How to paint a white duck on white paper.

How to paint a white duck on white paper.

As I continue to paint I have become less fussy ( I hope) with backgrounds and I try to describe as much as I can about a subject with as few brushstrokes as possible. I guess it is the same as editing a piece of writing and getting rid of all the words that aren't needed. I want the paintings to get to the essence of the subject.

So when painting a duck on white paper there are a few points that really stand out, the beak, the eye, the feet the rest is about subtle colours and knowing when to stop.

1.Draw the outline of the duck so you know you have the right proportions


2. Now I concentrate on the eye, I love painting eyes and although this is small there are many colours in it.


3. Now the beak, probably the part of the duck that most makes it a duck. I want the light to shine on it's surface so I leave the paper to shine through. I use lots of yellows and oranges as well as burnt sienna 


4. Now I can start on the body, looking for shadows to give the duck shape and lots of colours like cerulean blue and yellow ochre .I want this part to be looser 


5. Then finally the wonderful webbed feet, same colours as the beak, and a few slashes and sploshes , no one wants to see a pristine duck do they?



  • Els v.d. Berge

    bedankt voor de duidelijke uitleg en het prachtige voorbeeld

  • Lois

    Best tutorial ever!

  • Marilyn

    Rachel all of these are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Lauren

    I’ve painted two of these ducks now. One is in my foyer and the other is going to a friend for her new baby. Thank you for this great tutorial!

  • Elsemieke

    I am going to try this. Always avoided painting white objects, most of the time flowers, because I didn’t know how to. Thank you for explaning so clearly.

Leave a comment