How to Paint Cute Whimsical Birds in Watercolor

The eyes have it! Start your whimsical animals with the big googly eyes all the best cute animals have and let your imagination run riot! Get started in whimsy with this easy beginner-friendly tutorial showing you some of the tricks you need to know to get a light and airy feel in your paintings. 

The first trick is to choose the right colors. You have to love them, and they have to make a statement together. So today I’ve picked four colors – Cobalt Blue, Permanent Rose and Quin Gold and Violet, along with my fine liner, and they will make a pretty picture for sure.

For this painting the paper requirements are very flexible. Any paper will work, and I used a piece of Bockingford 140lb cold press (NOT) paper, about 8 x 10 inches in size. I would also recommend papers such as Strathmore, Baohong, Etchr, Bee and Etival for beginners and in fact for anyone who paints a lot of small works.

A sketch of the final painting is available for you to download for free here along with all the sketches for our YouTube videos.

Choosing your colors

For this kind of painting you can select whatever color appeals to you most on any particular day! There is no right or wrong in painting whimsy, as it is just a reflection of your imagination and has little to do with reality.

I used paints from Winsor and Newton and Schmincke for this painting.

Watch the video on YouTube here:

Material Suppliers

I often recommend Jacksons Art for supplies. They are in the UK but their prices are so good it’s worth paying their nominal shipping fee. They also have other interesting features, such as expert-written guides to materials and techniques, an annual competition with a valuable prize, free shipping in the UK for over £75 orders, and very reasonable rates for international orders. Plus they have great discounts. Click on the image below to find out more.

Other materials and equipment from Amazon

I also used a Staedtler pigment liner size 0.01. The link below takes you to sets of 6 pens so the price is not unreasonable. My paper was Bockingford but Strathmore is a good alternative, both very good value and all these are Amazon links. I would go for Cold Press for this particular painting, but it is a matter of taste which you use. Or of course a sketchbook from Etchr or Rubens would be nice too.

Visit our shop to see our selection of mugs with my paintings on them! Great value!


My brush was a Drawell size 14 Golden Round – a very good synthetic brush from Japan. You can order them here: by contacting them direct. The prices are very reasonable and they ship worldwide at minimal cost.

I also often use a brush from ZenArt which you can click below to order. They are an ideal starter set for anyone just building up a collection of good watercolor brushes.


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