How to Paint a Cardinal Bird
We don’t get cardinals around here so if I wish to enjoy them I have to paint them. I made sketches using photographs and I am working on a female version but their colorations are hard to capture and so far I have not been happy with what I have painted of them. But when I do get it I will share.
For a more complete list of the basic supplies I rely on Click Here: BASIC SUPPLIES
I copied my pattern to the paper using graphite paper
You can see the other practice cardinals I had worked on, over and over. I demonstrated both the right facing and left facing cardinals on my video but here I will just demo the fatter of the two.
Double load your #10 flat brush with your red and burnt umber. I first complete fill my brush with the red then work in a bit of burnt umber on one corner of the brush as red is not very opaque. I stroke on the back of the cardinal making sure the burnt umber is along his back edge. I pull my brush to a point at the end of his wing.
I reload my brush with the red and burnt umber then stroke on his belly, making sure the burnt umber is along the outside edge.
Dry wipe out your brush and fill with just the red and fill in the rest of his tummy. Because the red is not opaque you will still be able to see your lines for his wing.
Double load your brush with the red and burnt umber and stroke on his wing, burnt umber edge following line of wing. Don’t over think it or try to be perfect. It will take you a few practice runs so just go with it and enjoy getting the feel of it. End in a point at the tip of his wing. I am getting some dry edges on mine here as I am working on paper but on a base painted canvas or on a painted wood surface it will be much smoother.
Lets start on his tail. I chop in with the chisel edge of my brush the tail feathers and work my way up to the base of his wing and tummy.
Keep layering until you have filled it in.
Can you see how I missed some of the tracing at the end of the tail, don’t try to fill it in, the traced pattern is just a guideline. You can come back and erase that if you have used the graphite paper (carbon paper is different than graphite and will make a big mess if you try to erase it so be sure to get the graphite paper and the eraser I show you in the Basic Supplies list)
Wipe out your brush and fill with only red. It may have a trace of burnt umber left in it but for the most part you should’ve been able to remove it. Don’t wash the brush, a wet brush will just thin out the red more and we don’t want that.
Load your brush with just the red and using the chisel edge stroke in his head. Use choppy strokes to paint his crest. Don’t worry if you get a little red into the mask area, the black will cover it easily.
Switch to your liner brush. Using a smaller brush will help you keep control in the small area of the mask. Just fill in the mask area with the black.
Dry wipe out your brush and load it with burnt umber. Paint on a circle for the eye. Though it is hard you will be able to see it on the black. I am not sure how well you will be able to see it in the photo. It is barely perceptible here but in real life you can see it… (if you squint with one eye and close the other)
Clean your brush and pinch dry. Load with Orange and fill in his beak, you can add in some red if you think it needs a bit of shading and texture. Wipe out your brush and load with thinned out black to add the line in his beak. Make sure to pull your brush to a point with the black so you can make a very thin line.
Dry wipe you liner brush again, getting out as much of the burnt umber as you can. Load with white, don’t fret if the burnt umber left in your brush shades it a bit, you really don’t want it stark white, line parts of the eye. You may only want to do the bottom or you may feel it needs a bit around the top. Each bird will be different and you will need to make the call on how much to go around the eye with the liner. Put a dot of white at the top and toward the back of your eye circle for a spark of light.
With burnt umber and you liner brush paint on his legs and feet.
Ta da! You now have a cardinal bird.
Again here is the video:
Surface to paint – I demonstrated this on paper this time
Bottled Craft Acrylic Paints (I prefer FolkArt or DecoArt Americana)
Bright Red (The one I used here was FolkArt Cardinal Red)
#10 Flat Brush
#1/10 Liner Brush
A book on painting birds I am enjoying now..Painting Garden Birds.
Do you want to purchase a pattern packet? It includes not only the step by step shown here but a pattern of both birds for your personal use. My pattern packet sales help to support this blog and my endeavors to provide free painting tutorials for everyone. I want to thank you all for purchasing my patterns and my signs & paintings in my shop.
Happy Painting to All!
Did you enjoy this? Please PIN and share.
More Painting Tutorials to Enjoy