Mute Swan

I recently got a couple of books to learn more about layering colors and general painting tips. I very quickly and roughly drew out an example from Painting Wildlife Step by Step by Rod Lawrence. It wasn’t a perfect sketch but I wanted to dive in and test layering color, here is what I ended up with. My example is on the left and the book example on the right. I learnt quite a bit and I hope to test some more from this book.

A Mute Swan bill in watercolor

What am I?

A little bit of fun here for any birdwatchers, can you work out what the 4 birds are that I have sketched??

Guess the birds

Guess the birds from the sketch

Each bird has a number, just write a comment, list numbers 1 to 4 and what bird (example: 1. Chicken, 2. Turkey etc…)

It’s just for fun so write away!

Sketches – quick and slow..

Been basically trying to get a grasp on drawing birds, both quick and slow, learning shapes, postures, positions etc..

Sketch of Common Pochard

Bean Goose, I feel the body is a bit short but other than that I like it.

A Green Sandpiper - from photo

I’m going to start drawing up waders ready for Spring, I had trouble last year picking off the waders, even from my photos. Hope to change that this year.

Northern Wheatear

This time I thought I would do a full bird, another Wheatear juat to keep things familiar after doing the feathers. This male bird was taken in the summer at Broängarna, my local birding patch.

Started off with the sketch/outline and have added a light wash on the dark areas of the bird and on watercolor paper.


More to follow…

Pretty much finished piece, fairly pleased with it..

Northern Wheatear feather study

Furthering my learning I decided to do a quick feather study instead of a full bird from a photo I took last summer, a juvenile Northern Wheatear at Hjälstaviken.

Just done an standard budget A4 print paper, I know I should be using watercolor paper but I’m saving money and just practicing on normal print paper for now, when I feel comfortable enough on a subject I will “do it for real”.

Quick sketch this time to lay out some guides, I miss judged the angles again but adjusted the photo of my painting and superimposed it on the original, it’s pretty accurate and to scale so I’m rather pleased.

Left: Original painting
Top right:  Superimposed painting + photo
Bottom right: Original photo

Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear wing feather study watercolor








I’m still learning and would love to hear any comments about this, constructive criticism, tips or just your thoughts.

Next step – learning some feather names and maybe a head sketch + painting

Red-backed Shrike

Another watercolor but this time free hand with no pre-drawn guide lines or outlines.

I went for sketch book style again and over worked it, added too much shadows on the tail..head too tall and not wide enough and the bird is generally not “fat” enough.
Here is a link to the original photo (taken by myself):

I’m pleased anyway because yet again I can pick out what I done wrong and learn from it.


Female Red-backed Shrike from Broängarna