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The Kid Should See This

Painting whimsical watercolor birds, a tutorial

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“Today I’m starting a new challenge,” artist Diane Antone writes, “to give myself permission to paint a bird a day to keep the blues away!” For Antone, painting birds can be relaxing and creative, even when she’s not feeling that way.

Her loose, impressionistic style is light and easy; rather than meticulously painting every feather, Antone prefers to capture the essence of a bird in her illustrations, writing:

“Many of us, myself included, struggle with painting loose watercolors. There are so many things to think about. One of these is the need for using wet-in-wet technique and if you’re only painting wet-on-dry you will never truly be painting loosely…”

blue bird

“This tutorial shows you how to begin to gain confidence with wet-in-wet and at the same time produce a cute little painting of three sweet birds! It’s really easy and ideal for beginners and children alike.”

She begins with a simple “blob” of color. Next, she adds legs, beaks, eyes, and tails with black lines. Additional layers of water on the wet colors create dynamic textures. A white gel ink pen, lightly used, creates highlights and details after the watercolor paint dries.

With the studio tagline “Relax, breathe, create,” Antone also embraces changes and “fixes” as she paints.

yellow blob
Related tip: Salt on wet watercolor also creates sparkle textures.

Watch these related watercolor videos next:
Kasey Golden’s seven watercolor tips for beginners
• How to paint layered petals with watercolors
• Watercolor, gouache, acrylics, a paint comparison
• Tigers in the Jungle, a watercolor demonstration

Bonus activity: Teeny Weeny Challenge: How Small Can I Draw?!

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