Watercolour Toucan Demo

Toucans to me are endlessly paintable. Between their phenomenal beaks and dramatic plumage in a rainbow of colours they have a charm and antic personality that draws me in.

They move slow and then suddenly fast – they incline and rock and that wink!

Talking of winking – the toucan’s eye has a lot of layers and has a feeling of being embedded in that glorious feathery down in his face. I wanted to really understand the eye and so I found a close-up – above.

Also – I wanted to see the feet clearly and so found a very good shot of those.


All these macro details help you as a painter to better render your subject. Plus – it is a joy to allow yourself to go ever deeper into the appearance of things – there is always more to see…

So – I had to pick a subject to teach at a local art society. I chose a toucan so here are my warm up sketches, warm up paintings and some images that you can also use as they are from http://www.pixabay.com and are free to use as you wish!

So here are my two warm-ups – just allowing myself to get into teh birds shape and mood.



and finally this is the toucan I painted for the group as a demo. I had 3 hours and I was going around students individually to help them so this is the best I could do.

The paper was stretched 100% cotton rag Arches ROUGH 140lbs paper – a divine surface.

My paints were Winsor & Newton Professional Quality watercolour tube paints in Permanent Sap Green, Winsor Orange, Winsor Yellow, French Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Burnt Umber and Alizarin Crimson.

toucan w.jpeg


Very enjoyable and I would like to do it again with no time limit in my studio:)


What favourite birds would you like to paint over and over?



3 thoughts on “Watercolour Toucan Demo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.