How to Paint Seagulls

Written by jensen johansson
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How to Paint Seagulls
A photograph featuring a seagull can be a great inspiration. (seagull image by Earl Robbins from

Seagulls are not difficult to paint. Even an amateur painter can manage a simplified shape of the bird. Use your imagination to visualise the idea -- or use a photograph as inspiration. At later stages try different styles and techniques, but for the beginning a simple sketch will do. As the creator of best seller "Jonathan Livingston Seagull", writer Richard Bach said: "You're never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true."

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Flat brush
  • Liner brush
  • Paint

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  1. 1

    Draw an ellipse to make seagull's body. Use a soft pencil.

  2. 2

    Draw a second ellipse on one end of the bigger ellipse. That will be seagull's head.

  3. 3

    Draw the beak on the smaller ellipse: first a straight line, then two square ones on both sides.

  4. 4

    Draw the wings. Make two rectangles on both sides of the bigger ellipse. Use curved lines rather than straight ones to capture the wings' shapes better.

  5. 5

    Draw upper parts of the wings. Add two triangles to left and right of the rectangles. Again, use curved lines. The rectangles should look like simplified sails.

  6. 6

    Draw feathers as you find fit. Make simple curved lines in triangles and proper parts of the rectangles.

  7. 7

    Add two lines for legs.

  8. 8

    Draw details as your imagination dictates. Draw one or two eyes depending on the angle.

  9. 9

    Paint the sketch: Mix colours: blue, red and white until they get a shady tone.

  10. 10

    Use a flat brush to apply a shady tone to proper parts.

  11. 11

    Paint the beak. Mix yellow and red and add some white until you get proper tone. Apply it with a flat brush.

  12. 12

    Mix white and yellow to add some highlight and apply it with the flat brush around the bird's lower parts.

  13. 13

    Use a liner brush to paint the legs.

Tips and warnings

  • Use oil paints without a sketch. Use the same method; just make blurs instead of sketched shapes.
  • Try different styles. Experiment with shapes and angles. Experiment with colours and techniques.
  • Try markers for rough sketches.
  • Try watercolours for blurry painting.
  • Try ink for better outlines.
  • Try painting the seagull on coloured paper instead of white.

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