Watercolor BlueJay: Pro Techniques Explained | Anna Bucciarelli | Skillshare

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Watercolor BlueJay: Pro Techniques Explained

teacher avatar Anna Bucciarelli, Professional Illustrator

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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

12 Lessons (1h 11m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies & Tools

    • 3. Color Palette

    • 4. Your Project & Process Overview

    • 5. Step 1: Outline & Mask

    • 6. Step 2: Background Layer

    • 7. Step 3(a): Definition Layer (Body)

    • 8. Step 3(b): Definition Layer (Head)

    • 9. Step 4(a): Accent Layer (Body)

    • 10. Step 4(b): Accent Layer (Head)

    • 11. BONUS Lesson: Scarlet Rowan Berries

    • 12. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Watercolor birds are a joy to paint, and BlueJays are a perennial favorite! Their vibrant blue feathers look great in any setting - from summer rose bushes to winter trees.  

In this class, you will learn how to paint this beautiful bird step-by-step as I walk you through my painting process in real time, with detailed instructions. I will also provide you with detailed recommendations regarding the materials and techniques I use for bird paintings, and provide a list of alternative brands and products you may wish to consider.  


What you can expect to learn in this class:

  • Layering¬†watercolors¬†to achieve a vibrant realistic result with intricate details: from the Background wash, to Definition and Accent washes,
  • Applying masking fluid: when and why,
  • Building¬†a perfect palette: including base color, highlights and shadow pigments, as well as the supporting colors to help you boost the vibrant blues on the feathers,
  • Interpreting¬†light¬†and how it affects your color choices,
  • Using¬†brush strokes¬†that bring your bird paintings to life - from small feathers to¬†intricate patterns.

A bonus lesson will include a demonstration of the Scarlet Japanese Rowan including berries and leafs. Of course, you may choose to place your bluejay on any tree branch or flower bush of your choice - the vibrant blue feathers will look gratin any setting! Check out some of the compositions I've painted recently, featuring bluejays:



This class is suitable for intermediate artists who are already comfortable with the basic watercolor techniques, including wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry. But if you are a beginner, I would encourage you to challenge yourself and try a few lessons so you can get more comfortable with the layering techniques, and learn more about the palette building. 

Happy painting!


Meet Your Teacher

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Anna Bucciarelli

Professional Illustrator



Hello and welcome to my Skillshare channel! My name is Anna, I am a Canadian money designer,  and illustrator of all things intricate and beautiful. You may have seen my art on Canadian silver dollar coins, Starbucks holiday cups, or the streets of Toronto. My painting style is influenced by the decorative tradition of “Petrykivka” painting – an Eastern European art focusing on floral and plant motifs.

I teach advanced watercolor and gouache here on SkillShare. You can also find lots of painting resources on my YouTube channel, visit my website or follow me on Instagram @anna.m.bucciarelli if you want to learn more about my work or simply say Hello!


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1. Introduction: Hello, everyone. And welcome to my channel. Today we're going to paint a watercolor bird. This is actually a part one of a two part series where I'm going to show you how to paint different birds. But we're going to start with this beautiful blue jay. If you like the class, don't forget to subscribe, because in the next class, I'm going to show you how to paint a red cardinal and a yellow chicken. Hi, My name is Anna. I'm a professional illustrator, designer of Canadian money, and I love teaching watercolor. So in this class, we're going to paint a blue Jay step by step, and I'm gonna share all my tips and techniques with you so you can come up with a beautiful , realistic bird. This approach could be applied to any watercolor painting, and it will definitely help you feel more comfortable with watercolor medium and plan your layers and washes in the way that will achieve the most realistic result. I will share my list of supplies, and these air just suggested supplies. I also have a list of alternatives that you may want to consider. We will talk about how to build our color palette. And if you've seen my previous botanical classes, you know that I have a very specific structure for a palate. We'll use something very similar to organize our colors for this beautiful bird. If you ever wondered about how to build your palate around a particular subject, this will be very helpful as we talk about our base colors or light and shadow colors and our boost colors that really hope, accentuate your work and really make it pop in terms of the process. Therefore, key steps and I will explain the rational for each step. So we're going to start with an outline, and masking fluid will talk a little bit about the reasons for using it and how it can enhance your work. In Step two, we're going to talk about our background layer will talk about the direction of light and how it affects your subject and how it can really inform your color tourists. Step three is all about the definition, and that's where we're going to start adding more details, and I'll talk to you a little bit about different strokes and different approaches on how to create a realistic effect of feathers on the bird. It's the four is our accent layer, and this is where we finish our painting and put on those finishing touches those accents that will really enhance your work and the bonus lesson. I will show you how I painted thes red leaves and some Berries with snow, but you can pick any surrounding for your beautiful bird, and this will be your class project. Now this class is more suitable for those who are already familiar with the watercolor mediums. But if you are a beginner, don't be afraid to try. You will definitely pick up some useful tips and techniques, and you will be able to see my every stroke in real time. And I'm going to in the rate. And he will also have a written explanation on the side of the screen so that you can understand every stroke and every color placement. So if you're ready, let's take it to the table and get started 2. Supplies & Tools: hello again and welcome to the class. So before we start painting, I wanted to talk a little bit about the supplies you need. And please keep in mind that this is just a general guide. I encourage you to use the supplies you have. If you see something that catches your eye that you really like, you will find the full list in the supplies handout which I saved in the class Resource is section on skill share website. But I also created a list of alternatives for you. And you can modify any of these and substitute for your favorite colors your favorite brushes. The only thing that I always mention is the paper will absolutely be key for this painting . We're going to put down three layers of color and you want to make sure that your paper can withstand that. So going with professional watercolor paper is my most important recommendation. I use arches cold pressed, £140. You can go up to 300 but 140 will be enough for three layers of color. And for the actual painting, I used quite a large block. Bacon use arches and smaller blocks or use loose sheets, which he would have to stretch. The reason why I prefer blocks is because they prevent paper from buckling, and they're already kind of stretched, so it's convenient. But again, you don't have to use arches brand. As long as you use professional watercolor paper that's 100% cotton. You will get good results. Another thing we will need is a pencil to create an outline, and I recommend going with the heart pencil so you can find that specification usually on the side of the pencil. If it says to age or four age, which indicates hardness, that's good enough. You need a good eraser soft eraser to erase our masking fluid. And I like these pointed erasers because they let me get into the details without lifting the paint around. The masking fluid way will need in the very first step of the painting, and this is to make sure that we protect little spots on the bird that we want to keep white. It's possible to paint around them, but quite difficult, And, uh, I usually recommend starting with them asking food just to preserve those highlights. I'm using Windsor and Newton masking fluid there many wonderful brands of masking fluid, and you can find all my favorites in the list of supplies in the project. Resource is section now. In order to apply masking fluid, you need a good applicator or on old thin brush. You can also use imagistic. I prefer rubber applicators. They act like a brush but don't require a lot of cleaning. And they're quite flexible. The brand I use is royal silvery. We'll need a jar of water, and I know a lot of people like to use two jars, so one to clean your brush and the 2nd 1 to make sure it's completely clean, because your water can get quite dirty during the process. So one or two jars of Clearwater and a piece of tissue paper so you can get rid of excess water on your brush when you need it. In terms of the brushes, you have a couple of options. So what you will see me using is Kolinsky sable brush. It's a natural sable brush and sable brushes are one of the best for watercolors, but they're also quite expensive and in Canada, anyway, rare to find, um, the reason why I use just one brush ISS because I wanted to focus on the process and not switching between different brushes. Kolinsky Sable retains a lot of water, but it also has a very precise tip. So I'm able to do larger washes and also smaller details. If you don't have a Kolinsky sable brush, you may want to pick a couple of synthetic brushes or squirrel brushes in different sizes. So depending on the size of your bird, you can choose something larger, like in size for six or eight, and also a couple of smaller brushes and size one, Um, or even zero. If you're painting on a smaller piece of paper for those smaller details, we'll need a palate. And I prefer porcelain pallets because they don't absorb any color and like plastic ones. And, uh, you can really see what your pigment will look like on paper when you're mixing it in terms of the optional supplies. Some people like to use watercolor medium. I'm using core watercolor medium. Just a few drops in your jar of water. It helps with water control, and it keeps your water from drying too fast. It also improves the flow off color. On paper, it's not necessary. The bird were. Painting is quite small, so so you will have good control over your pigments. But it's Ah, good. Nice to have a tool that you can add to your favorite supply list if you feel like it. The's Air just recommendations and in my supplies handout that I created for this class, you can find some great alternatives. Other brands, other sizes. So let's move on to our next lesson and talk about the color palette. 3. Color Palette: if we start painting, let's talk about the color palette, and I have a very specific way of organizing my colors for any painting. If you've seen any of my previous botanical watercolor classes, you know that I have a whole system and you may have seen this little diagram. Essentially, it helps me organize my background colors, my light and shadow colors, my boost colors and some additional colors for darker spots and things like that. So when it comes to birds, my palate structure is quite similar. So for birds that don't have many different sections of color that have sort of one main color, like our blue jay structure of the product is exactly the same in the sense that I always pick my base color. In this case, it's going to be booed, and I'm using ultra Marine boom from my Windsor and Newton set. You may find something similar in your set. Ultra Marine is quite common and exists in virtually every brand. So here's what it's going to look like on paper, and we're gonna use quite a different range of values, so from very dark to light, four are boost color, which is different from a highlight color. This is just a color that would choose that similar to our base, but much more vibrant and potentially adds a little bit off warmth and intensity. I will use my Windsor blue green shape. It also comes in different sets from different brands, and it's typically called filer Blue Windsor Newton disquieted Windsor blue green shades. You can see it's a lot more saturated, and it does have a bit of green in. It will often use it with our base color for our dark spots. And our blue jay has a lot of those, especially on the wings and tail a bit around the eyes. We want to choose the darkest color over pounds, so I always say, Don't use black because black make can make your painting with a natural. So indigo is a very good choice because it's almost like black, but it has a bit of those blues in it, and it will blend nicely with our base car. If you don't have indigo, you can use a mixture of black and blue, or you can also use something like Payne's gray and at some blue to it. Now we also will have just a couple of highlights. Not a lot. So if you don't have this teal color option. But I did use just a few drops of teal in the beginning. And so let's say this is our highlight color on the spots that are closest to the sun. Where really want to add some warmth? And now the two final optional colors are coral and purple, and these are optional because you can get away just with using your base color on white feathers. But I like to add some variation and some visual interest on my white feathers, because white often reflects other colors, and I want to choose something warm and something that's complementary. Toe are blues, so if you have a nice coral color and using Quinn occurred on Koro from Daniel Smith and some purple amusing docks designed purple from core. It's one of my favorite two colors, and they will blend nicely with our blues. I'm gonna use them just a bit just on the chest of the bird and some of the other areas where half white color but they're optional. You can use your favorite blue or purple or violet here again will only use a bit of thes and Onley as a very, very light wash or a few very light strokes. In the next lesson, I will talk about our process, start to finish really high level outgoing, see you to understand the steps that we're going to go through. 4. Your Project & Process Overview: for your class project. You're gonna paint a blue jay. I will show you all the steps very slowly in real time. In terms of the background, you can choose where you want your blue jay to sit. It can be winter time, which is what I painted with these red Berries and a little bit of snow. Or it could be summer time. I often paint blue jays sitting in flowers because they create such beautiful contrast with their blue feathers. So any kind of flower bush would look great. It can simply sit on Ah, a tree branch. Or another thing that I like to do is paint them in red maple leaves, which again just creates very beautiful contrast against the blue feathers of the bird. I encourage you to pick whatever plant or flower or tree you like. If you are interested in seeing how I painted the leaves and the Berries in this particular painting, I saved a bonus lesson for you all the way to the end. Now let's quickly talk about the process of painting that we're going to follow and the key steps you need to be aware of and prepare for Before we start applying the colors, we're gonna need to create an outline and you can download the reference picture from the resource is section off our class and we'll use masking fluid to mask some white spots on the bird. Once the masking fluid is dry, we're gonna proceed with our color layers and there will be three layers in total. And the main thing to remember here is, as we always do with watercolors, we paint from light to dark, so we're going to start with a very light layer. I called my background layer, and it's not an official name, just ah ah, a term I use to help me differentiate between different steps. The background layer is key in the sense that the colors that we're going to use here and the different value different saturation levels are going to help us define how the next steps are going to proceed. So we're gonna keep it very light. And what you're gonna end up with is something like this just a general shape of a bird. No details, very light colored areas blending one into another. And we're gonna use wet on wet technique here the second step will be our definition layer , and this is where we're going to switch to wet on dry meaning. Painting with a wet brush on dry papers or first bedroom layer will be completely dry. We're going to start adding some definition toe are areas of light and shadow. You will see me using a lot more saturated colors. Not quite the darkest, more most saturated, but much more saturated than in the first layer. And we're going to really start creating some texture here. So this will be your opportunity to start defining some of the areas on the feathers on the head, and you will see the shape of ah bird emerge and starting to look more realistic. But we're not quite there yet with our details until we move on to our next color layer or third color layer, which I called an accent layer. And essentially, this will be our finishing layer, where we're going to really accentuate our areas of light and shadow, accentuate our colors at some boost to the areas that we want to stand out and add lots more detail on the feathers, including some tiny details around the eye of the bird and the beak. This is also the step where you're going to paint those beautiful details, those markings on the feathers and the tail, and so the bird will start looking a lot more realistic. 5. Step 1: Outline & Mask: Welcome to Step one. Before we start painting, you will have to download the reference image of the blue Jay It's in. The resource is section off this class, and you can use whatever technique you're most comfortable with in terms of transferring the outline to paper. Either do it by hand, or you can use a light box tracing paper. You can also use a window and some sunlight. Just print off the outline. Put your watercolor paper and top and trace it lightly with a pencil. The key here would be to use a very light pencil so you don't leave a lot of markings on paper. Once you outline is ready, we can start buying masking fluid, and the reason why this is our first step is because we need to mask some of the white spots on the bird. It's possible to paint around them with the water color, but it would be quite difficult, so I recommend just putting a little bit of masking fluid using your favorite applicator so you can grab an old brush or a matchstick. My favorite tool from asking fluid is actually a rubber color shaper. It's this tiny applicator that allows me to put really thin lines, and you can see my favorite masking fluid brands on the left. I'm using Windsor and Newton right now and just looking at the reference drawing. I'm going to cover the areas that I want to keep white with a light lier off my masking fluid, mostly on the wings, a few lines on the tail and around the back of the bird. Just a few strokes, and this will help me create some highlights on the feathers. I'll also put tiny dot on the I. This is for the highlight. I'll put a line along the beak, do a couple of tiny strokes on the head of the bird again. This is just to indicate where the highlights will be in. This will help us create a very realistic effect. When you're ready, let your masking fluid dry thoroughly. Um, I left it for about an hour, and we can start painting our first layer of color 6. Step 2: Background Layer: welcome to Step two, and we're just creating a background layer of color. Very light. Our goal here is to create a very soft color wash so no details will be applied at this stage, and we're going to use what's known as wet on wet technique. So first, cover the whole area with a very thin layer water and then start adding paint. Another way of doing it is apply a very light wash of color and then add additional drops of paint. See them spread. So here I go, with a very first drop of color. I'm gonna do a super light kobo teal highlight just on top of the wings. It's really warm, and I'm going to do the same thing on the tail, and that's about it for our teal color. I really want to focus on my blues, and so the 1st 1 I'm going to use is ultra Marine blue, and I'm using Windsor and Newton. This color is very common, and you can find it in your favorite set, so I'm going to just add a few drops of it all around the bird's body, and you can see that I'm trying to leave certain parts white on the back of the bird. That's Ah because I decided that my source of light is on the left. And this will be very important because it will help us organize our colors and make sure that the saturation is correct. And it all follows the logic of light. So on the tail, as its lower and more in the dark, I'm gonna use more saturated blue. And on the back of the bird, I left a few spots completely white. And now I'm doing the wing. I'm going to add a few additional colors right now, and these air not required. You can just leave that ultra marine blue without any additional colors. But if you do have some purple or coral, you can add a few for visual interest. And it really does help creating beautiful, shimmering effect. So you can see I dropped a few purples, sort of on back of the bird and also on the tail. And now we're moving on to the area off the chest of the bird. So the chest of the bird is hidden away from our source of light. So even though the feathers air white. I want to add a little bit of color because off the shadow and also because of the potential reflections that we get on white feathers. So I'm going to use again my purple and my quarrel and do a much lighter wash their And now we're ready to add our boost color. In my case, I'm using Windsor and Blue Green Shade. Um, you can also find this color in your set and and may be called something like Thilo boo. Um, but essentially, it's a much brighter blue. And I just dropped a couple of, uh, color spots on the wing and the tail. And now let's do the shadows. And we agreed when we talked about the color palette that the best choices probably indigo and not black. So I'm gonna use my indigo Now. I'm watching the color spread and dry, and I have a little bit more control over how it spreads. So I'm gonna go back to my base color and start building more saturated areas so you can see on the tail. I'm able to do some straight lines without color, spreading too much, going to use a little bit more into go for shadows, and I'm doing this very, very slowly. And as the paper dries out, although it's still damp, allowing my colors to blend, I have much more control. I'm keeping the areas that I wanted to keep light. I'm keeping them without any color. You can see there's a little bit of blending happening right now on the back of the bird, so that highlight is being more defined by the colors I put around it. You can see the masking fluid is starting to show, and those will be our further highlights. But overall, all colors are blending into each other. And so it creates a nice background layer that will really help us define how are subsequent layers will look like. And now let's do the same thing on the head. So following the same process, I'm just going to do a super light wash using the base color, and I'm gonna leave the top blank for now. And I'm gonna add just a little bit of teal for that warm highlight. I'm gonna continue with my base color all the way down around the beak, around the eye, underneath the beak. And now that it's drying out, I'm gonna start adding my boost color again. Remember, the source of light is on the left. So the further away we get from the light, the more saturated our colors can get on that you can see him using just a tip of the brush to get into those areas where we have white feathers just to make it a bit more realistic. You don't want a hard edge. You want to kind of create a bit of, ah, jagged edge there just to indicate where white feathers will overlap with darker feathers, much darker blue or indigo underneath the beak. And I think I'm gonna leave the head for now and move on to the legs so the legs are really dark. But we're going to do a base layer under painting with our boost color are Windsor and blue green shade. Or in your case, it could be Thilo blue. So you can see I covered the entire area on each leg. With that color, I'm gonna go back to the beak. It's roughly the same palette. So I'm gonna also start with my Thilo blue under painting and lastly, do the eye again. Those will be really dark in the end. But I'm just doing the under painting to give me a chance to reveal those highlights later on. When I applied darker color and now a super light wash off our boost color just on the white feathers and that's it. This is our background layer. This is probably one of the most important steps, and the painting were establishing a background color palette. It will help us keep the overall color scheme cohesive up. Next, the definition layer, we're going to start defining some details on Herbert. 7. Step 3(a): Definition Layer (Body): this'll Listen, I'm gonna show you how to create a definition layer, which is the second layer of paint, and we're only going to focus on the body off the bird. So you want to make sure that the first background layer is completely dry and we're going to use wet on dry technique, creating definition and outlining our shadows, accentuating highlights, and we're going to start adding some details on the feathers to create some beautiful textures. So our goal here is really to define areas of light and shadow that we sort of started in the first step with our background layer, and here we can start applying more saturated colors, so you'll see our bird emerging on, and it's gonna look a lot more vibrant. I'm going to start with the back of the bird. This is our biggest highlight, and I left it white if you recall in the very first step. So right now what I'm going to do is at a little bit of ultra Marine blue all around that highlight and I'm going to for now, keep the edge quite soft. Word blends into the highlights you can see. I hope myself by doing light wash of Clearwater on the highlight. But as we proceed as we move forward with our layers, it's gonna become more and more defined. So you can see I'm not putting too much color on the area on right on top of the bird on the left, but a lot more on the right and on the area where the wings start. So again, this is exactly according to the direction of light. I don't have a reference photo, but we have some good understanding of how the light lands on our bird because we decided early on where the sun is shining from which angle, Uh, and now I'm going to move on to our wings and here I'm going to start with the boost color right away, and it will help me differentiate the wings from the body of the bird and the back of the bird. And I'm going to start with these side wings just a very a light wash, although much more saturated than our background layer, and I'm gonna follow and add a bit more base color just to make sure that it's getting darker and darker. On the tip of the wings here, I decided to come back and add a bit of our boost color to the back just again to accentuate that highlight the paper there is still a bit damp, so it's spreading nicely, and I like the effect it's creating. And now let's do the tail. So first, just a light wash of our base color all along a side of the main feather and then a bit of a boost color. And now I'm gonna do the other side and this one I'm gonna go with the boost color first. And the reason why I'm doing this is because that side is really facing delight. So I wanted to be a bit lighter in terms of the value and also warmer. So really, we're creating a realistic shape just by using our colors and values. And you can see that I'm leaving a lot of very thin blank line in between the two sides of the feather. So there is a bit of a contrast because the two sides have slightly different angle, and so delight illuminates them differently. So I'm gonna finish the right side with a mixture of my base and boost colors. Then I'm gonna do the left side. So the site is really much lighter. Um, and I want to make sure I keep it lighter than the right side. So I'm just gonna start by doing a bit of my base color at the bottom and then spread it up just with clear water. I really, really want to make sure I keep it light, and now it's too, the chest and legs, so these feathers are technically white, but we do. I want to add some definition just by outlining the shadows under the wing, and I'm using my indigo, a very, very light wash I don't have in to go. You can use a soft grey like Payne's gray and just a few tiny strokes in the middle of the leg. And this is just to help create some texture and reflect that furthers sometimes stick out , so there might be some additional shows, but again, super light. Let's use a bit of a darker indigo mixture, or again Payne's gray, where you can mix your black with blue, and now we can do the legs, and what I'm doing here is, if you recall in the previous step we use a light wash of blue, so I'm going to start outlining the leg with my dark color, leaving a couple of highlights. I don't want them to be white, so that's why we did that blue wash. The leg is still dark, so our highlights will be darker than, say, the ones on the back of the bird. But nevertheless, there is some good contrast of highlights and shadows when we use our indigo and leave a couple of spots of that Fiallo blue shining through. So far, this is the darkest area of the birds that we painted. And now let's ah, go back to our talk feathers and started defining the beautiful patterns there. So this part will require your small is brush. I'm using a Kolinsky sable brush and size four and sable is super pointed. This is appointed round brush from a Skoda s so I can get away with using size. For if you're using a synthetic brushes, um, you may want to downsize to, like, size to brush, just to make sure that you have enough control to create those a little patches of color on the wings. And it's important in this stage to really look at your reference photo or the reference painting. Um, just to make sure you get the sequence of light and dark spots correctly so you can see what I did on the left side. Now, let's do the right side. Gonna start doing thin outlines and then paint those darker spots. I'm using my base blue and my boost blue, and I'm gonna come back to this area later. I wanted to dry right now. Let's do this cluster of feathers on top of the wing. Gonna start with my boost blue a little bit, blend it with clear water and then as it dries out, continue adding more and more right there whether blue spots end and the white spots begin . Now, let's move a little bit down. Using our boost, blue color outlined the cluster feathers at a bit of indigo. Let it spread. So the further you move down the feather further down you move, the darker it will become typically. And now let's apply the same logic to these long feathers on the side. And I'm using a mixture of indigo and sometimes my base color, and I'm just shaping those feathers according to the direction of light. So even though the color of those feathers IHS solid, I want to make sure that I create nice outlines underneath each feather just to show that there is a shadow there, a couple of thin lines on the top furthers. And now let's leave it to dry. I'm gonna use a very, very light mixture off my purple, but slightly darker than the one we used in the first layer. And I'm just going to do a couple of tiny strokes on the chest. Let's allow the section to dry and let's focus on the head of the bird and we're gonna apply the same principles, start creating some definition on the head. 8. Step 3(b): Definition Layer (Head): So in this lesson, we're gonna create a definition layer on the head of the bird. And just like on the body, our objective here is to define areas of light and shadow. We're doing it with a wet brush on on a dry background layer so wet on dry we have a lot more control. We're playing more saturated colors and really focusing on defining one section at a time, just like we did with the body. So let's start with the head and I'm going to at a little bit of my base and boost colors. More details on the tips of the feathers, more saturated color as I moved towards the beak. Because of the way the head is illuminated by light, our source of light is on the left. If I need to lift some color while this layer is still dry, I'm just gonna use a dry brush. Now let's move down to the area around the eye, using our boost color just a little bit of a shadow around that cluster of feathers on the bottom side of that cluster. That's too the white section under the B. We know that our shadow will be more intense there. So again, just a tiny bit off Windsor Blue. Just a few strokes now under the eye. You sort of have four clusters there off white feathers. And those are the ones that were trying to define so very carefully. We don't want to cover the entire area in those four sections with color, but we do want to create a sense of a shape. So on the right side and under the beak, we can add a bit more color. No, let's do the beak. A light wash of our boost color will come back to this section for sure, and it's gonna be very, very dark in the end. But I want to create an opportunity for us to reveal some beautiful highlights on that black beaks, just like we did with legs. I'm going to start with an under painting, and I'm gonna intensify that blue and no, the I I'm not gonna do any more under painting here. Just go in with my purple color. And when it comes to the eyes, you want the top part of the eyeball to be the darkest because of the way the eyes are shaped that area is really a sphere. Your shadow will actually be more most intense on top, and that's it. For now. Let's leave our bird to dry thoroughly and we'll move on to or third lier. And that's where we're gonna do lots and lots of details and use much more saturated colors . 9. Step 4(a): Accent Layer (Body): in this lesson, we're going to create an accent layer. But before we start, let's make sure our bird is completely dry. And now I feel comfortable to remove, are masking fluid and reveal our white highlights. So everything we do from this point on will be without masking food. We're gonna paint around our white highlights just with the tip of the brush. Time to add our accents. And this is where the rial fund starts. So let's, uh, do our feathers on the wings first. I'm using a much darker into go right now, and I'm now creating those patterns on the wings. And here, don't be afraid to use saturated color, but not the darkest you can do. But here, I'll show you sort of how I go about getting the right value. So I have a bit of my indigo in the palate well, at a little bit of water, and I can see this is why I like porcelain pallets. I can sort of see how saturated it iss in the palate, and I just grab it from there. I need to add more. I had a little bit more. I need to add less I pick it up from the lighter side of the poet, we still have an opportunity to have some variation in value, so you can see that on the right hand side, I'm adding a bit more saturated in to go, and I'm just dropping it in the area that's already wet again. This is, uh, according to the direction of light. So I know that the further way I move from the left hand side, the darker I can go because our source of light is on the left. He can see him going quite dark here. I really want to make sure that those long feathers on the wing are well defined. So as they move up, it gets a little bit lighter. And now the beautiful pattern on those long feathers, a couple of tiny strokes and a long line. That's what I'm doing. Essentially step by step, feather by feather. I outlined the shape of the feather from the bottom up and then at a couple of details on the feather. Now that cluster of feathers all the way on the top, right and further up outlining the feather and then adding a couple of spots those dark spots. You can use your reference picture or your pencil marks or both. But, uh, the key here is to use your smallest brush and decide on where those dark spots are before you put the brush down. There's not a lot of opportunity to fix mistakes in the stage. Well, don't drive very small details. So I think I'm happy with what it looks like now, and we're gonna come back to this later and make it even more dark and certain areas. But for now, let's do the tail. Thistle is a bit easier because the feathers of the tail are a bit larger than the ones on the wing. I can clearly see my pencil outlines, and I'm just gonna fill those in with a very saturated and to go again. There is still an opportunity to have some variation in how saturated my color is so on the right side of each feather on the right side of the tail. I can go a bit darker, and this will help us again create a more realistic effect because the light ISS on left, so it's not reaching the areas on the right. The same way as it does the areas on the left. I also want to create a very thin outline for each feather, and it's gonna be more pronounced on the right where the shadow is and just like that very carefully spot after spot and then a quick outline. I'm also going to outline the feathers all the way at the bottom, so the tips are white. I don't want to add any color there right now, but I do want to have a nice contrast so those white spots don't get lost on white paper. If you're painting your blue jay on a colored background, if you want to add some color later to the background, you can skip thes outlines and just use your background color to create a sense of a shape . But I'm painting the bird on white paper, and I'm gonna keep it white. So that's why it's important to create a very thin line. Also, you probably noticed that I didn't use my darkest into go there, kept those outlines quite light. Um, just to keep it more realistic. Just want a little bit off a line there to create a shape to complete the shape off each further. Now I'm gonna move on to left side and do the same thing just slowly. One by one, I would line those dark spots, fill them in and complete the left side of the tail. Be careful with this stage not to paint over the white line in the middle of the feather. We used to have masking fluid there, and it was helpful. But now it's just paper, so if you paint over it, you can't erase it. So that's why I'm painting the right side of the father first and in the left side of the feather, making sure I'm keeping the white line blank. So it's looking good. I'm gonna complete the last two feathers on the right and outlined. The white tips create a little bit of a shadow on the white tips. Very likely again. This is to create a sense of the shape. There's actually no color there on on the Rio Bird. These are just shadows. And now let's, uh, accentuate the links of the bird. Our first and second color layers are completely dry, and you can see when watercolor dries out. It's much lighter than when it's wet, so we have an opportunity to add. We'll want more definition. I'm doing it mostly on the right hand side, which is the shadow side, and you can see the language a lot more defined. Now. I'm gonna very quickly come back to the wing. It's completely drying out, and I'm just gonna add a couple of lines there. I see an opportunity to had more shadow and more definition on the right hand side. I think it's necessary. And now the feathers on the leg again, just a few more strokes there. And though the right leg saturated into go mostly just on the right hand side and under the feathers, and I'm gonna move up the feathers using into ghost, too, being careful not to paint anything in the middle off the chest, but just around and a few more very small details on the top wing feathers. And there we go, lots of details. Now. It's looking very close to where we want to get to. In the next quick lesson. We're going to paint the head of the bird 10. Step 4(b): Accent Layer (Head): Okay, so it's time to create some accents on the head of the bird, and we can really spend a lot of time here. There's a lot of opportunity to accentuate our darkest spots and further outline or highlights. So that's why I'm doing this part separately just so you can see all the details and I'm going to start with the I gonna outline the I with my indigo and then just add a little bit of a shadow on top and around the highlight. Now I'm going with a very saturated, into go tiny, tiny strokes. This is a very dark area, and what I'm doing here is very small, careful strokes with a bit of a jagged edge. I'm just getting into the white feathers with the tip of my brush. I'm gonna come back really quickly to the eye and add more saturated color there. I think I went too light. Okay, so you can kind of see that the four sections the head where the white feathers are the four big blocks. Each ends with a very dark tip, and so that's sort of the shape that I'm following. And there's a bit of ah dark feather going into the eye. So I'm gonna outline that a few dark feathers between the I and the beak. And I can actually continue straight from those feathers to the bottom half of the beak, leaving a small highlight and no back to those feathers between the I and the beak. Very saturated into go. Very tiny strokes. Not really much room for mistakes here. So that's why I'm going very slowly and making sure that I have full control gonna outline the I at a couple of tiny strokes again. This is just to create a realistic feather effect. We don't want a lot of lending here. Let's move up to the top of the head and the tips of the feathers. I really want to define those. So I'm going to start. But I'm going to keep my white highlights. The ones that used to be covered by masking fluid gonna keep them white. Okay. And now a little bit off color on the beak, the top side of the beak. We want to keep it a bit lighter than the bottom side. So I'm gonna go in with my blue first, leaving the highlights. White go back to the top feathers at a bit more definition, maybe a little bit of blue around the I just so that it's not so harsh with our indigo against white paper. So the blue will help us Soft one, those edges. And, uh, now I'm gonna accentuate the back using a mixture over base blue and our highlight blue just using very precise short strokes on the areas that are already quite dark. I'm adding more definition, creating more of a shadow effect, but no blending. I'm just using the direction of the feathers and creating some beautiful textures. You can see my strokes. I'm not gonna blend them into the background. They just sort of mimic the texture of the feathers. And I like it that way. Go back at a little bit more under the beak. And now let's do the top of the beak. I had it a few kind of fly away feathers there with my indigo and a bit of a shadow on the top part of the beak. Now it's looking almost ready. And one thing I wanna note here, ISS no matter what you do with the bird, you want to keep the head of the bird, especially the eye on the beak area. More defined, so a lot more smaller strokes. And the reason for that is the more detail you add, the more drawn your I will be to that area. So we want to keep the eye and focus lots more contrast there, lots more saturated colors and small strokes. I added. A couple of more fly away for others on the chest and a couple of highlights on the right side of the tail with my boost color my Thilo blue or Windsor boot. So we're almost done. You can see it's looking very well defined, very vibrant. The only thing that's left to do is finishing touches. 11. BONUS Lesson: Scarlet Rowan Berries: welcome to the final lesson. And, uh, in this lesson, I will show you what I painted around our blue jay. Now for your project. As I mentioned in the beginning, I encourage you to choose a plant or a flower off your own choice. You can either take a reference photo, uh, in your garden or anywhere outside. But if you want to see how I painted these Berries, you can follow along and I'll show you step by step with colors I picked for the Berries and the leaves of the scarlet Japanese Rohan tree. I like the contrast between the blue feathers of the blue Jay and the red of the tree, so I thought it was a really good choice. So let's take it to the table and start with the leaves for the first background layer off the leaves, I created a smooth transition from green to read and then two purple all the way on the tips. My color choices are Hooker's Green wins a red. You can use any of your favorite warmer reds here, and, uh, the same proposed axes and purple from core, the same one we used on our blue Jay and using the same pigments here and there helps me tie the whole composition together. Visually, I will occasionally drop a bit of sap green as well. On the Leafs, you don't have to use to green pigments here. I just like to have ah lot of variation in my color transitions, So feel free to use one of your warm greens. But I ended up using two from Daniel Smith here. When I paint the leaves, I paint one side first and then the other, leaving a thin line in the middle. There's no masking fluid here. I'm just using the tip of my brush. This will help me different shade between the two sides of the leaf because each side will be eliminated by the light in a slightly different way. So the darker the leaf, the more saturated pigment I will use and more red I will use, as you will see later on. So I will continue just like that, starting with my green transitioning to read and then purple all the way around this bridge on the back of my leafs, I will use more red and much more saturated red. But on the leaves facing me, I will use lighter pigments and much more green and purple as I paint. I don't follow the leaves in order. I paint them switching from left side to the right. And the reason I'm doing this is because I don't want my colors to bleed too much. So I give each leave a couple of seconds to dry. I'm gonna use a light purple wash for the stem and then I'm gonna leave this layer to dry. I hate my Berries and come back in about half an hour to pay the second layer. So for the second layer, I just want to accentuate the shadows. This is a very similar process to what we followed on our bird. And I'm just gonna use a violet color you can use Ah, deeper read, more saturated red or violet or brown. It will give you a bit of ah different feel, depending on what pigment you go with. And I'm just going to carefully. I had a bit of color on the sides of the Leafs that are more in the shade, especially the back off the leaves. And you can see I'm adding more and more pigment towards the edge. Just building more color, um, and then lifting with the brush. If there's too much pigment, this layer is a bit more saturated than the one underneath, but it's still quite light, so the background wash with green and red and purple is shining through. When I'm done again, I'm going to leave the Leafs for about half a Knauer and let them dry. When I come back, I'm going to add some accents. And I'm using my quinacrine on koro just to warm it up a little bit and visually tied together with my Berries, where he used a lot of coral. And so what I'm doing is on the lighter side of the leaf, I paint the veins with the tip of my brush and on a darker side of the leave, I paint the background with my coat with my quarrel color, leaving the veins blank. So I'm sort of creating a negative painting effect there, and that's about it. We don't need a lot of details on the Leafs because I want the bird to be the center of our composition, so I want to be careful not to over Painted feels like this step is done, and now I'm going to show you how we painted the Berries. So first I created a light background wash, and I went with parole orange from Daniel Smith. It's kind of Ah, but in between Ah, warm pink and orange, you can create your own next year if you don't have parole orange or use your favorite warm red. The only thing to keep in mind here is that I didn't use masking fluid. I wanted to work fast, so I just painted around my highlights. You can see a couple of small white dots. This is important to help us create a sense of shape on each berry. And if you're not comfortable painting around the white, you can use masking fluid and just leave a couple of dots but them dry and then paint this layer. And now that the pigment is sinking in, the water is drying out, but it's still a bit damp. I'm gonna add a few drops off Bordeaux in the areas where I know there's shadow. So mostly at the bottom and on the right. I'm gonna let this layer dry out completely and then add a branch with my Dax design purple . I'm gonna keep it very light, but a few shades darker than the Berries underneath. Um, at some peril in violet, you could just use brown if you want. But I like the colorful mixture that this violet and purple are creating together. And adding purple helps me tie this back visually with our leafs. So that's why I picked those colors. When the branches dry, I'm going to add some snow. Usually my preferred pigment for snow is indigo. You can use the light blue, and as you can see, I'm also adding a little bit of purple. The exit sign purple. And this is to capture the reflection from warm pink Berries on our white snow. When the snow is dry, I'm going to come back to the Berries and create a second layer. And what I'm doing here is using a mixture off my cooler reds So corn, ah, Crotone red and a little bit of magenta. And what I'm gonna do is paint this the second layer inside each berry around the highlight , and I'm gonna leave some space on the edge of the very to indicate the shape so each berry is a sphere, and I want to make sure that I capture that shape properly as the colors air drying out. I'm gonna continue adding more and more pigment wet on wet, especially on the Berries that are closer to us. I want to use more warmer red in the center of each berry and the ones that are further away. I'm going to use cooler red just building that shape slowly and again. I don't want to over paint it too much. The more detail we add, the more the closer the Berries will appear. So I want to avoid drawing too much attention to the Berries. I'm gonna leave it for now, and as a final step, I'm going to add a little bit of that peril in violet, mostly on the Berries that have further away. So I'm trying to set them back visually as the final step. I'm going to use a little bit off my warm red on the branch that I already painted with purple, and I will also add a few thin branches on this Barry cluster. So overall I'm quite happy with this look. It's a nice contrast to my Blue Jay, I hope you enjoyed this demonstration again. Feel free to use any plant. Any bury any flower as a background element for your blue Jay. I look forward to seeing your projects up next. A very brief video and my final thoughts. Thank you. 12. Final Thoughts: Congratulations on finishing the class. Thank you so much for watching. If you have any questions whatsoever, you can leave them in the discussion section off this class on the Scotia website. I very much look forward to seeing your projects both on Skill Share website and on social media That's connect on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. I love sharing my student work in my instagram stories. You guys really inspiring me on Blow me away with your talent? I also look forward to your feedback. I'm always very interested in class reviews and things that I could do to improve my teaching style. And if you have any ideas for future subjects, do leave them in the review. Have a lovely day and all Seaga's in the next class.