How to Draw & Paint Hummingbirds

By Carol Kory
The hummingbird's bright colors and bold markings provide oppotunities for a dynamic painting.

The World of Hummingbird website has over 350 different species of hummingbirds in its database. This gives an artist a wide variety of shapes and colors to choose from when drawing and painting a hummingbird. Though the features of different species vary greatly, the basic shape of the common hummingbird, with its compact body, triangular wings and long beak, is an easy form to learn and modify for the different breeds.

Draw Your Hummingbird from a Profile View

Get photo references of your hummingbird. You can find examples of different species online or in books. You can even set up a hummingbird feeder and a camera in your backyard to get your own hummingbird photographs.

Draw a circle for the head, and a rounded rectangle, twice the size of the head, for the body. The head will slightly overlap the body at the neck. This is the profile view of your hummingbird.

Draw a rounded, rectangular shape for the front wing, overlapping midway between the neck and the tail of the body, extending from the hummingbird's back, at a slightly elevated angle.

Draw another smaller, triangular wing behind the first, at a slightly more elevated angle than the front wing. The length and width of the wings will depend on the species of hummingbird.

Draw a rounded, elongated trapezoid at the base of the body, to represent the tail. The tail should be roughly one third to one half the size and width of the hummingbird's body. The length of different species tail feathers will vary.

Draw a long, thin, pointed beak extending from the front of the hummingbird's head. The beak will have a slight arc to it.

Add details, such as the separation of feathers on the tail and wings, eyes and lines indicating separation of color between the hummingbird's back, head and stomach.

Paint Your Hummingbird

Set up your palette with the paints that best represent the colors you see on your hummingbird.

Paint the body and head of your bird with a medium-sized brush. Hummingbirds are typically at least two colors, the belly being a separate color from the back and head. Note special markings, color of the beak, highlights and features around the eyes and crown.

With a detail brush, paint the individual wing and tail feathers of your hummingbird. Add a distinct shadow to the long edge of each feather. Note the color of the feathers found on the under wing is usually lighter than the primary feathers and the coverts on the upper wing.

With a fine detail brush, add highlights and texture to your hummingbird's head and body, where the soft down feathers may be dappled. Add a shaded area on the hummingbird's belly, as well as the underside of his head, and highlights on the crown and mantle.

Tip

Draw several sketches of your hummingbird. Then choose the best one to paint.

Warning

You may use several photographs for reference, but copying another artist's work is illegal. To avoid copyright infringement, study hummingbirds until you understand how to drawn them without a reference, or take your own photos.

About the Author

Carol Kory is a freelance writer living in Nashville, Tennessee. Her articles on health and sports can be found on various websites. Kory received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Northern Illinois University in 1999 and has worked in the entertainment, print and publishing industries for more than 10 years.