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Painting with Kate


Hi, I am Kate and I am an Artist, and I have had many years practice and experience with drawing and painting. I am also training to become a psychologist. Life is pretty busy these days, the same for many of us, so I want to share some of what I do with you in the hope that I inspire something and ignite a spark of creativity in you- that is if you need it!

The purpose of this blog is to give ideas and skills to children and parents alike.

Why not join me and send your photos of the work you have done to:

[email protected]

I can then create an online Art Gallery with your work in. We can show off the lovely things that you budding artists are creating. This is for all who would like to send work in, children and adults. We would love to see what you get up to! Please do share!

I have three children and I have been doing creative things with them for some time. I have been an Art tutor to children and adults and have hosted Art retreats. I sell my work and have done since I was 12. I used to swap Art homework for Maths homework at primary.

Where we live, in West Wales, there are a lot of birds and I just love it. I love the noise of the jackdaws cawing and the sea gulls and their cheeky ways. When I first moved here I was told that the noisiest thing about this place is the birds! And it is true.

So I thought I would start with painting a crow. Choose a crow or another corvid if you wish, such as a jackdaw, raven, rook, jay or magpie. Corvids are very clever birds as you may well know. If you would like to see more about these intelligent birds then have a look here:




I use acrylic inks and I tend to use Daler Rowney as well as Liquitex, these are both really good. If you have some Windsor and Newton black liquid Indian ink that would be good too.

For starters here is a list of what you will need:

1.Paper (preferably watercolour paper so that it is something heavier than your bog standard printer paper- however if that is all you have that will do)

2.Brush or two, a larger and smaller one if you have

3.Reference images of a bird- photos from a book or Google or head out and take some photos yourself

4.Black/dark brown/payne’s grey ink or acrylic or poster paint

5.White ink/white paint if you have it

6.A fineliner pen, or biro, in black preferably

7.Salt – rock salt if you have it or whatever you have to hand

8.Pencil, such as a B or 2B , try not to use 3B- 6B as these are darker and softer pencils, equally best not to use an H as these are harder pencils and both the more soft and the more hard are more difficult to get rid of with a rubber.

9.A rubber if you are using the pencil and want to get rid of pencil lines, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

Practice the shape of the bird first of all, and whether you are a beginner or have quite an eye then try out the shapes first. It’s really rather fun! Use circular motion to get the head shape and more oblong shapes for the body. See the more simplified version that I have coloured in.

So, next you will need to chose the orientation of the birdie. Will it face left or right, will it be portrait or landscape? As in upright or sideways. I have gone for landscape.

Here are links to videos I have made:


Step by step instructions

Draw the bird with pencil , lightly, if possible with not too hard a pencil, preferably a B or 2B, and don’t press too hard.

Use clean water and paint the inside of the bird with water .

Add a drop of ink and watch it flow, this is the really fun part and you may need to practice this bit a lot, or not (it really doesn’t matter.)

Add drops of ink and then try to get some sort of semblance of a shape by using the brush to tease a shape from it. (Use a smaller brush to help with this.)

Paint some brown or green in the space underneath, so that it gives the image some connection to something else, rather than just hanging in space. Of course unless you like it this way, that is perfectly acceptable. There are no hard and fast rules. Have a play and have fun!

Add salt to the brown and green, I have used rock salt as it creates a more definite texture, but use whatever salt you have.

When the bird is dry use a fineliner to go round the edge if you feel it needs it, and add some detail in the way of a few feather like strokes. I am a little impatient and tend to draw with the pen when it is still wet and to be honest I like the effect it gives.

Finally finish off with some paint spatters if you wish. I suggest that you practice on plain paper first as the aim is to get random paint spatters and it is not the easiest thing to master. Leave out this last part if you like your painting as it is. If you watch the first YouTube video listed above, I demonstrate this part right near the end of the video.