Airbrush Step-by-Step

How to use the Bokeh technique, the Airbrush and Modeling Paste in wildlife art

Step 1: So to begin, I am going to spray a blurry background with Canary Yellow. Leave some white and let the yellow make whatever shapes you would like.
Step 2: Next I used some Grass Green over the yellow blur to create some distant plant life or trees in the background. Have fun with this process and stay loose.
Step 3: Next, I added a Teal Green to the airbrush and sprayed it in a way that blends into the other colors. I want the Bokeh technique to look really out-of-focus on this because my bird will really pop out.
Step 4: Now comes the Orange in the airbrush. I really like the way all these colors represent nature and gives you background a colorful array of colors. Remember to let the other colors still pop through as it would be waste to cover them up completely.
Step 5:  So it is time to really define the shapes in the background by adding some Transparent black to it. The black will be found in between the various round shapes that you have just sprayed. These will represent the shadows found in between the shapes.
Step 6: Now comes the white highlights within the orbs of colors. These are going to represent flowers or even holes in the forest where you can see the sky or distant background. Use the white very sparingly as we do not want it to over power all of the other colors.
Step 7: It is time to paint in our little Quetzal bird. Using a Filbert brush, I block in the colors of the birds head, body and torso. We will be adding the highlights and feather colors later.
Step 8: In the blocking process, I am simply gauging the proportions of the over bird and it’s anatomy. I don’t want the head to be too big or the body too fat. Refer to reference photos if you need to, as this will help you with the anatomy too. Reference photos are simply another tool to help you create a wonderful, realistic bird.
Step 9: Here, I am blocking in the tail feathers using the same Filbert brush and Opaque White paint. Make sure refer to the reference photo in you need to.
Step 10: Now comes the beautiful and long mating plumage that the Quetzal is so famous for. I start out with a Cerulean Blue and Black.
Step 11: Now the tail plumage has different colors in them and I like mine to be twisting a little bit. Next I am using a Teal blue, that I paint in over the blue. This gives the painting a little life and movement.

Step 12: After that step, I want to fill in the beak with some Canary yellow. It is a very small beak on this bird, but it is beautiful and yellow!
Step 13:  After that, I clean up my lines and go into detail with my Quetzal. For this, I am using a fine round brush. It’s all coming together like planned.
Step 14:  Next, comes the details in the feathers. Now you can see why I like to “block in” the foundations of the body first, as the colors of the feathers really pop out over black. Here I am using a pearl green and pearl blue over the black, which are really fun to do.
Step 15:  My favorite part is the highlight of the eye! It is always my favorite because, the animal that you are painting only comes to life with a little highlight!
Step 16:  Here I am just adding some final little highlights and shadows over the entire bird. I even added a little pearl black to the airbrush so that the bird comes out shiny and iridescent.
Step 17: Now moving on to the perch. I wanted a tree branch for the bird’s perch as it will add to the 3D effect I am going for. It too will have some 3D effects to it. Here I am using a dark brown umber for the blocking in of the branch and I follow this with some Sienna and white for the bark. I am using a flat brush for the bark because it is perfect for bark.
Step 18: Now I add some white to the bark as this gives the illusion of a light source. Always keep in mind where the light source is coming from as this will make the entire piece come together.
So there you have it; a 3D painting that uses the Bokeh technique, Realism and textural mixed media masterpiece. Watch all of your friends and family wow at your use of these very easy but effective painting techniques that has made your project really jump out at them. Leave your comments, thoughts or ideas in the bar below. I’d love to hear what you think! Till next time, keep painting, be creative and stay colorful.
So here’s what I used to create this Quetzal bird….

My Artist’s Tool Box:

USA CP12X16-12PK – 8 x 10 in Canvas panel
MAS G44 – Master High Precision Gravity Feed Airbrush with 0.2 mm Tip
USA AB-KIT-12 – 12 Color Primary Opaque Airbrush Acrylic Paint Colors
USA BS-124 – 12 Piece Nylon Paint Brush Set
USA AM-5041-500 – Modeling Paste Acrylic Medium
USA KS-05 – 5 Piece Plastic Artist Palette Knife Set

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Keep painting, Stay colorful and Laugh often

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