Humming Birds Simplified

hummingbird Lucy Wang tutorial

Hummingbird from a Lucy Wang tutorial

Hi there how are you?

I’m still having lots of fun painting birds, last week I painted lots of kingfisher’s, something I thoroughly enjoyed doing.
On my travels during the week I spotted a tutorial in a watercolour painting book by a lady called Lucy Wang. She was showing how to paint humming birds (almost kingfisher’s right?) they were beautifully simplified so as soon as I returned home I decided to try out painting a few of my own.

The top image is me painting in her style from her tutorial, for this page I used a water brush because I was in a rush to try them out.

Back to kingfishers and trying to paint them in this style, some worked better than others again painted with a water brush. (The first one is very humming-bird shaped).

kingfisher's brush strokes

Kingfisher’s painted with just a few brush strokes

Now I have birds on the brain! I tried a few more humming birds using a #8 round sable brush. In my sketchbook they are about the size of my thumb. I used photos for some whilst the others were more inspired by photos using colours I like.

hummingbirds sitting

Seated hummingbirds

The last set if birds are painted days later trying to remember how I painted the first humming birds, changing up the colours.

three hummingbirds

Three hummingbirds, changing up the colours.

I didn’t buy the watercolour book because it was there were only two pages of interest.  I do love her style of painting though and looked around the interwebs to find any book written by Lucy Wang but unfortunately they seem to be out of print. Maybe she’ll write another one! No matter, I’ll keep an eye out and maybe I will find a second-hand copy, fingers crossed.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

Watercolour Kingfisher Practice

watercolour practice kingfishers

Watercolour practice kingfishers

Hi there how are you?

This week I have been practising painting kingfishers with watercolour. I was trying to take some of the knowledge gained with Chinese brush painting and apply it to these lovely little birds.

Above are some of the kingfishers painted on various types of watercolour paper (some 100% cotton, some student grade.) using just a few colours.

kingfisher inktober practice

Kingfisher inktober practice

These are little practise kingfishers painted during October (Inktober) they were painted with red and blue ink and finished off with a pentel brush pen. This page was a lot of fun to paint with all of the different poses and positions.

kingfisher birthday card

Kingfisher birthday card

Since I had a birthday card to make this week I thought I would use one of the paintings on the card. It’s matted onto a piece of silver card (not that it shows up well on this photo) and used an embossing folder on the ends, it looks much better in person.

ink painted kingfisher

Ink painted kingfisher

I really enjoyed paining the little birdies last month, and am hoping to paint lots more.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

Peonies and Poppies

watercolour peonies

Watercolour peonies

Hi there how are you?

Still recovering from Inktober and trying to use what I’ve learned in my every day sketching.

Whilst flipping through a Chinese brush painting book I found peonies. I love peonies but had no idea how to approach drawing them. I read through and followed the instructions which gave me an idea of the shapes.

three peonies painted with watercolour

Three peonies painted with watercolour

The way these were painted is inspired by Chinese brush painting but it’s not the way they painted them in the book.

I used a synthetic/sable mix brush for the flowers; my Chinese brushes and sables held too much water for this way of painting, with the synthetic bristles in the mix it held its shape a lot better without holding too much water.


Poppy.  Armistice Day 11th November 2018, 100 years.

I paint the first petal then negative paint all of the other petals around it until it build’s up into the kind of flower I want. Poppies are simpler because they only have four petals, peonies on the other hand have loads which make them a little more difficult but the principle is the same.

wild watercoloured poppies

Lest we forget.


poppies painted with watercolour

Poppies painted with watercolour

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

Inktober 2018 Week 4 Final Week And Thoughts

inktober fish day 29

Inktober floaty fish day 29

Hi there, and welcome, here are the last three paintings for Inktober.

29 – The image above. Three floaty fish. For this painting I followed along with a Youtube video by Henry Li who has an excellent channel filled with tutorials and information about Chinese brush painting.

30 – Panda (below). With just a few brush strokes I had painted a panda, who knew this was even possible?

inktober day 30 panda

Inktober day 30 panda

31 – Iris. I love iris flowers but had no idea how to approach painting them. Two of the books I’m using had different instructions for iris so I mixed them up and used both. I love how this turned out and am definitely going to try this with watercolour.

inktober day 31 iris

Inktober day 31 iris

During October I made some cards, it seemed like a good time to practise Chinese brush painting. They were both painted with watercolour and not ink.
This one was a get well card painted while I was painting little Chinese style birds.

get well card two little birds

A get well card with two little birds

This one was a birthday card painted while I was painting sparrows on a bamboo branch. Both cards were inspired by birds painted in week three.

birthday card with 2 sparrows

A birthday card with two little sparrows


Here’s inktober at a glance, you can see the original blog posts for each week in the links below the image.

inktober 2018 Chinese brush painting

Inktober week 1
Inktober week 2
Inktober week 3
Inktober week 4

I can’t believe just how much I’ve learned this month; this style of painting was completely new to me and I wasn’t even sure I would be able to paint anything post – worthy at all.

Although I posted 31 images (one for each day of the month.) I practised quite a bit each day. I counted all of the paper used throughout the month and found I had used 157 A4 pieces of paper. Yes I know a weird thing to do but it interested me to find out how much practice and how many mistakes (so many) to achieve something I was happy with.

157 practise pages

A little stack of 157 practise pages, I’ll have to find a box to keep them in.

I was using cheap paper and had no problems messing up and starting again, I don’t think I feel quite so free using more expensive paper.

I decided to try Chinese brush painting because
1. It fascinates me to see the skill someone has to make very simple brush strokes into something totally amazing.
2. If I could even learn the basic techniques it would improve my drawing and watercolour painting.
3. I already had the tools to do this style of painting and I would rather learn to use the tools I have than buy shiny new ones. The brushes aren’t best quality but they worked well enough.

Quick summary: I had the most fun Inktober ever learning new skills and techniques. Painting everything from chrysanthemums, birds to irises and has given me the confidence to paint things I wouldn’t have even tried before.
I have lots of ideas now I just need time to paint them all hehehe.

I would like to thank to everyone for the love, support and encouragement this month you’ve all been amazing!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

Inktober 2018 Week 4

inkktober day 22 lotus Inkktober day 22 lotus with black ink.

Hi there, and welcome to week 4 of inktober.

link to  what Inktober is here

If you would like to check out previous weeks
Inktober week 1
Inktober week 2
Inktober week 3

I thought I’d be flagging at this point but I’m still finding this style of painting fascinating.

Starting the week with lotus. I had seen pictures but had no instructions in the books I was using and I really wanted to paint some. I found one or two youtube videos and after watching them a few times then set about painting them.

22 – Black and white lotus flower and leaves. (see above)
23 – I added some colour to this one on the flower. I’m really struggling with the leaves they’re huge.

inkktober day lotus 23 Inkktober day lotus 23

24 – After reading in the books that there should be some sort of insect or bird to bring life to the painting I decided to practice painting bugs, butterflies, dragonflies etc

inktober insects day 24 Inktober insects day 24

25 – A lotus flower leaves and a butterfly, using the insects I had been practising the day before.

inkktober day 25 lotus and a butterfly Inkktober day 25 lotus and a butterfly

26 – Another lotus. I’m still struggling with the leaves so I painted three this time, (I need the practice). I also think that dragonfly could have been a bit bigger,

inkktober day 26 lotus and a dragonfly Inkktober day 26 lotus and a dragonfly

27 – Kingfisher, I love the simplicity of this little guy.

inktober kingfisher day 27 Inktober kingfisher day 27

28 – Fish, I think it’s a goldfish, I gave him some weeds and stones for a little background.

inkober day 28 fish Inkober day 28 fish

Not all of the paintings this week had proper instructions, they were pictures in the books I was using but they turned out pretty well in the end.

Almost there now, just a few days left then it’s all over for another year.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

Inktober 2018 Week 3

Chinese birds on a blossom branch day 15

Inkktober Chinese birds on a blossom branch, Day 15.

Hi there, and welcome to week 3 of inktober.

This week seems to be the week of birds,
15-16  Random birds, the book doesn’t say what kind they are, I suppose you could just change the colours and the shape would work for many little birds.

15 – The birds above were painted on a blossom branch as it gives them a place to perch.
16 – Birds on a line, I was just practising the strokes so instead of the birds floating around in mid-air I painted a quick line underneath to represent the branch.

Chinese birds on a line day 16

Inkktober Chinese birds on a line, day 16.

17-21 Sparrows, these were so much fun to do! I found a picture from The beginner’s guide to painting: Birds and Insects. Judging by the page I have found I definitely need to check this book out.

17 – I painted a small block of birds on a page; they were all in different positions, perfect for adding to other paintings.

Inkktober 9 sparrows day 17

Inkktober 9 sparrows, Day 17.

Then all I needed was something for them to perch on, I picked bamboo with their flexible stems, I thought they would make good perches.

18 – A small part of a bigger picture, this was the only part I liked so I cropped it in the computer.

inktober sparrow day 18

Inktober sparrow, Day 18.

19 – Four sparrows all painted with two tones of ink. It’s all the same ink; I just add more water to dilute it to a paler tone.

sparrows on bamboo in black & Gray ink day 19

Sparrows on bamboo in black & gray ink, Day 19.

20 – Two little sparrows. I’m mixing my inks here and it makes quite a reasonable brown.

sparrows on bamboo day 20

Sparrows on bamboo, Day 20.

21 – Two more sparrows on bamboo. The beauty of having all of these birds in so many positions you can pick one or more and it is a completely different painting.

Inktober sparrows on bamboo, Day 21.

Inktober sparrows on bamboo, Day 21.

I could paint these little sparrows all day long and I have many more practice pieces. I’m also sure that it would be very boring for everybody to see but me hehehe, so I’m going to move on and see what else I can find in my books.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

link to Inktober information here

If you would like to check out previous weeks
Inktober week 1
Inktober week 2


Inktober 2018 Week 2

inkktober day 14 swallows 2

Inkktober day 14 swallows bonus illustration.

Hi there how are you?
I’m continuing on with my Chinese brush painting for Inktober week 2. Week 1 is here

Day 8 & 9 Chrysanthemums – two more to finish the trio from last week, adding more flower heads with each painting.

inktober chrysanthemum day 8

Inktober chrysanthemum day 8

inktober chrysanthemum day 9

Inktober chrysanthemum day 9

Day 10 – 12 Plum blossom – in the book some flower heads are more of an outline but these are the full petal blossoms. I had a lot more trouble painting the branches, it’s quite hard to paint them and make them look organic.

inkktober day 10 plum blossom

Inkktober day 10 plum blossom

inkktober day 11 plum blossom

Inkktober day 11 plum blossom

inkktober day 12 plum blossom

Inkktober day 12 plum blossom

This is the last of the four main exercises all made with either Indian ink or as for the last 5 images sumi-e ink. I’ll spend the rest of the month hopping about the various books doing the exercises that I like the look of and even add a little colour.

Day 13 Chrysanthemum painted in a different style to the others, slightly more realistic, taken from the book by Cheng Yan. Look at that lovely yellow, whoot!

inktober chrysanthemum day 13

Inktober chrysanthemum day 13

Day 14 Sparrows – these sparrows are made out of a few basic strokes, once you get the hang of how to hold the brush they’re not too difficult and they’re loads of fun to paint. There are one or two more birdie positions in the book but I haven’t quite learned how to paint them yet. (Baby steps hehehe ). The bonus illustration at the top of the post is also of some sparrows.

inkktober day 14 swallows 1

Inkktober day 14 swallows 1

Traditionally the colours used in Chinese brush painting are watercolours but since it’s inktober I’m sticking with ink. The colours I have are limited to black – (Indian or sumi-e ink), yellow, blue and red – (pergamano ink), I don’t really like the pergamano ink because it contains a lot of shellac, it stains and if it’s not washed off tools, brushes etc. its stuck there for ever! I need to use it up so that’s what I’m using.

It’s been an interesting week and I feel like I’m learning a lot.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x

Inktober 2018 Week 1

inktober 2018 bamboo

Inktober 2018 bamboo


Hi all, wow are you?

It’s that time of year again, inktober. As I said last week I wasn’t really going to participate this year due to a case of the bleah’s. Then I hit on the idea of doing something completely new to me, Chinese brush painting, I’m so glad I did.

covers of the books I'm using

Here are the covers of the books I’m using.

know very little about this subject so I’m using three library books for reference.
Chinese brush by Jane Evans.
Not a bad book for a beginner – gives stroke direction and basic strokes needed for the first exercises, lots of lovely colour illustrations, some advanced stuff at the back.

Chinese brush painting traditional & contemporary using ink and water-soluble media by Cheng Yan.
A beautiful book with loads of lovely colour illustrations but not a book for beginners.

Sumi~e by Hakuho Hirayama
This book has no bells and whistles, no shiny coloured illustrations, just good basic information on brush strokes and why or where to use them, A very good beginner’s book.

There are four basic seasonal objects from nature to paint called the four honourable gentlemen.
Bamboo (summer)
Chrysanthemum (autumn)
Plum blossom (winter)
Chinese orchid (spring)
For some reason all of the books do these lessons in different orders!? These exercises teach everything you need to know to learn all of the strokes needed for Chinese brush painting.

Top painting is a bonus bamboo – an extra bamboo that was painted but not posted, I quite like it so I put it here.
Days 1-3 Bamboo – a few different arrangements to start off with

day 01 inktober 2018 bamboo

Day 01 inktober 2018 bamboo

day 02 2018 inktober bamboo

Day 02 inktober 2018 bamboo

day 03 inktober 2018 bamboo

Day 03 inktober 2018 bamboo

Days 4-6 Chinese orchids – again some different arrangements

day 04 inktober 2018 orchid

Day 04 inktober 2018 orchid. Light flowers and dark flowers

day 05 inktober 2018 orchid

Day 05 inktober 2018 orchid

day 06 inktober 2018 orchid

Day 06 inktober 2018 orchid

Day 07 Chrysanthemum – so many petals. To be honest though it’s just different lengths of the same stroke so when you’ve learned the stroke it’s not too difficult.

day 07 inktober chrysanthemum

Day 07 inktober chrysanthemum

Traditional paper for Chinese painting is usually rice paper, I don’t have any and reading the books they say any absorbent paper like news print is fine. I’m using a mixture of news print copy paper and some kids drawing paper that I’ve had knocking about for years, they are all very absorbent and I have found the kids drawing paper works very well for the bamboo.

I’m working in black ink at the moment, then once I have learned the brush strokes I’ll think about adding some colour. Chinese brush painting is usually done with watercolour but since it’s inktober I will try to keep it to coloured ink for now and see if I can make it work

It’s fun to take part in this challenge and also a lot of fun checking out other people’s inky efforts. There is a lot of amazing artwork going on around the internets.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x