A fun and quick tutorial that will teach you how to paint feathers that are perfect for rock painting and more!
How to paint feathers
I have shared quite a few animal rocks for you to try. But as you know from time to time there are painting techniques I find experts to share their tips on. This tutorial will show you how to paint feathers for a realistic bird painting.
I myself tend to create more cartoon style rocks. I have shared a cute little singing bird in the past. If this bird is out of your range you might want to check that one out.
Painting feathers is a technique that you will only master with practice and patience. Anne from Art_by_Anne has been painting animal rocks for a couple of years now. You can see more of her amazing creation s over on Instagram here. Anne sells most of her rock art and even does custom pet orders!
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Step by step instructions for painting feathers on birds
Supplies for painting birds on rocks
It is important to have a nice smooth stone to work with. For painting, she suggests 2 soft hair brushes. One size 2 and a very fine one smaller than 0. She also blends her acrylic paints to get the specific colors she wants for her bird paintings.
You will want different variations of your color so you don’t need to blend them completely. Tracing on your bird first will help a lot. In these photos, you will see Anne has used a white chalk pencil. On a lighter stone, you can use a standard soft lead pencil. You can erase any leftover lines once your paint has dried.
How to paint birds onto rocks
Anne always starts with adding an outline onto her rock. For this design, she is using a white chalk pencil.
This can easily be erased at the end. If you have a darker stone you can base out the sections of your bird with white to help the colors pop. Start adding the base color to each section of your bird.
Make sure that your strokes move in the direction that your feathers lay. For the larger feathers, it can help to work from the tip of the feather up so you can control the shape a bit more.
While those colors are drying you can add in some of your darker tones. The underside of the beak, around the eye, and even spaces where the feathers will be darker between colors.
Now it is time to start adding in a bit more details. Layering is key here to get an effective feather look. Also, all birds are a bit different. Pay attention to the details you want to really bring out.
Dark layers then lighter layers. Outline the tips of your feathers to match the style of bird you are creating.
Then go in with your super small brush and start on the fine details. Layer your feather colors one small line at a time. You may find you need to thin your paint with a bit of water to get nice smooth fine lines.
Once you are happy with how it looks let it dry completely and then erase any outlines that may exist.
Spray with your favorite sealer and you are done!
I hope this tutorial has given you some confidence to try painting a realistic bird! Don’t forget to follow Anne over on Instagram too! She has a lot of beautiful work to look at to get you inspired.