Mini Lesson – Watercolor Hummingbird

This “mini-lesson” shows step-by-step how I painted a hummingbird from one of my photos.

  1. I begin by sketching the hummingbird with an HB pencil.  Make sure your drawing is   accurate!  Lighten the pencil lines by dabbing at them with a kneaded eraser.  (Contrary to what most books say, once wet, these lines can’t be erased completely) - Hummingbird Watercolor Lesson - Start w/Pencil Sketch

  1. I then mix the following puddles (a puddle is paint mixed with enough water to dilute it to the desired value):
  • Cobalt blue + Brown Madder (warm & cool mixtures)
  • Winsor Blue + Viridian Green
  • Sap Green
  • Alizarin Crimson  + New Gamboge
  • French Ultramarine + Payne’s Gray + a bit of Alizarin
  • Sepia + French Ultramarine
  1. Next I paint the base washes of the bird. - Hummingbird Watercolor Lesson - Paint base colors

  1. For the eyes, feet, and beak use the Ultramarine/Payne’s Gray / Alizarin mixture.  Leave the white highlights untouched.
  2. For the back of the bird paint the Winsor Blue/Viridian mixture.  While it’s still wet add Sap Green next to it, letting the colors bump each other.
  3. For the belly, let Sap Green bump into the Cobalt Blue/Brown Madder (warm) puddles, letting the colors blend alongside each other.
  4. For the wing and head, use both the warm and cool Cobalt/Brown Madder mixtures;  then drop a little Sap Green into them while still wet.
  5. The rosy area under the belly is painted with Alizarin/New Gamboge.
  1. Allow all initial washes to dry!  Never paint into an area that has started to dry.
  1. Add the final details - Hummingbird Watercolor Lesson - Add details

  1. Use the Sepia/Ultramarine mixture for dark highlights on the beak and feet as well as in the eye.
  2. For wing highlights use the cool Brown Madder/Cobalt mixture.

If you have any questions, please add a comment below!


Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

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