How To Paint A Flamingo
Learn how to paint a pink flamingo on a beach with acrylic paints! This step by step painting tutorial will guide you through the steps on how to paint an easy and simple beach background. Then I will show you how to trace or draw a flamingo and render it in with just the right shades of pink!
This painting is a great one you can do with the kids. It also makes a great paint party painting because of how simple it is. Enjoy and happy painting artists!
Okay…before I continue I have to admit something! There’s a “flaw” in the way I originally did the flamingo’s leg. The knee (actually it’s technically an ankle) is supposed to be backwards and I “originally” did it forwards. I painted over it in the first image of this post.
Other Fun Summer Paintings:
- 11″ x 14″ Canvas (This design can work on any size. I also did it in an 8 x 10 and it looks adorable!)
- Acrylic Paint
- Quinacridone Magenta (Dark Pink)
- Medium Magenta (Medium Pink)
- Titanium White
- Mars Black
- Cerulean Blue
- Bright Aqua Green
- Unbleached Titanium (Sandy/ Natural color. If you don’t have unbleached titanium, you can mix white with a little bit of yellow and brown)
- Hooker’s Green (Dark Green)
- Light Green Parmanent
- Paint Brushes
- 1″ Flat (or 3/4″ flat)
- 1/2″ Flat (or #12 bright)
- 1/4″ Angle (or flat if you don’t have angle)
- #0 Round (Or your tiniest round brush)
- Graphite Paper
How To Draw The Flamingo:
If you aren’t using the traceable, drawing the flamingo is simple! Make sure you do all the background first before drawing the flamingo.
*Note: the bent leg should be going the other direction. I did not update this on the traceable. To get the PDF, go to the PDF library.I haven’t done this yet but if you paint the beach horizontally instead of vertically, you can add smaller flamingos! Or you can get creative and use this traceable in whatever way you’d like!
Directions At A Glance:
Step By Step Directions:
1. Trace The Horizon Line
Using a ruler, trace the horizon line 1/3 of the way down from the canvas. (The canvas is vertical facing). Since this is 14″ high, I approximated my horizon line 4.5″ down.
2. Paint The Sky Cerulean Blue and White
Use a one inch flat brush (or any large flat brush) to paint the sky. Start with cerulean blue and paint a solid line at the very top. Paint long horizontal strokes. Then gradually add white into the cerulean blue and blend it on the canvas. The sky should be pure cerulean at the top and it fades to a white-blue. The horizon line is a very light blue, almost white.
3. Paint the Ocean Bright Aqua Green
Next I painted about 2-3 inches down the ocean with pure bright aqua green. Paint long horizontal strokes. Then as you get closer to the bottom, add in white. This is the same ombre blending technique I did with the sky, only with bright aqua green.
4. Paint The Shore Line
At some point I used my brush to define the shore line where the waves meet the sand. Simply paint a long wavy line with the aqua green and white that is already on your brush.
5. Paint White & Bright Aqua Green
Continue to blend the white with the bright aqua green as you paint down to the shore line. Essentially, the color will eventually turn very very light turquoise. Then go back and define that horizon line with a ruler. I like a nice crisp horizon line!
6. Paint the Sand Unbleached Titanium White
Using that same one inch flat, I pretty much filled in the rest of the area under the shore line with a solid coat of unbleached titanium white. Make sure that your strokes are still going horizontal here! I did leave a little bit of gap between the shore line and the sand. This isn’t necessary but it did help with the next step of painting the soft white waves.
7. Paint The White Shore Line Waves
I switched to a smaller 1/2″ flat brush here! Paint a thick white line that overlaps both the edge of the water and the sand. Then add a little bit more white in the water.
8. Trace or Draw The Flamingo
Next I traced the flamingo on the canvas using graphite paper and the printout of the traceable. Before you print this out, you will need to enlarge it about 10% and have it print on two papers taped together. OR you can print it out on a standard size computer paper and the flamingo will be shorter. Click here for more instructions about changing your printer settings. You can also hand draw the flamingo in too!
9. Paint a base coat of white on the flamingo.
I used a 1/2″ flat brush for this step. Paint the entire flamingo white. Make sure your strokes go with the shape of the flamingo. This gives it the “painting look” and not the “coloring book look”. See the pictures below how the flow of the strokes contour with the shape.
10. Paint The Next Layer Medium Magenta
You don’t need to wait for the white to dry all the way. In fact, it will work in our favor to have this next pink layer blend with it a bit. Paint medium magenta over the white. Again, very important, make sure your strokes go with the flow of the shape of the flamingo.
11. Add in dark areas of Quinacridone Magenta
Next I painted some areas on the neck, side feather and tail feather. Use the tip of your brush to get a thinner stroke. Let that quinacridone magenta blend with the medium magenta.
12. Add More Medium Magenta
Next I painted another coat of medium magenta pretty much over the entire flamingo. Keep that color inconsistent throughout. Make sure your strokes go with the contour of the flamingo. Emphasize his side feather and tail feather to be darker.
13. Add Areas of White And Then Paint the Beak
Completely clean your brush off. Add in areas of white on the flamingo. I did this on this back specifically. I think the style of this flamingo is not supposed to be realism but rather kind of abstract. For the nose tip, I used a small #0 round brush and mars black.
14. Paint The Eye and Legs
The eye is just a dot of black. Use that tiny #0 brush to paint it. Then for the legs, I mixed equal parts pink and white with a tiny bit of black. It makes this gray-pink color. Use that tiny #0 rush to paint the legs in. NOTE: The legs are supposed to be opposite of what the photo shows below (bending backwards instead of forwards). Then paint a black line on the far right of the legs.
15. Paint The Rest Of The Beak
The rest of his beak was painted in white. Then I added just a tiny slither of white highlight on the black area. Still using that tiny #0 brush!
16. Paint in Some More Quinacridone Magenta
Then I switched to a 1/4″ flat brush. I wanted to add some more coats of color to the flamingo. I added some more quinacridone magenta to the tail and wing feathers.
17. Paint The Pink Portion of His Beak
Instead of leaving it white, I painted the white portion of this beak with medium magenta mixed with a lot of white to make a very light pink.
18. Paint More White On The Flamingo
I think adding white made the flamingo really pop here. I added white on the top part of this head and blended it in with the rest of the pink. Then I also added some white on his tail feathers, side feathers, back and neck. The direction of the strokes really gives the illusion of feathers. I used a 1/4″ flat for this.
19. Paint The Palm Tree Branches
Mix hooker’s green with a little bit of black to make a very dark green. Use a 1/4″ angle brush to paint the center line of the palm. Using an angle brush will allow you to get a very crisp line. If you aren’t comfortable using angle brushes, you can also do this with a round brush. Then using that same angle brush, paint the individual palm lines with hooker’s green. I like to start my palm lines from the tip and work my way up. Do this with both palm lines.
Middle line is hooker’s green and black. Palm lines are hooker’s green.
20. Add some color variation in the palms
Then I mixed light green permanent with white (equal parts). Using that light green, I painted more palm lines directly next to the ones that were already painted. I only did this on the left of the palm. This gives variation to the color almost like you are painting highlights. Then on the right side of the palm branch, I painted hooker’s green mixed with black.