orange and the red in the left corner of the beak. I take the orange and apply it along the upper edge, avoiding mixing with the blue. For the saturated red in the most outward left point, I mix red with the yellow and add it to this place. After painting the bright red area, let's add a purplish red, dark shadow at the bottom. I add the paint to the shadow area and soften its borders. Our red shadow doesn't feel dark enough, so I deepen it with purplish dark red. If we squint our eyes, we can see that this shadow is one of the darkest places of the beak. Obviously, we need to darken it more. I take my purple and mix it with gray that I have in the pallet, as here we need a very dark dense color. I take the mix, wipe the brush with a paper towel and deepen the shadow once again. It's important to note here that as you feel that your paper is still a bit damp, but it already starts to dry, use a dense consistency of paint and make sure your brush doesn't have excess water in it. Try to work with an almost dry brush. The very last stage, I'm adding a bit of texture as we did in the upper part. In the next lesson, we will continue working on other parts of the toucan. 10. Plant : The eye of the toucan has beautiful but complicated highlights where we can see the reflections from the objects in front of the toucan. For painting the eye of the bird, we have a few options. The first option, the option that I choose today, is to cover the highlights with the masking fluid. The second option is painting around the highlights, leaving the blank paper in the lightest areas and one more option is to add highlights on top with white paint, such as gouache or acrylic. So if you don't have masking fluid, you have all these options available. I apply masking fluid with an old thin brush. Usually, I don't use my working brushes for applying masking fluid. I add spots in the lightest areas, this way the paper in the lightest areas will be protected and we can paint on top. Now I leave it to dry, and in the meantime, move on to the orange area of the beak. This area is darker than the colors surrounding it so prepare your mix accordingly. We evenly cover the whole area with orange. I see highlight in the right upper part so I take clean wet brush, lift the color here and smooth the borders of the highlight. The final touch. As for the final touch, let's add a few darker spots along the edges. The masking fluid still hasn't dried completely so let's move on to the plant in the meantime. Looking at my color scheme, I see that the plants leaves are light and have a nice light green muted color. I'm not focusing on the details of this area, just roughly locating the main color of the leaves leaving highlights lighter and adding shadows where needed. The masking fluid is still a bit damp so let's continue adding other details in the meantime. While observing the beak of the bird, we see an interesting dark sharp edges triangle pattern. For painting this pattern. I'm going to use my thinnest brush number 0. For creating dark gray, I mix three primaries, blue, yellow, and red, until I get a nice deep gray. When observing the pattern, I see that each triangle has a few gradations of gray. In the wide edge, the triangles gray is darker and it becomes lighter in the direction of the pointed edge. I take the color and start gradually building curved triangles with short, thin, horizontal strokes, trying to replicate their natural texture. I start with light gray, gradually adding darker tones. Continue building the triangles one by one according to what you see on the reference. In the next lesson, we will move on to painting the chest of the bird. See you there. 11. Toucan: Chest: The masking fluid has finally dried, and we can move on to painting the chest. Looking into chest, I start splitting in mind this flat yellow area to different parts. We have lime green around the eye of the toucan and shadows in the left and in the bottom parts. Looking at the shadows, I see they are more yellowish and brownish in some areas while in the other more greenish. First, let's wet the whole chest area with water a few times, covering the eye as well. Because we have masking fluid in the highlights, they will stay white and dark shadows will be painted on top. But if you don't use masking fluid, just wet the chest, leaving the eye area dry. After the paper is wet, let's prepare colors. Lemon yellow, slightly warmer yellow mixed with a tiny amount of red. I will also use color mixes that already have on the ballot. I take the yellow and apply it to the brightest yellow parts. I'm starting with the eye area and gradually going down. Closer to the bottom, I see greenish yellow. So I add a bit of green here. Continue painting the chest, moving from the lightest to the darkest places. Observe the reference, identify the main colors and tones and replicate it in your painting as you go. The lightest places leave as light as possible, almost white. Vary colors in shadow areas. Add a bit of red to the yellow, or a bit of green. To get a deep and bright yellow, just add more paint to your mix without adding the water. Using dense consistency of paint, you can darken the yellow color. I see that my paper is still dumped, so let's continue adding more details in the eye area. Observing the reference, I see a light line around the eye. I lift the color around the eye with a clean rung out brush without any excess water in it. Around this eye circle, there is a green surrounding the eye. I take my bright lime green and apply it around the highlight. I apply the color and soften the borders with the brush. After this, continue gradually deepening colors and add small shadows. You can continue working until your paper starts to dry and it loses the nice even gloss. 12. Background: Because of the transparency qualities of watercolor, we usually paint from light to dark. First, we painted the brightest and the most detailed parts of the composition. Looking at the tonal scheme, I see that the next part, which is darker than the ready elements, is the background. Overall, the background is darker than the beak and the chest but it's significantly lighter than the black feathers. We have a ready color mix for the background that we prepared at the beginning of the class. I take this color and dilute it with water, making sure that I have sufficient quantity of mix to paint the background without taking a break to mix more color. Painting a smooth background with watercolor can be challenging. To keep it even and avoid creating transitions borders between new areas and areas that we already painted, we should work quickly and precisely. For painting the background, I'm using a Kolinsky brush with a very pointed tip. Natural hair brushes can hold a large amount of water, which can significantly extend painting time until we need to take more paint. The brush's pointed tip helps us to create precise and clean lines and carefully paint around the already painted parts. It is important to keep the border between the wet area and the dry area wet, even with a small wet paint paddle along the edge of the wet area. This way, we can create beautiful smooth transitions. If your goal to create a smooth even background, try to be consistent with the water to paint ratio as you go. That means avoiding taking too watery or too dense paint. Paint the whole background with approximately the same consistency of paint. The background is ready and in the next lesson, we will add the darkest areas. 13. Toucan: Black Details and Eye: The background is completely dry now, and we're ready to start painting the darkest areas. First, we will start from the thin black line on the beak of the toucan. When I observe this part, I see that it's not a flat-like area. Instead, we can see here highlights and curvy texture. For painting this area, I'll be using the gray that I already have on my palette, and the black that I have on a separate palette. For painting this area, I'll be using my thinnest synthetic brush. I slightly dilute the paint with water, remove excess water with a paper towel, and start carefully painting this part. I'll paint two thin lines and blend them together with a clean brush and water to create a highlight. Continue moving down, painting the silhouette of this shape, and leaving the highlights. Note that this area continuous to the bottom edge of the beak. Now, let's move on to painting the eye of the toucan. First, I carefully remove the masking fluid. When observing the reference, I see that the eye has a few colors: green, purple, and black in the darkest places. I have all these colors on my palette, so I will not create new mixes. First, we start from the middle tones, leaving the white areas untouched. I take green and start adding the paint according to what I see on the reference. Below the upper highlight, color changes to dark purple, so I change the color here. There is a nice smooth gradient in this part. After I added the paint, I smooth this area with a clean wet brush, trying to create this gradient that goes in the direction of the lightest highlight on the eye. After this, I continue working on the second part of the eye. I see here a reflection from the trees, and I create this curvy line in my painting. This line, together with the highlight, which is right above it, creates a highest contrast in the eye area. But in the meantime, we will leave this in middle gray, and we will gradually increase the darkness here at a later time. I also leave highlight at the bottom untouched. Please note that the outline of the eye is not an even circle, and we see the layer of wrinkles of the eyelid. So you can add it to your painting with light thin lines as well. I add an outer shadow, paint the line and smooth it with a clean wet brush. When the first layer of the eye has dried completely, we can continue gradually deepening the shadows in the darkest places. We are almost done. The one last detail we will add later to the eye is to darken the bottom half of the eye, increasing the shadow in the point of maximum contrast right below the highlight. 14. Toucan: Feathers: We have made huge progress so far, and we are close to finishing our painting. I have enjoyed the process. Which challenges have you faced? Please share your feelings, thoughts, and questions in the discussion section right below this video. I'm very curious about how you feel about the process and I will be happy to answer your questions. The next step we will take in this lesson will give our toucan an almost final look. We will paint the dark black feather apart. The feathers are not our focus today, so we will just paint a black body silhouette and add some hints with the feather's texture in a few places. When observing the bird, we can see the thin layer of red feathers separating the yellow and the black parts. We will bend these red feathers first. Let's cover the whole white area with water a few times. I mix pure red with a bit of lemon yellow for the red and I also add some deep purplish-red that I already have at the palette. I take our red and add it along this line exactly as I see it on the reference. After this, I take my thinnest brush and start creating the feather texture, uniting the yellow and the red with short thin brush strokes. Now let's move on to adding black. I take a bigger brush and start adding black moving from the top to the bottom. As I'm adding black sometimes I take a thinner brush and add a feather texture where I see it on the reference. Now, exactly as we did with the red color, I unite the yellow and the black with sharp, thin brushstrokes replicating the texture of the feathers. While our paper is still damp, let's blend the red and the black to create a more natural look. I take red, remove excess water with the paper towel, and carefully smooth the border between the red and the black, blending two colors together. Continue working on this area until your paper is damp. In the next lesson, we will move on to finishing touches. See you there. 15. Increasing Color and Shadows: Congratulations, we almost did it. I really like how our toucan looks at this step, so juicy and vibrant. Just imagine the results we have at this point was made with only one layer of paint. Exciting, isn't it? As finishing touches, we will increase saturation and deepen colors in a few places. This additions will bring our work to the next level. Let's go. We will start from the upper part of the beak. First, we'll wet the whole yellow area again a few times. I take lemon yellow, a pretty dense mix and add it in the upper part, following the curve of the beak. After this, I increase the yellow in the bottom part, just according to what we have on our beautiful reference. When deepening yellow areas, we avoid spreading the band to the highlight as we want to create as much volume here as possible. Now let's take green and increase the shadow in the upper right part. I apply paint and blend the yellow and green together, leaving the upper edge white. For the bottom right area, I take a darker [inaudible] green and add it to a few places. Continue darkening the colors until you're satisfied with the result. Now, let's move on to the bottom part of the beak. I carefully cover the whole bottom area with water a few times. Once it has a nice even gloss, I take the blue and darken the blue areas. Remember the bottom part of the beak overall is darker than the upper one. After this, I prepare more of the green mix. I take the paint and apply it in the darkest places in the green area. Again, continue deepening the shadows here until your paper starts to dry. Now, when the upper part of the beak has dried, we can move on to the red part on the left. I mix more of the red by mixing red with yellow and dilute it with water. First, let's darken the whole red area by applying the watery red mix to the whole wet area. Now, I clean my brush, reduce excess water with a paper towel, and lift the color from the highlight in the upper part. After this, let's increase the darkness of the shadow areas. I take the dark purplish mix and darken the shadows along the bottom edge. After I added the paint, I smooth the borders with the brush, removing excess water from the brush with the paper towel as I go. To add crispness to this part, I take a very dense consistency of paint and add one more layer of dark paint along the edge. While the beak is drying, let's add some final touches to the eye. I see that the bottom part of the eye is significantly darker on our reference than in our painting. I take the dark gray that I have on my palette and add one more layer to the whole dark area of the eye, except the upper highlights. For the darkest places, I take dense consistency black and darken these areas once again. This final touches makes the toucan's eye look crisper and more realistic. Now I can feel how the bird is looking at us. One of the last details that we will add to the beak is to deepen the color of the orange area. I prepare an orange mix and add one more layer of watery orange on top. For the tiny shadows along the outline of this area, I take a reddish orange and apply it along the edges in a few places. Looking at the plant, I feel that it's too pale and I want to deepen the colors there a bit. I prepare green mixes and deepen in shadows on the leaves. Now, when the orange area has dried completely, we will add a crisp, dark, thin shadow separating the upper and bottom parts of the beak. For creating this shadow, I use dark brownish gray and two brushes. My thinnest synthetic brush for actually painting the shadow and a second synthetic brush, number 6 for smoothing the borders of the line. As the very last touch to the beak, we will darken shadows along the bottom edge of the beak. First, I take a dense purplish, dark red and apply it in the area of darkest red shadow. I apply color and smooth the borders with a clean wet brush. I gave it some time to dry and now I prepare the bluish gray for the shadow below the green and the blue. I take a regular mix of gray and add a bit of blue here. Again, I work with two brushes. The first one is the brush covered with paint for painting the shadow, and the second one, a clean wet brush for smoothing the borders. In the next and the last lesson, we will complete the head and the body of the bird. See you there. 16. Finishing Touches: In this lesson, we will complete our painting by bringing in more texture and details in the head and the body parts of the toucan. First, I see that the yellow part of the head and the chest is missing color and texture. But this time we will not do it with the help of washes. Instead, we will create a delicate layer of hedging the chest with thin, gentle brushstrokes following the direction of the feathers. To do this, we will use the thinnest brush and the mixes that we already have in the palette and that we were using when painting the chest. Carefully observe the reference and identify places where the shadow should be darker, which colors you see in different areas, and where you see this beautiful feather texture. Build a plan for yourself of things you want to emphasize and replicate in your painting. At this step, avoid using very watery mixes. Try to find an appropriate water to paint ratio, which will allow you to create thin, gentle strokes. I start from around the eye area, I create a texture replicating the direction of the feathers. I gradually change the colors according to what I see on the reference. I start with green colors and gradually move into a more yellowish color. After finishing the eye area, I go down to the chest and increase the color in the most saturated yellow areas. After the lightest areas are completed, I move on to the shadow. Add in a layer of green brushstrokes at the bottom and brownish yellow below the beak. I prefer to under do rather than over do when painting in watercolor and if you prefer these two, it's important to stop when you feel that it's enough. Unless hedging might cause a messy look. I'm pretty happy with how the chest is looking at this stage and I move on to the dark part of the toucans body. First, I will add the texture in the transition area between the red and the black. For doing this, I use red color first, gradually add a darker brushstrokes. This way, we get a smooth transition between the two areas. As the very last step, I'm completing the black silhouette of the toucan. Here I fix in the curves of the silhouette and increasing the black color in a few places. Here we are, I can't describe how much I enjoyed the process. I'm satisfied with the result although it was my first time painting a toucan. I hope you enjoyed the process as much as I do. Upload your projects to the project and resources tab below this video. I will be more than happy to see what you created and hear your feedback about the class. 17. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for being with me today. I hope you hold in your hands a beautiful vibrant painting and that you have learned something new. One of the most valuable tips that I can give you today is don't be afraid to start exploring something new. The fear disappears instantly when you start working. Only with consistent practice, can you make significant progress. Hours of practice and inner passion give you confidence, power, and help you to discover your own artistic style. Please, take a minute to review the class. I appreciate all the feedback I get from you. It helps me to grow and to create even better classes. My heart is filled with love when you show me your creations. Please upload your project to the Project and Resources tab below this video and tag me on Instagram with katya.rozz, so I will be able to see your work. Thanks to each of you and see you in the next class.