How to paint our iconic pheasant with our Designer Kate

kate designer

Whether they’re perched on a pair of our wellies or taking pride of place on our jumpers, we’re rather fond of our feathered pheasant friends. We’re not sure whether it’s their cheeky look or their colourful feathers that we love most but either way, the humble pheasant has quite a special place in our heart.

So much so, in fact, that we asked our designer, Kate, to show us how to paint our very own. Brushes at the ready… let’s paint along!

How to paint a pheasant

You’ll need:

One medium paintbrush and a finer one for the details.

Watercolour/cartridge paper.


Gouache paint (I used the following colours: white, black, mid yellow, yellow ochre, scarlet, burnt umber, burnt sienna, Prussian blue)

kate paint
kate pheasant shape

Step 1. Sketch the shape of your pheasant and choose your colours. I used bright yellows, rich reds and browns and a little bit of tealy blue. I find gouache paints are the best for this type of painting as they’re lovely and opaque.

Step 2. Add a bit of water to some brown paint until it is quite thin and translucent and use this to fill in your shape. This will help guide where the rest of your colours, light and shade will go.

Step 3. In layers, begin adding darker tones to create depth and texture. I find adding a U-shape helps create the pheasant’s big distinctive tail and little repetitive brush strokes on the underside create a lovely fluffy feather-like texture. The great thing about gouache is that you can use a watery wash over the top (like the one you used to fill in the shape) that then dries and adds pops of colour and tone.

kate pheasant outline
kate pheasant more detail

Step 4. Using the darkest of browns, go over and really define the patterns of the feathers. Try adding V-shapes to help define the tail or little U-shapes for the body feathers.

Step 5.  Add some white highlights to create some detail on the feathers (just dab small dots with your brush). This really makes the pheasant come alive and gives a lovely shine to your painting.

landscape pheasant

Step 6. Paint the head blue then use a rich red to cover where the eye will be. Add in some flecks of yellow and white to bring it to life. For the beak, mix a bit of yellow and white together then paint a beak shape where you’d like the beak to go.

Step 7. Next, using a fine bush, paint a little white circle for the eye. Add a little yellow on the edge to create a 3D effect. In the centre of the eye, paint blue circle and add a touch of white on top to make the eye look reflective.

Step 8. Step back and admire your work!

Have we inspired you? We’d love to see your pheasant artwork! Make sure to tag us in your pictures or to use #joules so that we see them.

1 Comment

  • Kathryn Lesley Hodges

    12.02.2021 at 23:17 Reply

    Thanks for sharing , I will have a go at painting this phessant. your art work is lovely. ????

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