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How to Colour a Gold Feather

I have a video tutorial of this which you can find at the bottom of this page, but for those that prefer a step by step method with photos, I have produced this guide. The feather I have chosen is from Miniature Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford but the method will apply to other feathers too. I am using Faber Castell Polychromos pencils but you can substitute with any other brand you just need to have similar shades of colour. The pencils I use are – 

280 – Burnt Umber
182 – Brown Ochre
268 – Green Gold
183 – Light Yellow Ochre
185 – Naples Yellow
105 – Light Cadmium Yellow

Start with the darkest colour, the burnt umber and put a line around the outside of the feather and the very inside against the centre part as well as the inside and tips of the lose parts at the bottom, as shown in the photo below. 

Then take the next lightest shade, which in this case is the brown ochre and go over the top of that colour and extend the colour out towards the centre in both directions. Press harder and put two layers on top of the darker colour and reduce the pressure as you spread the colour towards the centre so that it is easier for that colour to blend into the next as shown below.

Do the same with the green gold colour, but only cover the area of lighter brown, do not go right over the burnt umber. 

Repeat with the light yellow ochre but at this point see how space you have left to fill and extend your area of yellow so there is a similar white space left on each side of the feather. 

Add a thin layer of naples yellow, making sure that you still leave a white gap as we need some white showing at the end. 

Use the light cadmium yellow to close the gap so there is only a very small amount of white showing and also go over all of the rest of the colour so that it brightens and blends it. 

Lastly, complete the centre of the feather using a mid cold grey colour, I used the polychromos cold grey III. To give it some texture and interest I press harder at the two ends and reduce the pressure in the centre. You can always use a darker shade to emphasise this more if you want to. 

If you wish to buy any of the resources used in this tutorial you can find them here:

  • Miniature Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford from Amazon
  • Faber- Castell Polychromos from Jackson’s Art
  • Staedtler Noris Club Sharpener from Amazon

If you would like to watch the video tutorial here it is –