how to paint a hummingbird

hummingbirds are fun to paint!
paint a watercolor ruby-throat hummingbird

  • Learn how to paint a hummingbird with easy steps.

The Ruby-throated hummingbird is the most wide-spread hummingbird in the United States. We will be painting him visiting a fuchsia flower.

How to Paint a Hummingbird with watercolor by painting artist Carol MayHow to Paint a Hummingbird with watercolors

Hummers are very popular. Here are some of my hummingbird paintings.

Broad-billed Hummingbird a watercolor painting by artist Carol May"Broad-billed Hummingbird" with delphinium flowers in a loose, colorful style.
Tiny Treasures a watercolor painting of baby hummingbirds in the nest by artist Carol May"Tiny Treasures" are the baby hummingbirds in the nest watching for Mom to come.
Costa's Hummingbird a watercolor painting by artist Carol MayCostas are seen in the southwest. So this "Costa Hummingbird" is visiting a cactus.

Enough of my paintings, let's learn how to paint a hummingbird with watercolor!

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get ready to paint

materials

This painting is on a ad - 8x10 Aquabord. It is a sturdy, archival surface for watercolor paintings.

You may certainly use ad - watercolor paper.

Do your watercolor paintings with ad - soft brushes made specifically for painting watercolor.


colors

This painting uses a semi-triad color scheme of yellow, red and green.

All of my watercolor paintings are done with tube watercolors.

  • Lemon Yellow or New Gamboge
  • Permanent Rose
  • Thalo Green or Sap Green



how to paint a hummingbird

Draw the hummingbird on paper and transfer it to the painting surface with ad - graphite paper.

If you are good at drawing, you may do the drawing directly onto the painting surface.

Start painting the green back and beak of the hummingbirdStart painting the green back and beak
  • Mix a light yellow-green and start painting on the top edge of the head and body.
  • As you move down the head and body, start painting with a darker green (less yellow).
  • Put some dark (mix red and green together to make black) on the underside of the chin and just below the wing where there will be a shadow.
  • Paint the beak and eye with the same black. Use less water, so the color will be darker.
  • Leave the top-side of the beak unpainted and leave a white highlight in the eye.

Darken top of body and highlight the beak of the hummingbirdDarken top of body and highlight the beak
  • Before the beak dries, use a damp brush and pull diluted color to the top side of the beak. It appears lighter than the bottom because the light will be hitting the top of the beak.
  • Darken the head and body by adding more green.
  • If the beak and eye dry too light, add more black.
  • Leave a bit of white around the eye to differentiate it from the feathers. Many hummingbirds also have a white patch behind the eye.

Paint the gorget and tail feathers of the hummingbirdPaint the gorget and tail feathers

Now we get to paint where its name came from, the "Ruby-throated Hummingbird".

  • Paint his gorget with red.
  • Use lighter red near the light and darker red away from the light under his throat. Mix a darker red by adding a bit of its complimentary color - green.
  • Put some green out on the tail feathers.
  • Add dark to differentiate between the tail feathers. Mix the darker green by adding red.
  • Shadow the underside of his belly with a diluted beak color.

Start painting the wings of the hummingbirdStart painting the wings
  • Paint the wings with a diluted version of the beak color.
  • You may put darker shadows between the feathers.
  • An optional way is to paint the wing feathers all the same light color.
  • When the color is almost dry, put some lines to indicate the separation of feathers.
  • There is some green that goes from the body up into the base of the wing.

Paint the hummer's underside and the flowerPaint the hummer's underside and the flower
  • Put some color down onto the body, but leave a white space below the gorget.
  • There is also a bit of white under the body just in front of the tail.
  • He has a couple of little black feet tucked up under his body.
  • Paint the flower with shades of red that match the ruby-throat of the bird.
  • The center petals of the flower are light yellow and the shadows are the same grey as the bird's wings.
  • Put some green sepals under the flower to tie it together with the green on the hummer

hooray! the painting is finished.

  • You may want to put a wash on the background.
  • Dampen the area around the bird and flower before applying your chosen background color.

How to paint a Ruby-throat Hummingbird with a fuchsia flowerYou may put a wash on the background.



now it's your turn!

Now that you know how to paint a hummingbird, you may want to paint a Ruby-throated Hummingbird or one of the other types of hummers.

See photos of the various types of hummingbirds seen in the United States.


happy painting!


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