How to paint feathers in watercolour

If you want to paint feathers in watercolour and make them look realistic, the key is to balance their stripy texture with their overall form. 

It’s tempting to get lost in the details when you paint feathers, but we need to remember that we’re dealing with something that is virtually weightless. So we need to keep a really light touch so that we keep them looking light…as a feather!

The technique I’m about to show you here is the same whether you’re painting a single feather, or you’re painting lots of feathers together on a bird.

How about trying these techniques to paint your own feather?

Let me know how it goes in the comments below. And also leave me a message if you enjoyed the video, I love to read them!

Happy painting,

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  1. Cindy Roadman on August 18, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Heheheheh❣️❣️❣️ LOVED your little feather donator at the end! I giggled right out loud!! My daughter and I have a little joke between us. We took her over the pond (from America) to London and visited Trafalgar Square! We’d seen so many images of literally 100s of pigeons on the ground and flying. She was so very excited to see them in mass. But, when we arrived we saw exactly ONE! She was exceedingly disappointed but we came home with quite the humorous story to tell. We have laughed and laughed and to this day if we see a single pigeon we always take a photo and send it to each other! It never ceases to bring a smile!! Thank you for your amazing art! I’ve learned so much from you and your school! Be blessed and stay well and safe! Blessings, Cindy

    • Anna Mason on August 20, 2020 at 11:33 am

      Haha, yes they managed to clear the Pigeons from Trafalgar Square a few years ago! That’s a funny story though for you and your daughter. 🙂

  2. Eileen on August 18, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    I just love the way you paint and your helpful videos……I hope you will keep sending them. I’m not painting yet, but am saving them all for when I can.

  3. Hélène on August 18, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Trés belle réussite

  4. Nyeon on August 18, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks for the motivation.

  5. Debra Jacobs on August 18, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Birds are my passion. My pear came out pretty decent…my anemone, not so much, but the second try on cold press paper looked much better, although stamens aren’t my thing apparently. What I want to end up being able to do is duplicate some of the many photos I have from trips I’ve taken with my husband over the years. Mostly Rome and London, mostly buildings, churches, markets, parks etc.
    I bring in Monarch eggs and get them through the metamorphosis then release them. I am going to try 2 Monarch butterfly watercolors without your insight and see how that goes.

  6. Darcia Cowart on August 18, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    Can you please check on my membership? Back in March we flew to Utah and I left my purse on the plane with my wallet. I had to cancel my cards. It did not hit me that this was on one of the cards till April. I then used the new card they sent me with the new numbers and took advantage of the April Covid special you ran. That allowed us to re-enroll and a discounted rate. Since I had hand my membership for over a year.

    I tried logging in and I could not.
    I messaged the staff and you said you would get back with me.
    I’ve not heard back.
    Then last week I tried again using the 25% off for 6 months. and Entered my information again.
    Can you check to see if it is on fine and it has been accepted?
    I have excellent credit.
    The card would not decline.
    IM on new a new medicine, which allows me to hold the paintbrush still and my vision is not as blurry. So I would love to try again.

  7. Francine from Chambly.PQ Can. on August 18, 2020 at 10:42 pm

    Thank you for that nice video .I have already bought your books ,and made few of the suggested exercises . I love it !
    I am from Quebec and read more easily in french. Please do more other books in french ,your explanations are so clear ,you are the best ! Because I am still very new in watercolor painting, I am waiting to join your in line school. Thanks ,keep doing
    your fantastic job.
    Francine Demers

    • Anna Mason on August 20, 2020 at 11:31 am

      Thank you Francine!! Or should I say, Merci!

  8. cora noor on August 19, 2020 at 1:46 am

    hi anna

    love the demonstrathing of the feather,excuse my spelling, i am 90 years old,and dutch,so a bit hard to get it right.
    i have just bought some water colour paint,to try out. i do acrylic, pastel,and c.p pencils. anyway thank you very
    much for you help. cora

    • Anna Mason on August 20, 2020 at 11:31 am

      Love that you’re starting a new creative venture Cora, you’re an inspiration! 🙂

  9. Robby Cook on August 19, 2020 at 3:42 am

    Anna, you are SO generous with sharing your knowledge. Thank you very much. This is a fabulous tutorial and inspires me to give painting a feather a go. Your positivity and helpfulness comes across in bucket-loads and I love getting your ‘how to’ emails. Keep safe; keep smiling; keep sane; and keep creating … Robby (in Oz)

  10. Avril ross on August 19, 2020 at 5:08 am

    Anna. Thank you for your kindness and generosity in sharing videos that are nothing short of wonderful. You do make it look easy . In this challenging world right now thank you for your kindness . Kind regards
    Avril (in lockdown… Victoria.Australia)

  11. Suzanne Linch on August 19, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Anna, Another wonderful demonstration, thank you.
    Feathers always look so complicated, not now tho

  12. Julia on August 20, 2020 at 12:45 am

    These would make great bookmarks. I think I will paint dozens for gifts. Great video.

  13. Vivian on August 20, 2020 at 2:04 am

    Hi Anna Mason, I like this video very much.. Thank you so much!

  14. Jackie bufton on August 20, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    Hello Anna, I trembled at the thought of all the tiny detail in feathers and so have never tried. You made it look much easier than I thought, so I will hit it a go.
    Thankyou for sharing with us.

  15. Naila Antonijevic on September 14, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Hi Anna l love your demos on you tube
    and l find them really inspiring, l had a stroke a few years ago so its been really
    helpful to have your useful tips.
    Keep up the good work and l look forward to more of your inspirational you
    Tube channels.

  16. judy mckinley on February 18, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    subscribe to blog – thanks!

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