Just to prove that we can kill it with keywords at the 4 Dog Arts blog, a tutorial on how to paint the American Avocet. Google may not even be able to handle the traffic. Try to keep up, Google.
These shorebirds are usually found in treeless, shallow areas, away from pelicans or gulls. They are also notable because we have rarely gotten a photo of them without being a set of totally territorial nutjobs. Avocets are like the mean kids you knew in high school who thought the whole freaking school was theirs. If by school, you mean shallow pond filled mostly with muck.
It's a metaphor.
Art supplies. You can never have too many.
gouache & watercolors
Pastel chalk pencils
Quick bird sketches
Sketch a rough outline of your birds in pencil.
Wet. Then start adding paint.
Mix a little red and yellow together to get the right orange. (Text the color on a scrap piece of paper first if you're not sure.)
Wet the space you'd like to paint with plain water first. Then start to lay down paint.
While first color is still wet, add in yellow.
Start to paint in some yellow. I like to work fast so that the yellow and the red-orange have a chance to bleed together in the painting.
I also have no patience.
I now pay the price for my eagerness.
Use a little blue or purple with a little sepia black. Dilute it with water and it becomes a great gray for painting bird's feet.
If you can wait until the body is dry, you won't have to pretend the bleeding of the colors is what you meant to do.
Paint shadows and bird's beaks.
Use the same blue/purple/sepia mixture to paint strong shadows and texture onto the legs.
While I am waiting (See? I learn my lessons.) for the legs to dry, I paint the beaks with the sepia paint. I then paint the red orange over the tops.
Paint the back-up bird. I have also added a strong shaddow to the belly and legs of the front bird because I buggered it up at the beginning.
Now we'll paint the back-up bird. Avocets seem to like being jerks in pairs.
Use the same colors, but dilute with water. We want the bird in front to look more impressive.
Mix blue, purple and sepia to paint the black feathers.
Everyone looks good in black, so we will put some on our avocets.
Mix equal parts of blue and purple to sepia to get that swank black feather color.
Highlight the feathers with blue. I only have a bright "almost-kind-of-sort-of cyan" left in my paint box, so that's what I'm using. You can use any sort of blue you like.
Ta-da! I don't get to say "Ta-da!" alot.
Break out those Prismacolor pencils. It's detail time!
Take that sweet blue/purple/sepia and dilute it with water. A lot of water. That will make our shadow and tails on both birds. Then we finish with some pencils to make the feathers and eyes stand out.
Avocet Bird Painting Video
For those who prefer the video version, oh yes. We've got that!