Value is more important than color. As you learn to master watercolor, try painting with just one color to create a monochrome value study. Test the color before you start and choose a one that will allow you to push to a rich dark value. Print out this worksheet and use it to build up layers of value from light to dark. Let each layer dry completely between steps. This drawing is based on a photograph by Vivek Khanzode from birdpixel.com.
Click on the first image to start a step-by-step slideshow.
Start with a crisp line drawing of the bird.
Mix your paint into a light wash, test it on the side of the paper to make sure it is not too dark or watery (we want to avoid puddles on the page).
Once the shadow is dry, paint the mid value of the yellow makings on the head
Now add darker paint un the scapulars, wings, tail, legs, and beak.
Punch in the dark values. If you let the previous layers dry you can achieve crisp edges and lines.
Add detail, here enhancing the wing (tips of the feathers and feather edges) and drybrush details on the throat.
Suggest background foliage with wet-in-wet application of paint. Note that the background is darker against the breast and lighter against the back and beak. This is not an accident. I think “light against dark and dark against light” as I work.