How to Paint a Toucan

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Learn how to paint a toucan

Learn how to paint a super easy toucan step by step with acrylic paints! This tutorial will guide you through the process with step by step pictures.

First I’d like to preface by saying: this is one of my earliest paintings of this blog! That means the pictures are, well, kind of not the greatest! I really didn’t know what I was doing at the time :-p So bare with me! Also there is no video. (sorry!) But…I think this painting is super easy and doesn’t really need a video!


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Directions At  A Glance: 


Step By Step Picture Directions: 

1. Paint the background light green permanent

Using a large flat brush (I used a 1″ flat), paint up and down of light green permanent. I did this wash kind of thinned out with water. Paint the whole canvas. Make sure all your strokes are up and down. 


2. Paint Leaves

I mixed light green permanent with cadmium yellow to make a yellow green color. Use a 1/4″ flat brush (the tip side) to paint a line. This will be the center of the leaf. Then switch to a 1″ round brush to paint individual leaves. To get that inconsistent color, I did not mix the paint all the way on my palette. This sort of swirly color helped the leaves to look like different shades of yellow-green. The leaves should show up against the background but very lightly. If they are not showing up, try adding some darker green into the mix. 

3. Paint A Branch

I mixed burnt sienna with a little it of black. Then I used a 1/4″ flat brush (the tip) to paint two lines to represent the branch. Then I used that same black/brown mix to paint in the branch. Do not mix the color all the way. When you paint, that black/brown mix will create a nice texture for the branch! Then I added cadmium yellow to a cleaned off flat brush. That cadmium yellow was applied at the very top of the branch to create a sort of highlight. Blend the yellow in with the brown for a nice smooth transition. 


4. Draw the toucan with chalk. 

Use chalk to draw the toucan. Follow the steps below for how I drew the bird. (Refer to the step by step drawing guide at the beginning of this tutorial)

5. Use Mars Black to paint to paint the back, tail and beak line next to face. 

I used a medium round brush #3 to paint the toucan black areas. You can pretty much use any brush you fell comfortable with for this part.


6. Use Titanium White and Cadmium Yellow To Paint the Yellow Area

You don’t see it in this picture, but I painted that yellow area with titanium white first and then painted the yellow in. Cadmium yellow medium is kind of translucent so the white blocking out will help make it opaque over that green.

7. Paint the Beak

For the tip, I used cadmium red medium. Then I mixed light green permanent with white to paint the upper part of his beak. The line in the middle was done with cadmium orange. Then I painted the blue area with cerulean. The rest of the bottom was painted with light green permanent. Finally I added a white highlight on top and slightly outlined with mars black.  See the pictures below for the progression!


8. Paint the eye and feet

For the eye, I used a tiny round brush. First paint the entire eye phthalo blue. Then wait for it to dry and paint a small black circle inside the eye. After the black dries, paint a white dot on the upper part of the black. For the feet, I used cerulean and painted a small black line in the middle. 


9. Use chalk to draw more flora fauna

With chalk, I drew bird of paradise, flowers and vines!


10. Paint in the flora fauna

Finally I painted in all the flora fauna! For the bird of paradise, I used dark green permanent, phthalo blue, cadmium orange and a bit of cadmium yellow. The flowers were done with medium magenta, white-yellow in the center and dark green leaves. For the vines I used dark green permanent and black. Then I added yellow highlight next to the vines.

Finished! Share your toucan with us!


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