A festive feathered friend!

with Anita Pounder

Enjoy some time away from the tinsel and turkey and tackle this fun and colourful step-by-step guide to painting a Christmas robin.


  • SAA Watercolour Practice Paper - NOT

SAA Watercolours

  • Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna
  • Cadmium Orange
  • French Ultramarine
  • Lime Green

SAA Silver Brush

  • Worker size 6

Let's get started...

1. Copy down the image on to the watercolour paper using Tracedown transfer paper. You can print or download the image by clicking here.

2. Wet the breast and head of the Robin with clean water. Then while it's still wet, add a touch of the Cadmium Orange to the middle of the breast and the face.

3. Then add some Cadmium Red from the outside of the breast towards the orange. Keep the colours light as you can always add more colour later.

4. While this is drying, paint the box with Cadmium Red varying the wash to add shape to the box.

5. Now apply some Burnt Sienna to the top of the head, the wings and the tail.

6. Paint the ribbon with the Lime Green, again varying the strength of the colour to give the ribbon some definition. Using a light mix of French Ultramarine and Paynes Grey, paint the underneath grey parts of the body below the breast.

7. Now you can start to add stronger colour for the final touches to the painting.

Using Paynes Grey, paint the beak and eyes – leaving a little touch of white to add sparkle in the eye. Strengthen the colours on the breast and face, and add a stronger mix of Burnt Sienna to the wings and tail. Mix a little French Ultramarine to the Lime Green to paint the inside of the Ribbon. Add some shadow under the rim of the box.


Feel free to add any other final touches and highlights but try not to fiddle too much - the beauty of this painting lies in its simplicity after all. I hope that you enjoyed the project and that it's provided a little festive cheer. Merry Christmas from everyone at the SAA.