Painting a Toucan with Acrylic

I had wanted to paint a Toucan for a long time, so it was good when I finally found a reference photo of one that I really liked on unsplash.com by Zdenek Machacek.


So I got one of my 11 by 14 inch canvases and sketched the outline.


The toucan looked a bit off balance to me in this sketch, so I began shifting it upwards so everything didn't appear to be sinking into the bottom of the canvas so much.


You can see in this image(above) that I drew a new outline about an inch upwards from where the beak was previously, and an inch upwards above where the branch had been previously also.


Here I filled everything in with color, including most of the background. It is incredibly rough.


I worked on the background a lot using very little blending, and put more detail around the Toucan's eye as well. The only thing left to do at this point was to finish the feet and then add highlights and some polish to the branch and different parts of the Toucan.


Finished! The highlights on the top of the branch are almost pure white. I didn't think it would look right for the brightness to go up that much, but after looking at the reference photo I realized it would help with contrasting against the background. I had a lot of fun with this one.

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