Painting Fur & Feathers Demo 1st November

This demonstration was most helpful for those of us wanting to paint animals and birds.

Caroline started by introducing us to painting short feathers, as those on the owl below:

Mix three shades: dark, medium and light of the colours of the feathers. Start with the dark shapes , loosely and with little strokes.

Use the medium brown and build up layers, putting on blocks of colour. Use the white of the paper for the lightest part of the feathers

Put in the lighter shades, pulling in colours using the side of a flat brush with little flicks, allowing dark colours underneath to create depth.


For longer feathers, as in the tail feathers of the hen draw out the outlines first, then put in the dark areas. Fill in the shadows using the medium shade.


When brushing long feathers, start at the quill and work outwards.


For fur use dark tones first and follow the direction of the fur. Use a rigger for finer points.

Think about the highlights, which go on last

Use a dryish “damaged “ * brush with unwatery paint for the wispy fur ends..

Using a mid- grey rather than white, build up the light areas. A useful trick is to use a flat brush with a different colour on each side

*Any old flat brush will be suitable. Just snip it irregularly with nail scissors until it is nice and spikey!