Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
A beloved subject of art in cultures across the globe, flamingos are easy to watercolor. You only have to consider two main colors: flaming peach and black. The legs have a pink color, and that’s it. Patches of white are woven into the feathers. It takes only a few steps to paint a beautiful watercolor flamingo.
Did you know that flamingos get their distinctive color from a diet of crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, crayfish, etc.)? The color will simply fade if they don’t get to eat their favorite food.
The pink color takes years to emerge. Symbolic translation: No talent can blossom without the effort to nurture and develop it. It is a good point of reference for us artists.
Flamingos are undeniably a potent symbol of romance too. Who hasn’t seen images of intertwined flamingo necks? They mate for life and are excellent parents.
We don’t know why these graceful birds have made a habit of standing on one leg. They even sleep like that. How they keep their balance is anybody’s guess. For this reason, flamingos symbolize balance. So if you are in search of more balance in your life, the flamingo is your totem.
Step 1: Drawing the flamingo
I made a quick sketch of a flamingo and then traced it to draw a clear outline. If you want to use my outline drawing for your watercolor flamingo, join One Tree Art Club | Creative. Go to Buy Me a Coffee. Download, trace, and transfer to watercolor paper. It’s a subscription to get 2-3 outlines per month that go with my tutorials. In any case, there are lots of free outlines for other tutorials in the One Tree Art Club library.
I made a quick sketch of a flamingo and then traced it to draw a clear outline. If you want to Buy Me a Coffee, you can use my outline for your watercolor flamingo painting. Download, trace, and transfer to watercolor paper. It’s a subscription to get 2-3 outline drawings per month that go with my tutorials. In any case, there are lots of free ones in the One Tree Art Club library.
Step 2: Mixing the right flaming peachy watercolor
The peachy color that flamingos sport is not common in watercolor sets. You will have to make it yourself. Mix crimson red, yellow, and white gouache. Experiment with the proportions until you get it right.
Step 3: Watercolor the feathers and legs
Paint part of the bird with plain water. Not too much, but just enough to get a moist surface. Then you can add color. It will distribute evenly.
Wet some paper tissue and roll it into a pointed tip. Soak up the color in an uneven way to mimic the spotty feathers. You can “draw” feathers by moving the tissue paper in one direction.
Complete the whole bird, and paint the pink legs as well. Use tissue paper for the legs too.
Repaint the areas that have a saturated color. Look at the reference photo.
Paint the black part of the beak and feathers. Include the shadow by painting with a highly diluted black.
Step 4: Paint white parts with white gouache
Paint the white parts of the beak. For the feathers, use an almost dry brush with white gouache. It will create feather-like strokes.
Step 5: Watercolor some blue water
Since the bird stands in blue water, we need at least a suggestion of water. Paint with a circular motion to mimic the water rings around the legs.
Step 6: Touch-up with colored pencils
The last effort for the watercolor is to do some touch-ups with colored pencils. What you do is fortify the watercolor, not replace it. Tread with care.
The flamingo watercolor is complete
Yes, that’s it. Enjoy painting your elegant flaming pink flamingo watercolor!
If you wonder about the art material you need for this tutorial, go to my Art Supply Guide.