How to paint a bird with watercolors allows the artists to explore with color applications. Since watercolors are transparent, you must start with the lightest color going to the darkest to create depth and value.
How to paint a bird with watercolors? What are the materials that you will need to paint a bird with watercolors? What are the factors and skills that you will develop regarding this tutorial: how to paint a bird with watercolors?
- 1 How To Paint A Bird With Watercolors
- 2 Essential Materials On How To Paint A Bird With Watercolors Successfully
- 3 Easy Step By Step Painting Tutorial For Beginners On How To Paint A Bird With Watercolors
- 3.1 Step 1. Sketching a light image.
- 3.2 Step 2. Start applying paint to your outlined image.
- 3.3 Step 3. Work on a new layer of darker shades
- 3.4 Step 4. Make darker mixture
- 3.5 Step 5. Work with birds wing
- 3.6 Step 6. Add dark colored value and shadow
- 3.7 Step 7. Work on your bird’s legs
- 3.8 Step 8. Work tree branch with texture
- 3.9 Step 9. Details of your bird
- 4 What Surfaces Can You Paint Watercolor On?
- 5 Watercolor Canvas
- 6 Do You Need To Seal Watercolor Painting?
- 7 How Long Does Watercolor Painting Last?
- 8 Why Is Watercolor Paint So Expensive?
- 9 Final Words
How To Paint A Bird With Watercolors
There are a lot of benefits that you can get when you paint a bird with watercolors. These also allow the artist skills to develop and enhance the color mixing predictions. Since watercolors are transparent, working with light, form, and value is essential.
The depth of your watercolor painting will depend on your ability to work with the watercolor’s characteristics. This also improves your knowledge of color tones and shades.
It may be a simple exercise but how you paint a bird with watercolors is stunning. Check out the right materials and factors to consider for a successful watercolor painting.
The application of colors also depends on each artist for intensity and value to their artwork. This can also affect the texture of the painting with the right application.
This tutorial on how to paint a bird with watercolors might have to move out of your comfort zone. Try to explore and experiment with a few painting styles to achieve a unique scene for your painting subject.
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Essential Materials On How To Paint A Bird With Watercolors Successfully
Now that you have an insight on how to paint a bird with watercolors, we will need to prepare some materials. Here are the materials essential for a successful watercolor painting:
It is best to always use the right materials for every painting medium. That goes with watercolors. Choosing the right watercolor paper allows the artist to paint without worrying that the surface may warp with excess water application.
- Watercolor paper
- Kneaded eraser
- Masking tape/Painter’s tape
- Paper towel
- Jar of clean water
There are different watercolor paper types to choose from, including hot-press, cold-press, and rough surface watercolor paper. You can also try to paint with each class. That way, you will see which one is ideal for your unique style for paint applications.
They say that it is best to work with heavyweight watercolor paper as they are more absorbent. However, it is still with the artist’s style that they can make the most of each painting’s materials.
For your watercolor paintbrush, find something from small and medium-size brushes. The small ones are commonly used for fine details and final touch. But indeed you can work on them anytime for your painting. You can begin with synthetic paintbrushes if you are starting with watercolors.
A kneaded eraser is another material that you will use. The steps on how to paint a bird with watercolors will need you to sketch a few lines for reference. An eraser is also required for later use.
You will also need a pencil as you will need to sketch your subject image. This is essential, especially if you are beginning with watercolor techniques. It will help you start quickly. Make sure to do a light sketch of the image that you wanted to work on.
A masking tape or painter’s tape is optional. You can use this can to secure your watercolor paper while you are working. It will also prevent your watercolor paper from warping.
On the contrary, whether you are working with watercolor pans or tubes depends on your style and personal preference. You can try working on both watercolor types to see which one will be most convenient for you to use.
Before you begin applying paint, check your watercolors first if you are content with their colors. You can do this with a piece of paper to see how they look on the paper.
A paper towel is also used to remove any excess water or paint on your paintbrush.
A jar of clean water is a must to rinse your paintbrush. You can also use this to thin your watercolors if you need to modify their tones or shades.
Easy Step By Step Painting Tutorial For Beginners On How To Paint A Bird With Watercolors
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Once you have prepared all your materials then we begin. This tutorial can help you develop a lot of skills.
Step 1. Sketching a light image.
Start with sketching a light image of your bird’s contour. You can also add on your outline the tree branch where your bird is currently standing.
Once you have finished sketching the whole picture on your watercolor paper, you can use the kneaded eraser to lift the outline. It will leave the shapes that you will use for your painting.
Step 2. Start applying paint to your outlined image.
The color you will use on how to paint a bird with watercolors varies on the type of bird you will make. Apply a light layer of paint to your image.
For this process, you can work with your medium-size paintbrush. Start with the lightest color application with watercolor painting.
This is essential as it will be easier to fix watercolors and lift them off with light colors. Then you can work with darker colors later on.
Step 3. Work on a new layer of darker shades
Work with adding depth and value by working with a new layer of darker shades of paints.
You can see that your bird is starting to form with the new set of dark colors you added. You can also work on your bird’s head and chest.
Make sure that you are still working with the light colors. This will always be transparent when they dried.
Step 4. Make darker mixture
Apply a darker mixture of colors for your bird’s eyes and bill.
There may be a few colors left on your paintbrush to work with the head’s shadow.
Use a darker color to create a shadow under your bird’s eye and bill. This will create value for your artwork.
Step 5. Work with birds wing
Start working with your bird’s wing by using a different color.
Work with the strokes that duplicate the texture of the bird’s wings. This can also help you highlight the details to form value and texture.
Step 6. Add dark colored value and shadow
Add more dark-colored to create value and shadow. This will also give the illusion and emphasize your wing’s texture and form.
Step 7. Work on your bird’s legs
Work on your bird’s legs by adding darker values of tones and shades.
You can now start adding stronger colors to emphasize your highlights.
Step 8. Work tree branch with texture
Work with your tree branch with texture duplicating by the paint application.
Use light colors first and add darker color later on. Work while your surface is still wet and pull some colors off.
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Add water to your tree branch and lift them off with a paper towel. This will give you a unique texture.
Add additional darker shades of colors under the tree branch where your bird is standing.
Work with your background by using different shades of green or a mixture of colors from your tree branch.
To create an illusion of light that has been filtered on your painting. Work with the areas around your bird and background by adding water. Then lift it off using a paper towel.
You can see the stunning effects.
Step 9. Details of your bird
Work with details of your bird: the head, eyes, bill, and features for the final touch.
There you go, this easy tutorial on how to paint a bird with watercolors will help you enhance your skills.
Not just with color mixing but a new painting technique of lifting colors to create a unique texture.
What Surfaces Can You Paint Watercolor On?
Watercolor is the hardest painting medium to work on due to several factors. To achieve stunning results, you’ll need to use reliable support or a surface that allows you to retain your watercolor pigments’ quality. Most watercolorists used either paper or canvas when working with this delicate painting medium.
Before jumping over to buying tons of watercolor paper or canvas, there are essential factors that you’ll need to consider.
To ensure that the artwork will last for years and the colors won’t be fading, you have to work on stable support. To achieve optimum stability, you’ll need to work on an acid-free surface or have a neutral pH level.
Aside from the painting medium itself, watercolor papers can also be used with various painting mediums to support various techniques and styles. This maintains the paper and artwork intact on the surface for a long time.
The white paper offers brighter images or artwork, while colored paper has more juxtaposition or opaque techniques. When you choose the surface color, you’ll need to consider the effect type you want to achieve. You must also determine how bright the artwork would look.
A suitable amount of sizing or absorbency enables the color to stay on your painting surface instead of sinking them on the paper. It must also enable transparency to ensure that light passes through your surface. This makes the pigment more vivid on your painting surface.
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Besides watercolor paper, you can also use canvas when working with watercolors. For most newcomers, you’ll always hear them asking the same question if watercolors can be painted on a canvas. The short and definite answer: YES!
However, before you jumpstart your watercolor painting using a canvas, you’ll need to check how complicated it can be and the factors that will affect your painting quality.
First, let’s get to know what watercolor canvas is.
Watercolors traditionally work on watercolor paper. Since this type of paper is designed to be extra absorbent, as watercolor depends solely on support that needs to absorb moisture, you’ll want something that can do the job right.
Canvas are traditionally used for oil paints and acrylic painting as you can modify the nature of the canvas surface. For instance, if it’s non-absorbent, you can use several painting mediums to make it more absorbent.
Watercolor canvas is also the same canvas you use for acrylics and oil paints. However, it is modified and strategically prepared to allow watery paints in nature. This modified surface support can now absorb the paint in the same way as with the paper.
One thing that helps artists improve their painting skills is a venture into various options, and watercolor is not an exception. In fact, aside from working with watercolor paper, you can enjoy working with a textured canvas.
There are two ways on how you can make the most of canvas for watercolor painting:
Primed traditional canvas with ground watercolor
Traditionally, to modify the surface of your support and use on watercolor, you’ll need to prime it properly. This allows the surface to be more absorbent and ideal for water-based painting mediums.
These traditional canvases may require several watercolor ground or watercolor gesso coating to ensure your surface is ready for your next watercolor painting.
The watercolor ground is a unique liquid coating that allows you to modify any surface to make it more amenable to watercolor’s demanding characteristics. Besides canvases, you can also use them to modify wood, stone, metal, or any fancy surface to work with your watercolors.
When applying a watercolor ground on any surface, it’s best to use a cheaper paintbrush as this can potentially ruin the fine bristled moving forward.
A single layer or coating is necessary, but several artists prefer to layer a few times to help them get the texture they want. At the same time, the ground can dry in a few hours, its best to leave it overnight for 24 hours before working with the surface.
Ready-made watercolor canvas
Ready-made watercolor canvas is the new norm when it comes to watercolor painting. They are a unique and special type of support that has been coated with a special gesso to accept your watercolor paints.
They come in various forms:
- Canvas pads
- Canvas boards
- Pre-stretched canvas
These watercolor canvases have the same properties as traditional fabric canvas with similar teeth. Their texture is fine, which enables you to apply your watercolors on its surface easily.
Most artists who got comfortable with watercolor paper may get a little surprised when they work on a watercolor canvas. All you have to do is adjust your painting techniques to use a new type of watercolor paper. This will help you easily get accustomed to the materials and achieve your desired effects.
Using ready-made watercolor canvas comes with several benefits you may want to reconsider:
- Watercolor paints tend to rest longer on the surface, allowing you to work on your techniques properly.
- The watercolor canvases are ideal if you’ll be working with the wet-on-wet technique.
- Watercolor canvas is more forgiving compared to paper. You can lift your colors easily.
- It allows you to fix even the dried paint on the surface.
- They are also durable and make them a great candidate to work on since they aren’t easily torn apart.
- Watercolor canvas doesn’t buckle or warp compared to unstretched types of watercolor paper.
- Watercolor canvases are acid-free and 100% cotton giving you excellent archival qualities.
- They are easy to use and allow you to work on your painting faster than any other support can offer.
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Here’s a quick comparison between watercolor paper vs watercolor canvas.
- This is established support suitable for watercolor painting for centuries.
- Watercolor paper is more adaptable to various techniques and styles, making it a versatile watercolor surface.
- It absorbs paints and fixes colors on your support surface.
- It comes in texture variance with pronounced teeth.
- You can easily achieve hard-edge details.
- It allows the lifting of colors with hot-pressed paper than cold pressed papers.
- The artist-grade watercolor paper offers archival effects and is acid-free, ensuring your painting lasts longer, even for generations to come.
- To achieve optimum results, it’s best to prime or stretches your paper before painting on it.
- Watercolor canvases are resilient and hard-wearing.
- Pre-stretched watercolor canvases won’t warp or buckle, and it doesn’t require framing the artwork.
- It may be challenging to achieve a hard-edge or crisp edge result.
- It enables you to lift your colors easily but can be challenging for the glazing technique.
- With watercolor ground, you can turn any surface, even canvas, into excellent support for watercolor painting.
- Dry watercolor layers enable lifting, making it easy for fixing and simple paint adjustments.
- The surface stays wet for a long time, allowing you to work on your technique or manipulate your paints compared to watercolor paper.
Do You Need To Seal Watercolor Painting?
Watercolors are delicate, and a single drop of moisture or humidity can greatly affect the painting surface. If you want to immortalize yuo9r paintings or protect the surface, this part is designed just for you. Here’s why and how you can effectively and properly do the process like a pro.
First, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider before sealing or varnishing your watercolor painting.
The painting surface is water-based, which makes it prone to damage by spills or water.
Damp air can be absorbed on the paper, which can attract molds.
The oxygen present in the air can and will enhance the deteriorating process, making it brittle later on.
Before the delicate nature of watercolors and artists finding ways to secure the surface, framing it behind the glass was then the best protection.
While framing on the glass is a traditional way to protect watercolor painting surface, there are several setbacks associated with this procedure, namely:
- The framing process can be costly as it requires adding a mat board in between the painting surface and glass to avoid condensation or moisture build-up from the inside.
- It’s expensive to frame paintings behind glass.
- Potential breakage between transport during exhibitions is higher.
- The glass surface is smooth, which can cause reflections if you’ll view the painting.
- The packaging and posting to galleries and clients are high.
Aside from the aforementioned setbacks, there is also a huge possibility that the framer can mishandle the artwork, cause spills, and more, which results in damaging the masterpiece.
As the framing behind glass is not your only option, sealing and protecting your watercolor surface comes in various yet more efficient options. The sealing method can make your artwork waterproof and glassless if you prefer.
Mounting or sealing your watercolor painting
When mounting the watercolor painting, the paper should be supported using a solid and inflexible surface. Some use MDF or medium density fiberboards to frame one like for oil paintings. If you also seal the surface, this procedure also enables you to frame the artwork glassless.
While sealing watercolor is another option, here’s how you can effectively do it:
- Cut an MDF board to the suitable size of your artwork and paste it in on your painting.
- Let it dry and protect it with a wax or polyurethane process.
- You can frame it like oil paints or acrylic paints without the need for glass or matt.
- This won’t give any weight issues or reflection problems.
How Long Does Watercolor Painting Last?
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Regardless of which medium you are working on, every painting requires proper care and maintenance to ensure it will last for years and prevent any potential damage on the surface. While acrylics and oil paints are known to last for centuries, watercolor paints are prone to fading, especially if exposed to various elements.
To preserve the quality of your paint, you’ll need to protect the surface:
- Choose the right place where you will hand or place your watercolor painting. Direct sunlight, humidity, and various elements can affect the surface quality of your artwork.
- Avoid using sellotape or masking tape as it will rapidly stain your painting and will cause irreplaceable damage. If you’ll need to protect several areas of your painting, always go for artist or painter’s tape.
- If you’ll need to frame your watercolor painting, keep a good distance between the artwork surface and glass.
As watercolor won’t last for more than 5 years, the painting surface longevity varies with how you protect your artwork. According to the most popular watercolor manufacturers, tube types of watercolors have a lifespan of about 5 years. However, pan types of watercolors can last for up to 10 years. The condition and how you store your paint still affect the quality and longevity of your materials.
If your watercolors become moldy, they are not good, especially if you are allergic to molds. Small watercolor tubes can last longer, especially if you work with extra precautions with your painting essentials.
Why Is Watercolor Paint So Expensive?
You may find watercolors pricey compared to oil paints and acrylic paints. This is due to the higher pigment concentration. Most watercolors require additional processes to retain their unique characteristics.
For newcomers to the world of watercolor painting, you’ll notice that artist-quality watercolors are more expensive than artist-quality oil paints or acrylic paints.
The reason: Artist-quality watercolors are made with higher standards. Most manufacturers use premium-quality watercolors that are lightfast and have fewer fillers.
Art-N-Fly Professional Grade Watercolor Paper 100& Cotton 15 Sheets 300GSM/140LB
When it comes to painting with watercolors, you need to invest in a high absorbent paper that is acid-free and won’t buckle, warp, deteriorate, or turn yellowish over time.
Arteza Watercolor Paper Colored 25 Sheets: 5 Shades Available
It gives you great options and alternatives when working with your artworks. These 25 pieces of professional-grade watercolor paper come in 5 shades, allowing you to create a variance of artwork whenever needed.
60 Sheets Acid-free Watercolor Paper Cold-Press 2 Packs
This pH neutral and acid-free watercolor paper pad is strategically designed to help artists improve their painting techniques and skills. A fold-over design allows you to tear and get your paper whenever needed easily.
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