WATERCOLOR FEATHER TUTORIAL

Sometimes the simplest things can seem to be the hardest to paint.Feathers are so dainty and soft that you want that portrayed when you paint them.Learn  four different ways of doing so from this watercolor feather tutorial.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

When I first tried to paint a feather, it was an absolute disaster.I couldn’t get myself to do another one for a long time after that.But then as I got to understand watercolors and how it worked, it seemed just so silly that I would not attempt to do something as beautiful as a feather.I realized I was a bit too stiff with my painting.I treated it like how I would treat my colored pencils.If you’re like me and you’ve had a horrible experience at painting feathers, then you’ve come to the right post.I’m going to break it down in simple steps with detailed photos.

Looking to learn the basics of watercolors? Click the links below to know how

Watercolor fun techniques part 1

Watercolor fun techniques part 2

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Materials you will need for attempting the watercolor feather tutorial are

  1. Watercolor paper
  2. Watercolors
  3. Paint brushes
  4. White gouache
  5. Pencil
  6. Palette


Feather-Type A

Step 1:Draw a light outline in the shape of a feather in pencil on watercolor paper.Make sure you don’t apply a heavy hand while doing so.Next we need to do a wash of color.Apply a thin layer of clear water inside the feather shape.Wait for a few seconds and when the surface is still wet,drop in a few drops of paint randomly.Let the paint do the work of flowing and forming a light wash.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Go over it by using a very light hue of the same color while still wet.The light hue can be achieved by adding more water than color.Wait for it to dry.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Step 2:Darken the centre line.This feather is a fairly stiff one.You’ll see that I’ve painted a few lines that go outward from the center.Here,the top part will have darken lines than the rest.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

 

The bottom end of this feather is a bit frayed.Paint soft random scribble lines.This gives a realistic look to the feather.You’ll see that the bottom part looks softer than the rest.This can be achieved by thinning down the paint.By randomly overlapping scribble paint lines,you’ll be able to achieve that look.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Darken a few lines more lines and connect the bottom end of the feather to the rest in a way that it seems cohesive.You can do this by starting soft line from whenever the scribble lines stop.And you’ve just created your first feather.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

 

Feather-Type B

Step 1:As previously explained,draw a rough outline in pencil.Paint a light wash inside the feather shape.The shape here is shorter and rounder than Type A feather.
Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Step 2:While the paint is still wet,paint by moving your brush using an up and down motion.This needs to be done alternatively by leaving a gap.So you’ll see four parts of the darker shade and the rest is left as it is.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Keep painting over the dark areas until you get the desired shade.Wait for it to to dry.Once dry,paint the centre part called shaft.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Step 3: From the centre line, paint lines at an angle of approximately 45 degree on either side.Start with a darker center making it lighter as you move up.Paint a few lines darker than the rest.The bottom is frayed but to as much as the previous feather.You don’t need to  paint scribbles here.Paint a few lines over lapping each other that moves out from the centre.And that’s it.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Feather-Type C

Step 1:This feather is fairly simple.Paint a wash that is extremely light.You can see from this photo that there is hardly any color as the base.First,paint the centre line.Paint random strokes at an angle of 45 degree from the bottom to the top.The lines need to follow the shape of the feather.It starts narrow from the bottom and widens in the middle and again narrows at the top.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Finish painting till the end.Darken the strokes.The inner part from where the strokes start need to be darker.The bottom part has a few feathers that change angle and move slightly downwards.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Step 2: Repeat the same on the other side as well. Now, wasn’t that easy?You’ve completed another feather as well.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Feather-Type D

Step 1:This feather has a slightly oval shape.It’s shorter the all the others.After drawing the outline as shown, add a few circles on the top part of the feather.Fill in with a light wash of paint.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Step 2:Start painting strokes outwards from the centre as explained in the previous feather.Try to leave out the spots or circles you’ve drawn.It’s okay if the paint overlaps because it can be fixed once the paint is dry.

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Finish the strokes.The bottom half is darker than the top as you can see below.The bottom part has a few frayed feathers too.Here, the centre line is left as it is and not painted over as previously done.

√

Step 3:Once the paint is completely dry,paint over the centre line and the spots using white gouache.You may need to go over it a few times to get that opaque white color.And feather number four is done!

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Learn four ways of painting feathers from this detailed watercolor feather tutorial by Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

What do you think?

Did you think this tutorial was easy to follow?Which one is your favorite feather among the lot?Mine would be the brown one.I hope you try one of these out and if you do,don’t forget to share them with me.Hashtag with #makeinkstruck on Instagram and I’ll be sure to have a peek and repost.Thank you for reading and helping this blog grown.I’m so glad you’re here.Have a nice day!

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About zakkiya hamza @ inkstruck

Zakkiya is the creative blogger and founder of Inkstruck Studio. She’s a self taught artist who let go of her architecture profession to pursue her passion in art. Zakkiya likes to write detailed tutorials in watercolor, calligraphy, and hand lettering. She also teaches watercolor workshops occasionally in Doha where she’s based currently. Other passions include traveling, photography, and basketball.When she’s not working, you can find her cuddling and running around with her toddler boy.

28 thoughts on “WATERCOLOR FEATHER TUTORIAL

    1. How kind of you.Yes,I think feathers would lovely as part of home decor.Maybe a set of three in a row.Thank you so much for stopping by and for taking time to pin 🙂 Have a nice day! x

    2. Thank you for the tutorial. The feathers are so wonderful. I would like to try mhy hand at it too.

  1. These are beautiful! Thank you for the tutorial! I’m having some problems finding watercolor paper but as soon as I get some, I’ll try it. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Aline.I’m so glad you like the tutorial and I hope you get to learn a great deal from it too.I would love to see it if your try 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth. Love that you find my tutorials useful.Oh I’m waiting for the day my LO becomes a little bit older so that I can do all my artsy stuff with him.Have a splendid day!

  2. This looks really cool, I’ve been looking for some DIYs I could do during the summer and this looked great for my art wall. Thanks for the great tutorial!

    1. That would be brilliant! This will definitely look great as wall decor and the perfect DIY for summer.It’s easy and will hardly take any time plus sipping on some cool lemonade will help isn’t it ? Thanks for stopping by! x

    1. That is brilliant! I’m so glad these tutorials are helping you.Painting is intimidating but trust me it’s a lot of fun and easier than it looks.Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    1. I am so glad that you’re confident in painting feathers now. I made this tutorial specifically for the beginner artist. I had a couple of readers tell me how they had difficulty breaking it down into simple steps which led me to thinking I should make a tutorial on feathers. I will be doing another detailed , slightly advanced tutorial soon . Thanks for stopping by! Please show me your lovely feathers. I would love to see !

    1. Hi Karra. The brush I used here is a No.2 Winsor and Newton round brush. It’s very basic but what I’ve learnt in the course of painting with watercolors is that any brush will work as long as you can control the way it works. For example you can use a silver black velvet brush in size no.8 to create a similar feather because it forms a sharp tip. Don’t go splurge on brushes if you have any of these numbers – 2,4,6,8 round 🙂 . I hope that helps!

  3. Thanks so much for this tutorial. It was very clear. I loved being shown every step. I am just new at playing with watercolors and having so much fun. I think feathers would work well for a masculine card. (I had to look up gouache!)

    1. Thanks Joan. I’m so glad my step by step tutorial has helped you. My aim is for beginners to understand watercolor and I believe that the best way to do that is to break it down well. I would love to see the card if you try it out. Thanks again!

  4. Thank you for the tutorial…it really seems doable and I’m excited to try it! I never really excelled in watercolour back in school and I guess you could say I have a slight phobia of them. I just recently reacquainted myself with watercolour and have been dabbling with ombre lettering using watercolour…it is a challenge but practice makes perfect. Looking forward to more tutorials from you 🙂

  5. I love these! I’m practicing. Wondering, though, if you would ever do a video tutorial? I love to learn by watching. 🙂

    1. Thanks Rachel. I am considering doing a few video tutorials but not at the moment. I don’t have the right equipment to take high quality videos.But I’ll be doing them soon probably at the later part of the year. x

  6. Thank you so much for this amazing feathers tutorial! Your feather watercolorings are fantastic. I just recently found your blog & love your tutorials! Your watercoloring is so beautiful! I look forward to your new tutorials! Thank you again!!

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