Feathered Friends – Cardinal

Cardinal Step-by-Step

Painting Tips:

  • I like to add sheer layers when painting; it is easier to add more color than to take it away.
  • Often when painting birds if there are markings that I would paint at the end, I also paint them on initially.   This will give me the placement for the final details.
  • When painting birds I do layers of strokes following the direction the feathers grow.  I usually start with a small round or 2/0 liner on the first layer, then add the next layer with a smaller liner.
  • I usually create my feathers with 2 layers and possibly some shading in between.  If you are not happy with your feathers add another darker layer and then a lighter layer of feathers.  If it is a dark area add a layer of lighter feathers and then a darker layer.


1.  Base beak Mustard Seed, and eye Soft Black.  Paint line around eye, toes and lines on wings with Neutral Grey. Using 2/0 liner and Tangelo Orange paint small strokes to highlight top of crest, between eye and back of head top center of chest and top of wings.


2.  Shade back of beak with Tangelo Orange.  Stroke Brilliant Red on body using 2/0 liner following direction of feather growth.  Stroke on feathers around beak with Soft Black.


3.   Shade top of beak and top of bottom half of beak with Tangelo Orange. Shade back of head, back, under wing, and down front side with Deep Burgundy.


4.  Stroke small feathers on bird with Country Red and 10/0 liner.


5.  Stroke over lighter areas with Brilliant Red. Paint Soft Black lines across toes, line mouth, reinforce black around beak, and put little line behind eye. Paint Warm White highlight in eye and on lower rim of eye.


6.   Shade over back and under wings with Charcoal Grey, and paint small feathers  over floated areas with 10/0 liner. Reline wings as needed with Charcoal Grey, and add some Slate Grey lines.