How to Paint a Tropical Toucan: An Easy Tutorial For Beginners

In this beginners painting tutorial, we will show you how to create a vibrant toucan from South America! With a few acrylic paints, we will help you create this beautiful piece! So if you want to learn how you can make this painting, read on ahead as we guide you through the tutorial!

Step 1: Ready your paints and accessories! 

If you’re just starting out and haven’t gotten any materials yet we suggest you come to visit your local paint store! If you want to change up your background, you may do so but we suggest you pick out something that’s bright to contrast your black toucan!

Here are the things you will need for this painting tutorial:

  • Canvas of your desired size
  • Acrylic Paint in the colours: Background colour of your choice Crimson Red, Medium Magenta, Titanium White, Mars Black, Medium yellow, Sky Blue, Yellow Green. Burnt Umber
  • Pencil
  • Cup with Water
  • Paper Towels or Rag
  • Brushes of varied sizes
  • Palette or Paper Plate

Once you’re done with that, it’s time to move on to the next step!

Step 2: Paint the background!

You can get creative with the colour of your background! Create a gradient by using three base colours, your darkest, your lighter, and white. Use your darker colour first to paint the top part of your canvas, paint this dark colour ⅓ of your canvas, then use the lighter shade to paint the middle. Make sure you blend the two colours well to create a nice transition in the middle, and lastly, use titanium white on the bottom and blend this with the second colour as well.

Step 3: Create your Toucan!

Using your pencil, create the outline of your toucan. You can use a reference photo for this part, draw your toucan so it looks like it’s standing on a branch, you may add more details later. 

With your medium yellow, add some titanium white and mix it to create a lighter colour. Use this new colour to paint the chest area of your toucan. Paint around the eye and head but make sure to leave some space for the black and the eyes!

Add some black to your palette and paint the rest of the body with the black colour as well as its tail, and eyes. 

Use the Crimson red to paint the tip of its beak in a curvy shape. Use the yellow you’ve mixed before and paint it the halfway of the upper beak, use your light green paint and mix it with the yellow, and paint it on the base of the upper beak where it will meet the yellow. Rinse your brush and use your sky blue to paint the bottom part of the beak! Create an orange colour by mixing crimson red, and yellow. Then line the beak with the orange colour. Add a small dot on the eye using your white to create a highlight. 

Paint the legs with some sky blue and add black to your blue to create a shadow.

Step 4: Paint other details!

Use your burnt umber to paint on the branch, you can create wavy-like strokes to create texture in the branch itself. Use some white to add highlights on the branch and black to create shadows on the branch. Then create leaves and vines and don’t be afraid to paint over some areas! 

And you’re done! If you want to add more details that’s totally up to you! We hope you liked this easy-to-follow tutorial on how to paint a toucan, if you liked this tutorial you should totally check out our other step-by-step painting tutorials on our how-to page!