Hummingbird illustration painting process

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Hummingbird illustration step by step

I thought I’d share a little bit of my illustration process. This hummingbird gouache painting is a surface pattern element for silk scarves. I’ll take you along on my art journey and post as I complete each step.Hummingbird watercolor illustration, Halifax artist Genevieve Kelly

  1. The first step is research. I look up images of hummingbirds. I try to find as many angles as possible to get a clear view of what the bird looks like and the coloration.
  2. I combine the sources of bird imagery into one element. I often use disparate photos and combine elements of each for a new composition.
  3. I draw a light sketch of the bird with pencil.
  4. I custom blend gouache for the bottom, darker base colors. I gradually layer the lighter colors on top (this pushes the light forward).
  5. I fill in the main areas with a general color, and add the more refined gradations of hue and light and dark. As I work, I layer detail on top of the base color field.
  6. I mix various hues of the same color for variety. Color is never flat, uniform and one-dimensional. Consider reflections and shadows and the impact of surroundings.
  7. Further refinement of detail, adding dark and light brushwork and finishing touches.
  8. I scan the artwork into my computer at high resolution (at least 350 DPI) and color correct the illustration, often bumping up the contrast and colors slightly.
  9. In most cases I do each illustration as stand-alone pieces and digitally combine the elements into one composition. This allows me to play with layouts and elements. I can also reuse each element to create very different end results by digital retouching in Photoshop for greater creative possibilities. This allows me to make each image suit the product application, be that a silk scarf, and iPad case, or on packaging.

I’m at the painting stage. I’ll be posting updates as I move along toward the finished illustration, set up digital elements and create the repeating pattern. Finally, I look forward to sharing the final product and showing you what this painting looks like on the finished fabric.
Bird painting in progress Hummingbird illustration process Hummingbird illustration painting Hummingbird illustration painting

Wall Art

Here is the final framed wall art, available at my Society 6 shop.

Scoiety 6 framed fine art print lavender hummingbird illustration

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