Easy Watercolour Feathers

Since my feather banner is so popular, I figured I’d show you how I made it.

This tutorial is super simple, anybody can paint feathers! What makes it even better is how fast this process is. I painted these in less than half an hour, they dried for about an hour, and the outlines took about another half an hour to draw.

The paint does all the work. Well, not all the work, but takes care of the pretty-making on your behalf.

All you’ll need is a sheet of watercolour paper, watercolour paints, a paintbrush, water, a fine liner and a design. I chose feathers because they’re so simple to draw, but you could go with whatever design you’d like.

If you do this right, the first step is to stretch the paper by sticking it onto your working surface with masking tape. I never do this, because I’m a) lazy and b) anxious to get started. I usually end up having to iron the artwork. Don’t try this at home (though more artists do this than you think 😛 ).

Prepare the paint before you start (AKA dilute the paint with water). I used 5 different colours for this painting: ultramarine, cerulean blue, alizarin crimson, alizarin crimson and cerulean blue mixed, and alizarin crimson and white mixed. That’s a mouthful.

Draw your design on the page, looking at a reference if you need to. The lighter you leave the pencil lines, the better. Of course, this doesn’t photograph too well. Sorry.

Next, paint your design with water.

Keep this wet while you’re painting, so the pigment will flow and blend.

Add your first colour by dabbing and lightly dragging the brush over the design.

Add the other colours one at a time and marvel at how the paint spreads and mixes. There are few things I find as soothing as watching watercolour work its magic. Sad, I know.

While the paint is wet, I like to turn the page every now and then, so the pigments will blend more. When you’ve painted everything, let it dry for around 10 mins, then add a little more paint to the edges, just so the colour will be more vibrant.

Now, wait. I put the painting in a sunny spot and finished my coffee. If you get impatient (like I do) you can employ the aid of a hairdryer, but keep in mind that the paint WILL RUN if you keep the hairdryer too close. I usually wait until the paint is almost dry before I pull out my air-canon.

When the design is completely dry, start adding the linework. Go slowly and don’t press too hard. I always try to use thick and thin lines, so the design will be interesting.

And that, my friend, is it. Sign your name, you’ve made a painting!

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I hope you enjoyed this post. Please let me know what you’d like to see for a next tutorial and I’ll be happy to try your suggestions.

Have a good one,

Yolandie