How to paint a crow

How to paint a crow

It seems strange to think that this time last week I was in sunny Cornwall, trying my best to paint seascapes. This week has been a roller coaster ride , getting back into my life as an artist here in Devon.

I am getting back into normal life, Dan my eldest celebrated his 18th birthday, Eliza my youngest has her prom tonight, I am busy posting things here and there as well as trying to complete commissions and getting the washing done!

I must say there are few nicer places to return to than my little corner of Mid Devon 

I knew the shortlist for the Wildlife Artist of the Year would be announced in June sometime , I just didn't know when, so I have been nervously checking my inbox for news. I submitted a few pieces...including this a circus of puffins...

But it was my crow that made it this year, I have no idea, which one will ( if any) get in but I am so thrilled when one does.


So I am fascinated by these intelligent, and in my opinion beautiful birds. I have always wanted to paint them, but they do pose a challenge as if you paint them in all one colour they will look flat and dull. Here is my process for painting a crow, a different one than the one in the competition but still a crow. I never use black either so quite a challenge when painting a black subject

So here's how I painted mine.

Firstly I sketched out a crow.

Then I painted his eye, I love this bit, really concentrating on the detail. If you want to see how I paint eyes then do check out some of my other blogs. 

Now a bit of fun, lots of wet in wet, cerulean blue and paynes grey, and let the paint work it's magic., See where the light hits the feathers.

Now I began on the beak, attention to detail, see where there is light and use your best brushes, that come to the finest points for this part.

Now I am chasing the watercolour, lots of water, lots of blues and purples, then nice rich tones of paynes grey. Some places need a much stronger concentration of colour to indicate the feathers. When parts are drying add marks to suggest the pattern of the feathers


Then I sprinkled a little salt for even more texture.

Let that dry and go in with some more darks.

Then back to detail as I painted the feet

And finally as I didn't want to spoil my painting, I added a branch in pencil . Hope fully a colourful crow , that you know is black really.




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Thanks a lot. i did this one yesterday evening.So nice!


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Your art is so beautiful and I love how you share. Talented artist and poet as well. You are amazing. TY

Rachael Bauer

Thank you for the wonderful detail on how you did this painting!!

Kathleen T Darnell

Beautiful I love painting crows and magpies I usually stick to paynes grey but now I know from this blog I can get good effects from other colours I will give it a go 🙂

Diane Hayward

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