Beautiful Bluebird in Watercolor

Beautiful bluebird in watercolor tutorial finished painting

All the students did well with this easy watercolor tutorial The beautiful bluebird was one the top watercolor cards last year – easy to paint and their friends couldn’t stop talking about the beautiful bluebird cards.

Downloads for Beautiful Bluebird in Watercolor

Suggested Colors for Bluebird

  • Cerulean and/or Phthalo Blue
  • Any Red
  • Any Yellow
  • Burnt Sienna or other brown
  • Black – Any black or mix dark blue + brown
  • Green – Any green or mix your own

Painting Steps for Beautiful Bluebird in Watercolor

Step 1 – Draw or trace

Draw or trace your outline onto your watercolor paper with graphite paper.

Step 2 – Paint the Background.

Step 2 Paint the blue sky with watercolor
Color just after being dropped on.

(You want the background the same color as the bird, just lighter. The water on the wet background will lighten up the color automatically.)

Mix a big wash of a pretty light blue (suggested: cerulean blue plus a little phthalo blue). Mix your wash thick enough to paint the bird with.

Also, mix a small wash of red.

Wet the background behind the flowers and bird with clean water so it’s evenly wet.

Drop some blue onto your background around the bird. Drop in a few small areas of red.

Tilt to mix and move the colors.

Add more color with your brush as needed. Paint the blue between the flowers at the bottom.


Step 3 – Paint the Leaves.

Paint the leaves with two values of green.


Mix one puddle of medium green and one puddle of darker green.

Paint the leaves with some light and some green so you have variety and not flat greens. Let the colors mix on the paper.

Step 4 – Paint the flower buds pink.

Step 5 – Paint the center of the flowers

Paint the center of the flowers with a light orange (yellow + red). Dry. Dot in a few darker brown dots.

Step 6 – Paint the limb.

Paint the limb, flower centers and buds

Mix brown with some blue for a more believable wood color.

Paint the limb, trying for variety – lighter on top and darker under the bird and on the bottom. If it all dries light, add darker shadows.

Step 7 – Optional – Add shading to flower petals

white flower reference photo

You can leave your flower petals light or add shading.

For shading, mix blue and red, VERY watery. It it’s too bright, you can tone it down with a touch of branch color.

Paint a hint of shadow on some of the petals. Rinse your brush and paint the rest of the petal with clean water to soften the edges.

Step 8 – Paint the Beautiful Bluebird

Blue – Paint the blue part of the bird – lighter on top and darker on the inside.

Add more blue to the areas where you see more color – by the beak, beside the eye, on the left edge of the wing. You can use a paper towel or thirsty brush to lift up lighter areas on the wings.


Paint the chest. Mix red + yellow for orange and paint the chest orange.

Add a few short, darker (orange + brown) strokes in the orange to indicate feathers, if desired.

Eye and Beak – Paint the eye black and the bottom of the beak black also.


Add black or black/blue to the bottom of the wing for a shadow.

Paint a few strokes for feather on the white area (use a brown/gray mix), then dab them back up with a paper towel to leave very faint shadowing.

Step 9 Finishing Touches

Toes – use black to paint the toes.

White – Use opaque white for touch up anywhere you need it.

Student bluebird
Student Bluebird

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