Watercolor Birds: Learn How To Paint Songbirds in Watercolor | Louise Stigell | Skillshare

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Watercolor Birds: Learn How To Paint Songbirds in Watercolor

teacher avatar Louise Stigell, Artist, writer & creative coach

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What You'll Need


    • 3.

      Sketching the Robin (front view)


    • 4.

      Sketching the Cardinal (back view)


    • 5.

      Sketching the Great Tit (in flight)


    • 6.

      Painting the Robin, part 1


    • 7.

      Painting the Robin, part 2


    • 8.

      Painting the Cardinal, part 1


    • 9.

      Painting the Cardinal, part 2


    • 10.

      Painting the Great Tit, part 1


    • 11.

      Painting the Great Tit, part 2


    • 12.

      Class Project


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About This Class

Welcome to Watercolor Birds - a series of classes on how to paint birds in watercolor!

In this first part, we're focusing on the smaller, garden variety songbirds.
I'll teach you my process and technique for capturing these birds from different angles: front and back, seated and flying. We'll look at some basic bird anatomy and how to draw an accurate sketch of our chosen bird, including the trickier parts like feet, beaks and wings. You'll learn how to identify and select the right colors, how to paint light and shadow, and how to capture your bird on the paper in a striking and realistic way.

These classes are most suitable for intermediate watercolorists with a basic understanding of watercolor technique, but beginners who like a challenge are also welcome.
My aim is for you to become familiar with drawing and painting birds from different angles, as well as more confident with your watercolors. We'll have a great time painting three beautiful birds in this class: a European Robin, a Cardinal, and a Great Tit. Your class project will be to select one of these three photo references and do a bird painting of your own!

Meet Your Teacher

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Louise Stigell

Artist, writer & creative coach


Hi! My name is Louise. I'm a Sweden-based artist, writer, and creative solopreneur.

I'm a former freelance writer & web designer who re-discovered and committed to art after a period of burnout. Now, I write and paint full-time, and teach what I've learned on my YouTube channel, my podcast, and in my writings, and here on Skillshare.

I write a newsletter called The Calm Creative, all about making a living on your art, without burning out or going insane. Check it out here.

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1. Introduction: Hi there. I'm Luis. I'm a watercolor artist and an art teacher from Sweden. Welcome to my watercolor birds series. My classes on how to paint birds in watercolor. Birds are my biggest passion and my very favorite subject to paint. They are beautiful, they're colorful. They have a lot of personality. And there are so many birds to choose from, you will never get bored. And they can actually be pretty easy to paint once you get the hang of it, which is what we're gonna do in these classes. We're going to study the anatomy, birds, so that we can draw more accurate sketches for our paintings. And then we're going to practice capturing the beauty of birds in watercolor. In this first part of the series, we're focusing on songbirds, these smaller garden variety birds, if you will. More specifically, we're going to paint a European robin, a Cardinal. And the great tip, I will show you my process and technique for capturing birds from different angles, from the front and from the back and seated and flying. We'll look at some basic bird anatomy, what to look for when we're sketching, and how to get the proportions and the angles, right? And also how to draw the trickier parts of birds, like the wings and the feet. Then you will learn how to identify and select the right colors for your painting. How to build up your painting in layers. How to paint shadows and highlights. How to achieve vibrant but natural looking colors, and how to get your bird to pop out of the page. These classes are most suitable for intermediate watercolor is because it helps to have a basic understanding of color theory and sketching and watercolor technique. But if you're a beginner and you're like a bit more of a challenge, You are welcome as well. My aim is for you to become more familiar and comfortable with drawing and painting birds from different angles, as well as more confident with your watercolors. So if you're ready to paint some birds, Let's get started. 2. What You'll Need: So what do you need for this class? I'm guessing you already have some version of these things already, but let's just do a quick run through starting with water. Of course, I like to use two water jars, one for rinsing cool colors like green and blue, and one for rinsing warm colors like yellow and red. But you could also use the one for the first rinse and the other for cleaner runs. As for brushes, I primarily use round brushes in my work. Here I have sizes 61216, although I will mainly use the two smaller ones in this class. And you'll also occasionally see me using a flat brush, I think gets size ten or 14. Then of course, we need some paints. I use Winsor and Newton professional watercolors. This is a set of £12.5 that I've added a few colors of my own to. But you can use any basic set of watercolors for this class, as long as you have the primary colors like red, green, yellow, and blue, some black and preferably also some earth tones like burnt sienna and sepia, then you're good to go. And I'll talk more about how to match and mix colors later in this class. I use a damp washcloth to dab away excess water and paint without drying up my brushes too much. You can also use paper towels for this. And I recommend that you have some of those at hand anyways, because they're very useful for trying out colors and erasing the mistakes. As for watercolor paper, I'll be using this for the class, Canson XL, cold pressed, fine-grain watercolor paper and A4 size. This paper is affordable and decent quality. You want a thickness of at least 300 GSM or a £140 or the paper is going to buckle and tear weight too much. It's always best to use a 100% cotton paper for watercolor painting is just a lot more workable and it makes the painting experience much more forgivable. But cotton paper is expensive and we don't want to be too fearful of messing up just because we're using expensive paper. So the decision is yours. If you're comfortable with good-quality cotton paper, then use that otherwise, cheaper paper is just fine. We're here to practice. Some tape can be handy for holding the paper in place. The more water and paint you use, the more useful it can be to pre-stretch and to tape the paper down to prevent buckling and warping as you paint? I normally don't use it since I don't cover that much of the paper surface and I don't use a lot of water. I'm going to use it for this class however, but that's just so the paper will always stay in frame as I work. You will also need a pencil and eraser for your sketching. I use an HB pencil or lighter or most of the time. And I really recommend one of these kneaded erasers, really versatile and they don't leave residue on the paper. And that is all, that is our workspace. You will see me use a few more items in this class, like sea salt for creating texture and a white gel pen for creating highlights. But these are not necessary and they're totally optional. In the next lesson, we will dive into some basic bird anatomy while I show you the sketching process of these three birds. 3. Sketching the Robin (front view): Alright, so let's get started on our sketches. And as I draw, I will explain what I look for in the reference photos and just some basic bird anatomy that will make birds easier to draw and paint. And we're starting with a front view or a three-quarter view from the front with this Robyn, of course not all anatomy is going to be visible in every photo. So when this bird will just focus on the parts that we do see before we get into any detail though, our first task is just to place the bird roughly on the page, right. We need to make sure that it's the right size for the space and that it's nicely centered. That's what we want. And that the whole bird is actually going to fit onto the page. So what I like to do is just do, I measure the length of the entire body, whichever part is the longest or widest. And this also helps me find the angle that the bird is tilted at. There's usually a line that runs from the top of the head all the way down to the tail. I look for the relative lengths of the tail as opposed to the rest of the body. And then I place a loose oval shape for the body. And then a smaller circle for the head just to have something to build off of. Then I start carving out the angles. And at this point of the sketch, this isn't really a bird, it's just a set of shapes and angles. It's like a geometrical model of a bird. Maybe the more you can forget what it is that you're looking at, the easier it's going to be to draw it, honestly, because we have a lot of preconceived notions in our head about what something is supposed to look like and that includes birds as well. For example, we might believe that a bird's head is round, but in this case, with this robin, we can see that it's actually kind of square-shaped. And the same goes for the eyes. They are usually not perfect circles, especially not from this angle. And the perspective makes it so that the left eye is barely visible. It's just a little sliver, and the right eye is very oval shaped. The beak seen from this view is just the tiny little dots almost we can see its length or shape. So what's most important now is to just get the placement of these features, right, and we can always refine them later. Now you'll see me drawing in some more anatomy and formed shapes, the feathers of the upper back, this is called the mantle. All of these body parts and groups of feathers are going to affect how the light hits the bird and it's going to create subtle changes in color. So here I'm trying to compartmentalize the different areas of this wing into simpler shapes. I'm especially making sure to mark out the areas that I want to leave white, like these little wing tips here. It's easy to get carried away and forget about that as you're painting. And even if you can lift some color out after the fact, you can never get the white of the paper back. I would always rather paint into little than too much at this point because it's easier to add color then take it away. Adding some help lines for myself just to let future me know where the wing feathers are. Because I'm going to want to paint them differently than the other parts of the back here. Then I'm refining the shape of the body. Two straight lines for the legs, making sure their angles are right. And looking at the shape of the space between the legs, this negative space, as it's called, really helped me a lot here. Making some corrections to the face, making sure the eyes are level with each other. Just a few lines for the tail. Marking out another area of different color, which are these darker gray feathers here. I want to know exactly where to paint them later. Now, the feet to bird feet can be tricky in the beginning because we usually haven't studied them before. And so we have a lot of preconceived notions of what they should look like. But once we have looked at their anatomy and practiced how to simplify it, That's going to be much easier. Songbird feed most often have three toes in the front and one at the back of the foot. And the middle toe is slightly longer than the adjacent tos. Bird feet don't curve around twigs or branches, just like our hands. They have joints where they bend and other places where they don't bend at all. These front toes have knuckles, but this back TO it doesn't bend at all. It's straight. And the only part that curves is the claw or the nail. And as we can see, the nails grow from the tops of the toes and the curve and downwards like this. I like to do just the bare minimum when it comes to painting bird feet, since they're not usually the main focal point of the painting, they just need to look accurate and proportional. So now when I'm drawing the feet, I'm simplifying their shape as much as I can. We have this straight line for the leg and then we have the main joint of the foot and few lines for the toes. And for context, I'm blocking in this surface that the bird is standing on. Adding in a shadow shape for the right side of the head that's in shadow, our eyes are naturally drawn to areas of high contrast in an image. And in this Robyn, I want to draw the eyes to the face where one side is in the light and the other is in shadow. And now I'm making some final adjustments to the face. I'm moving the beak even higher up, which is characteristic of these smaller birds. Their faces are a bit squished together and the eyes are sitting on the same line as the beak. A trick for drawing beaks from the front like this is to imagine them as little houses. There's a triangle shaped roof and then a square shape underneath. It's not always going to look the same in all birds, of course, but it's a useful simplification to build from. So that is our Robin sketch. Now let's move on to sketching birds from the back. 4. Sketching the Cardinal (back view): This bird is very round in this picture, so I'm starting with a round shape, just the center, the bird on the beach. And then I start carving out the overall shape of the wings. It's very easy to get carried away here and confused by all the details that we handle that by squinting at the image and just simplifying what we see into larger shapes. So at this stage, all I'm seeing our geometric shapes and I tried to get them as accurate as I can. Marking out the feather groups, Here's the mantle. Here are what's called the scapular feathers. The secondary feathers. These are the ones that are closest to the body when the wings are stretched out. And these longer ones are the primary feathers, those that make up the tips of the wings. And in here we have some covert feathers. They're smaller and they sit on top of the wings and they often have various markings on them. And then we have what's called the rump and the upper tail coverts that overlap the tail feathers. And then the tail which is tucked in in this photo. So it's like a fan and let's fold it in. You can usually see one or two of the tail feathers on the top with the rest of them stacked underneath. Here we have the auricular or the cheek feathers, as I like to call them. They are tilted slightly upwards so they usually catch more light and often have a lighter color, which is why I find it useful to mark them out. Just indicating some toes on this one. No need to complicate things. Then we have the nape of the neck and the crown. And on this bird we have some longer feathers on the crown. All birds can raise the feathers on their crown to look bigger and fluffier. But on the cardinal we have this beautiful crest. Finding the direction and angles of the beak. Cardinals have a pretty thick and blunt beak. There's this downwards curve of the upper mandible leading into the corners of the mouth. Where does the I sit in relation to the beak and the corner of the mouth? On some birds, it's more close than others. And this is an important detail to get right, as well as the size of the eye. If the eye size and the placement is even slightly off, the whole bird is going to look a bit weird. But if we get it right, it's going to make the bird more accurate and recognizable. And then refining the wings a bit since they're the focal point and this bird. So I'm paying extra attention to how they look and how they stack on top of each other. Having a few of these lines here is going to help me later as I'll explain when I'm painting the wings. But for now the sketch has all the information that I need in order to start painting. 5. Sketching the Great Tit (in flight): Let's move on to the final bird, and that is this flying and great. Drawing birds in flight. It gives us a few extra challenges. The first one is placing the bird on the page or the Canvas. And in order to do this and not have wing tips or tail feathers being cut-off, we need to really simplify the overall shape of this bird. So I'm starting with a general line of direction, like the central line of the bird from the tip of the beak to the tip of the tail. Then I tried to find the line of the wing and the overall shape of the wings. This can take some adjusting since we often want to draw everything bigger at first. Or we place it in a way that doesn't center the burden nicely on the page. Usually this takes a few tries for me before I get it right. But once we do, the rest will be quite simple. As soon as I have this basic structure in place, I can start to add some more geometry like the angle of the feet and the shape of the tail. The different parts of the wing, which are going to be easier to identify here. Scapular feathers, covert feathers with a lighter markings blocked out so that I won't forget about them. And then the secondary feathers. Here, I'm taking a break to draw in the head because I don't want to have to rest my palm on the primary feathers and smudging them up. While I draw the head, I'm going to remove that little seed or whatever that is in the bird's mouth. And I'm just going to leave the beak open. And then we have the characteristic facial markings of the grated, making sure that I get the eye size and placement right. Then I go on to draw in the primary feathers and the rest of the secondary feathers. Here I'm actually counting the feathers, making sure that I get the right amount. And that's because it's going to look more off here. If I have too few or too many wing feathers, I can get away with drawing a few lines more or less in a wing that's folded up because it's not gonna be as noticeable as it is here. Make sure to trace each line of feather all the way up to the base of the wing together angles write these long primary and secondary feathers. They don't always line up perfectly with the covert feathers because they sit on top, they overlap and sit on top of the primary and secondary feathers. But I often like to simplify my paintings by pretending that they do. I'm not aiming for photo realism in my work, and I often draw and paint birds slightly more symmetrical or simplified than they are just for the sake of aesthetics, as long as they still look realistic. Now I'm adding some shadow shapes and blocking in some highlights on the tail. I want to show the shape of the tail by indicating this dark space underneath and the way the light hits the top and the side of the tail, marking out those yellow feathers at the back that are actually some of the breast feathers that are sticking out and you can even see them through the secondary feathers here. A bit more refinement on the wing. And then moving on to the feet. You can see that my initial placement of the feet are way off and so I'm moving them, moving them up and then drawing in the simplest version of this feat that I can get away with. Then finally adding in the feathers of the other wing. You can see in this photo that the back wing is bluer and it has less contrast and this front wing that's in focus. And that's because the back wing is in shadow and further away from us. And we can see the blue sky through the wing feathers. This is something that I'll emphasize in my painting later on and to give that sense of three-dimensionality. Okay, so that's it for the anatomy lessons. We have our three sketches. We are ready to start painting. Let's meet up in the next lesson and start working on our Robin. 6. Painting the Robin, part 1: It's time to bring out our watercolors. There are two popular methods for painting birds or painting anything really in watercolor that I have come across. And that's working well for me. And I will demonstrate both to you in this class. The first one is called the shadows first approach. And that means that we use are first layers of color to paint in the shadows with a shadow color. And then we add what's called the local color on top of that later. The local color is the actual color. That's something has like the orange feathers on this robin. But as we can see on this photo, the side of the bird that's in the light has different color than the side that's in shadow. And I like to emphasize the contrast between light and shadow and my paintings. With this Robin, I'm going to start with the shadows. First. There are several schools of thought on how to paint shadows and watercolor. And the approach we choose a comes down to personal taste and how realistic versus artistic we want to get. My preferred method varies and to be honest, I'm still experimenting, but a common technique is to use complimentary colors for the shadows. As you might know, complimentary colors are colors that sit opposite from one another on the color wheel. So red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple complimentary colors tend to look good next to each other. And when they are mixed, they kind of mute each other and become a kind of grayish brown color. So for this class, let's just keep it simple and work with two of the most commonly selected shadow colors, which are blue and purple. I'm choosing a light purple for this bird and I'm mixing it with a lot of water to begin with. And then I'm painting in all of the areas of shadow that I can see in this photo. Watercolor lightens as it dries. And so I'm going back in and adding more where I see fit. It can be difficult to see where the shadows are and a photograph. And if you struggled with this, you can try to convert your reference photo to gray scale and maybe enhance the contrast of it as well. That's going to make it easier to see getting the shadows right as such a big part of the job and it makes the rest of the painting almost disappointingly easy. Sometimes. Now that I'm starting to feel satisfied with my shadow shapes, I am starting to mix my colors. And I'm always starting with the brightest version of a color that I can see in the photo, the very brightest spots, the highlights, I'm going to just leave white, but for the rest, I'm starting light and then gradually building up the colors in layers. I'm painting in one area and while I'm waiting for that to dry, I'm working on another part of the bird. I tried to use as pure colors as I can and not mix them too much. So here I'm using burnt umber. Be careful around the edges of a wet area if you don't want the colors to spill into each other. If you think the color is too dark or too saturated when you put it down, you can always go back in with a clean, damp brush and Soga most of the paint, which is what I do here to make sure that I maintain the highlight on the back of the bird. Remember where your light is coming from and stay consistent with that. 7. Painting the Robin, part 2: Now I have the brightest version of my local colors down, and it's time to go in and deepen the colors. I'm choosing a burnt sienna for the shadowy parts of the face and breast. And CPR for my dark browns. I am careful when I paint the wings to leave a few streaks of light shining through to indicate the texture of the wing. I don't paint in every single line or shape of it. I just want a few well-placed highlights and shadows. Our eyes will fill in the rest. Then some indigo for the gray feathers on the breast. I prefer indigo over gray or black because I think it looks more vibrant and the bluish tint goes well against the warmer colors like this, orange. Remember those complimentary colors? Then as soon as my wings have dried, I'm going in again using the same dark brown color, but less diluted and mixed with a little black this time to deepen the shadows. I'm focusing the darkest shadows to the right and keeping it lighter to the left where the light is coming from. Some even stronger and burnt sienna for third layer on the face and breast. A touch of even darker indigo underneath. And now it's time for the face. Using a slightly diluted black here to paint in the eyes and the underside of the beak. Leaving a tiny highlight on the eye is in the light. Yet another R1 or the burnt sienna, really pushing those contrasts. This is how you get vibrant colors in watercolor is just layer after layer after layer of color. Darkening the brighter feathers of the body since they're in shadow. Then I'm actually adding a highlight on the other eye as well. Because I don't want it to disappear completely into the shadow. I'm using a white gel pen here. Now I'm erasing all of the visible pencil lines. It's very important to let everything dry completely before you do this, I've ruined so many paintings because I'm impatient and I end up accidentally smearing the paint. Then finally I paint in this surface for the Robin to stand on. And I'm doing so very roughly with as less detail as possible because I don't want this to pull the attention away from the bird. I'm experimenting with throwing some salt on here as the paint is drying. And what that does is it soaks up the water and creates this nice texture. It's a great way to make something look less smooth and a little bit more organic and interesting. And as it's drying, I'm adding some final details on the feet. Then my robin is done. 8. Painting the Cardinal, part 1: Alright, so let's practice painting a bird from another angle this time. The first thing I do here is to dab away as much of the pencil lines as I can while still being able to see it. This is where the kneaded eraser so useful. I especially make sure to erase the areas that I know are going to be brighter like the upper back here. Because if I put a lighter, more transparent layer of watercolor there than the pencil lines will be visible through that. And I won't be able to erase them afterwards. There's nothing wrong. Of course, with pencil lines being visible in a watercolor painting, it can look cool, but this is just my personal preference. This bird, I'm going to show another approach to build up the painting and that's working with local color only and building from light to dark. This is the method that I most often use simply because it's very straightforward and sometimes that's all I need. There's not a crazy amount of shadows and highlights going on here. If there were, then a Shadows first approach might work better, but this cardinal is pretty evenly lit and I'm just going to paint what I see and adjust along the way. I start by identifying the local colors that I see in this bird. The different shades of red on the head and the body and the tail of a gray tones on the upper back, on the mantle, and the black details on the face. I'm noting where the brightest highlights are. The upper part of the beak, the upper part of the eyeball, the edges of the wings, and where the darkest areas of shadows are. The face, the underside of the wing tips, tail, especially the part that's underneath the wings. Then I'm selecting my colors and I'm starting with this bright red, which is Winsor red, in this case, a warm red, usually a watercolor palette will have two different reds. There's a warm red, which is this brighter, almost orangey red. And then there is a cooler red, which is usually something like alizarin crimson, something more towards the pink side. So I'm selecting my warm red here and I'm painting in all of the areas that are this color. Then I'm mixing my red with some black in this case and diluting it to get that more washed out color of the upper back and wings. Just like with the robin, I'm working from light to dark and I'm making sure not to paint in everything, but to leave out little specks of white just to indicate feather texture and give the painting that loose look that I like. Being careful to leave those bright highlights on the edges of the wings as well. And then adding some darker tones and blending them in. I do this by dabbing away the excess paint from my brush on this damp kitchen towel and then doing my blending. If your brush is too wet when you do this, then it would create that infamous cauliflower effect, where the water pulls out and creates a stain that pushes away the paint. If the brush would be too dry, then not much would happen. And if you rinse the brush before blending, then it might just remove the paint more than blended. So you want some of the colors still in the brush, but most of the water taken out. Okay, so now that my wings have dried, I'm going in with the dark red and I'm hitting the darkest areas first when my brush holds the most paint. And when the brush is crying out, I'm taking that opportunity to blend the color upwards where it's lighter. Here's a technique for erasing color out that's already dried or is semi dry. In this case, just take a clean and slightly damp brush and use it to draw the highlights back in. I'm using a flat brush for this because it helps me keep the lines really crisp and straight in-between. I wipe the brush on some paper towel. The more damp your painting is than the dryer your brush needs to be to soak up that color and not leave any stains. And if your painting is completely dry, then you might need to have more water in your brush. It's time for another round of paint to deepen those colors and create some shadows like before. I'm starting with the bright red and then mixing in more black as I get to the darker areas of the wings and tail. Adding in the feed real quick, just keeping it really simple since you can't really see much of them. Anyways. 9. Painting the Cardinal, part 2: Now I'm creating some subtle highlights here by taking out some of the color with a damp brush, the same way that I did on the tail. You can absolutely go from dark to light and watercolor in this way. And there are plenty of ways to correct mistakes and to change your mind. You will learn with practice when those techniques work and when they don't, because they do create different looks, a highlight created like this looks different from a highlight created with the whites of the paper by leaving, leaving paint out. And usually I'm using a combination of both in my paintings. Time for the face. I'm painting this in knowing that I will go back later when the paint has dried and pull some of the blackout in some places. But I am leaving this little paper whites highlight on the eyeball. While I'm waiting for the phase to dry, I'm adding some more contrast to the wings. If you squint at this photo, you will see the big difference in color between the upper part of the bird and the lower part of the bird. So I'm realizing that I need to darken this part some more to get the contrast that I want. And I want a lot of detail on the swings since they are the focal point to this photo, our eyes are naturally drawn there. Some even deeper red on the face. Now I'm also pulling out some of the black to add more definition to the eye. Birds have this ring around their eyes that's usually lighter or darker than the actual eyeball. So pulling some of the color out here, it helps us better see the size and shape of the eye. I'm also lightening the middle of the eyeball to make it look more 3D. If we study this photo up close, we see that the darkest parts of the IR, the lower half of the eyeball and the outer rim of it. And that's often the case since these parts of the eyeball or more deep set and this is the part that's sticking out and therefore catching more light. Okay, time for a final run-through of color to really push the vibrancy and the contrast as far as I can. Let's not let this bird hover awkwardly in mid-air. Let's add a branch for it to sit on. I'm basing this loosely on the photograph and keeping it as simple as possible. And with that, our cardinal is done. Let's move on to the next lesson where we will paint our flying greeted. 10. Painting the Great Tit, part 1: This burden does have quite a bit of shadows and highlights going on. The light is hitting it from this angle, which casts these parts in shadow. And I really want to capture these contrasts in my paintings. So I'm going to start with the shadows for this one. Since I can see in the photo that the shadows are blue. They are actually the blue sky being reflected through and onto this bird. I'm choosing ultramarine blue as my shadow color. Starting with a very diluted wash. And painting in all of the shadow shapes that I can see. Again, squinting at the photo helps me to simplify the image and better see where the darkest and the bluest areas are. And now I'm darkening the areas of most shadow, the underside of the tail and the shoulder. And also adding some details. That's it for the shadows, I'm ready to move on to the local colors, starting with this yellow of the body that's peeking out from under the wing. And then the green of the back, starting with the lightest and most vibrant green that I can see in this photo. Some gray for the shadows on the tail, some grayish brown for the feet. For the face, since it's in shadow, I'm going very dark right away on the beak and the eye. And these markings, leaving just a few highlights on an around the eye to distinguish it more. Then I'm moving on to deepen my colors and shadows. I'm dulling down my green a bit with the help of some red here. This is a great way to D saturate a color to make it less vibrant, you just add a little bit of its complimentary color. 11. Painting the Great Tit, part 2: For the wings, I'm going with a neutral beige. In the photo. There's a lot of color shifts and you can even see the yellow or the breast feathers through the wings. But if I were to add all of this information to my painting, it would likely just look cluttered. So I'm simplifying the colors here and I'm choosing a uniform color for my wings. I'm going in and I'm adding these edges with a darker brown. Keeping a darker here towards the back with a secondary feathers. And I'm blending my lines with a damp brush. And then towards the front with the primary feathers, I want a thinner and more crisp lines. So I'm going for my flat brush here. You'll notice that these wing edges are darker and slightly thicker closer to the body and they sort of taper down towards the tips. So I'm not painting these lines all the way. I'm just blending them outwards and downwards. And I'm further darkening these wing tips and the front because I like their shape and I want to draw the eye there. And then a final layer where I deepen my shadows and I intensify some colors. Here is my version of this great it, even though this was the most complicated one to draw, it was actually the quickest and easiest to paint. But now I'm hoping that you are inspired to paint some birds yourself. So let's meet up in the next lesson and talk about your class project. 12. Class Project: Okay, it's time for your class project. Your task is to make a watercolor painting of one of these three birds that you've seen me paint, whichever one you prefer, and for extra credit, you can paint all three of them. You can find the reference photos under the projects and resources tab. And there you can also download my sketches. You can print them out, you can trace them and you can just skip the whole sketching part if you want to focus only on the watercolor part of this class, I wish you lots of fun with this project. If you want to share your finished painting, feel free to do so. Just go to the Projects and Resources tab and click the Create a Project button. Thank you for spending time with me. I hope you enjoyed this class. I hope you are happy with your birds. You feel more confident with your watercolors. Check out my other classes for more sketching and watercolor tutorials. And if you want more inspiration for me, I also have a YouTube channel and a free newsletter, and you can find links to both of them on my teacher's page. Thank you once again, and I wish you lots of happy painting.