Watercolor Rooster on a Shoestring Budget

You don’t need a lot of art supplies or even artist grade ones to create a beautiful piece. Today I’m going to show you the process I used for creating a rooster painting using only two colors of watercolors and a number 2 pencil. Read until the end to get this piece on gifts and accessories on our Redbubble store.



To start, here are the colors I will be using, the yellow to the far left and the red to the far right. The orange is an equal combination of the two, though I added more red or more yellow to it for different parts of the painting. The thing about using two colors is that you aren’t really using two colors, you can mix them to create a secondary color if you’re using primaries like I am, or to create grey tones or tertiary colors.

I started off with my lightest tone first. With watercolors, it’s best to start with your lightest color so that you don’t muddy the light colors with the dark colors if you add the lights later. The lightest color is the yellow, which I applied in a flat wash across the head and neck of the rooster. You can also see my sketch here. This section of the rooster is going to end up darker than this yellow, but there are highlights of the light yellow, so I need to add those first. Painting highlights in watercolors is something you do in reverse, you add the highlights first and then paint the darker areas around them.

While the yellow was still wet, I added some of my orange, to which I added slightly more red. Using a wet on wet technique blurs the lines and allows be to create a more natural transition. I waited until the beak was dry to add orange because I wanted the opposite effect, for the lines to be crisp.

I next used the red to paint the coxcomb. I only used the one red but was able to create variance in tone by diluting some sections more than others. The more water you add to watercolors, the lighter the tone will be. To really emphasize the difference in light, I left some sections white.

Finally, I took a regular number 2 pencil to add the darkest sections. These included some deep shadows on the coxcomb, the nostril and beak, and the eye. You can see on the coxcomb that I was able to shade on top of the watercolors to create variation with the pencil. In other sections, like under the beak, I kept the pencil dark.

As always, you can find this piece on Redbubble. We publish a new blog every Tuesday and Friday so, until next time, thanks for reading and goodbye!

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