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How to Paint a Parrot in a Pop Art Style

  • Slide Show

Our lesson on how to paint a parrot in a Pop Art style is a demonstration of the steps involved in creating our parrot painting above. It was created in three distinct stages:

  1. Stage One is drawing the image of the parrot.
  2. Stage Two is creating an abstract background.
  3. Stage Three and final stage is the combining of the image and its background.

The style of our parrot painting was influenced by the art of Andy Warhol and created with gouache (an opaque form of watercolor) and black ink on white paper.

Stage One


Drawing the Parrot: Step 1


Drawing a Parrot: Step 1

Start the parrot with a line drawing in pencil.

THE LINE DRAWING: Stage 1 in our parrot painting is to create a pencil study in line that will assist with the next stage of the work.

TECHNIQUE: Your pencil study should be drawn in line only. Note how the details of the parrot's feathers have been hatched in line.


Drawing the Parrot: Step 2


Drawing a Parrot: Step 2

Paint or ink over the pencil drawing.

THE BRUSH DRAWING: The second step in our parrot drawing is to ink or paint over the pencil study to create a brush drawing.

TECHNIQUE: You can use black Indian ink or any opaque paint applied with a fine sable brush to paint over your pencil study. Alternatively, a black 'brush point' felt pen will do a similar job.


Drawing the Parrot: Step 3


Drawing a Parrot: Step 3

Erase the pencil lines to clean up the image.

ERASING THE ORIGINAL IMAGE: The third step in our parrot drawing is to erase the pencil lines of the original study to leave a clean black and white brush drawing.

TECHNIQUE: Make sure that you give the medium you choose for your brush drawing plenty of time to dry. You may smudge your image if you try to erase the pencil lines too early.

Stage Two


Creating the Background: Step 1


Painting a Parrot: Step 1

Place tracing paper over the image and draw an abstract background.

AN ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Stage 2 in our parrot drawing is to create an abstract background.

TECHNIQUE: A piece of tracing paper was placed over our drawing and an abstract design, that loosely conforms to the shapes of the parrot, was sketched over it.


Creating the Background: Step 2


Drawing a Parrot: Step 1

Trace and transfer the background onto a fresh sheet of paper.

TRANSFERRING THE BACKGROUND: The next step is to transfer the abstract background onto a fresh sheet of white paper.

TECHNIQUE: You transfer the background drawing by using a 'trace and transfer' technique.


Trace and Transfer Technique

  1. On the back of your tracing, draw over the lines of your background design using a soft grade pencil (grade B or 2B).
  2. Place the tracing with the soft grade pencil side down against the surface of a fresh sheet of white paper.
  3. Now draw over the lines on the tracing paper to transfer them onto the white sheet.


Creating the Background: Step 3


Painting a Parrot: Step 3

Paint the abstract background with 'parrot colors'

COLORING THE BACKGROUND: The final step in this stage of our parrot drawing is to paint the abstract background.

TECHNIQUE: The type of paint that we recommend you use is either designers gouache, which can be expensive, or the less expensive tempera discs commonly used in schools. Both these media are capable of creating a flat matt surface which best emphasizes the properties of color and shape. The colors for our background were chosen because they relate to the subject as they are all associated with the natural colors of the parrot's plumage.

Stage Three


Combining the Parrot and its Background: Step 1


Painting a Parrot: Step 4

Trace and transfer the parrot drawing onto the background.

COMBINING THE IMAGE AND BACKGROUND: The final stage in our Pop Art Parrot picture is to transfer the brush drawing from Drawing a Parrot: Step 3 onto the abstract background.

TECHNIQUE: Trace the brush drawing of the parrot and transfer its image onto the background using the 'trace and transfer' method explained earlier. Then by repeating Drawing the Parrot Steps 2 and 3, ink or paint over the transferred pencil drawing. Once it is thoroughly dry, clean up the final image by erasing any pencil marks you can still see.


Combining the Parrot and its Background: Step 2


Painting a Parrot: Step 5

Painting a Parrot in a Pop Art Style - the final image.

THE FINAL IMAGE: Our Painting of a Parrot in a Pop Art Style is a technique that allows you to explore the drawing, shape and color of the subject with a view to rearranging its elements in a vibrant new composition.