3 Little Birds with Colored Pencils: Hummingbird with Luminance Colored Pencils

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Lesson Description

In this lesson series, we’ll create a colored pencil drawing of a hummingbird with Caran D'Ache Luminance colored pencils on black Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper.

Lesson 1 - Materials and Sketching

In lesson one, we'll review the materials used for this lesson series and create a sketch of the body.

Lesson 2 - The Head

In lesson two, we'll begin layering colored pencil applications to develop the head and upper portion of the body.

Lesson 3 - The Wings and Lower Body

In lesson three, we'll develop the wings and lower body of the hummingbird. We'll begin to pull out and accentuate a complementary color scheme of red and green.

Lesson 4 - Tail Feather and Finishing

In lesson four, we'll develop the tail feather and add a few finishing touches to complete the drawing.

Lesson Materials

  • Caran D'Ache Luminance Colored Pencils
  • Black Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper

Lesson Resources

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Reference Image

Finished Drawing

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Lesson Discussion

  1. A friend gave me a black sketchbook as a gift. I was looking for some ideas on a black background. An here we go: I instantly fell in love with this little bird on black paper. Wonderful explained, step by step. I am still not happy with my result (ha, ha), but this is a part of the learning curve. I will try again. Thank you very much, Matt. Claudia

  2. Thanks Matt. That was amazing experience. I’ve never done anything on black medium but I’m really happy how it looks. I’m afraid I need to think about stronger/better tools than my coloured pencils because I could not achieve such great contrasts. But You encouraged me to make more experiments with this medium.

  3. MATT

    I am really puzzled with the reference photo for the humming bird in this series of three birds. It is the least clear of any of yours. One cannot discern any of the details of the wings, especially the ends.

    • Hi Ed,

      This is likely due to the fact that the values are similar at the ends of the wings and they are in motion (blurry). Sometimes we can’t see every tiny detail – that’s when we can get creative.

  4. I am really enjoying your three little birds course but I wondered if it was possible to create something that would show me the colour you are using so I might be able to find a comparable colour in my supply of coloured pencils. I have a large supply of Derwent both coloursoft and procolour. The price of the Caran D’Ache is a bit prohibitive.

  5. Just an add on to my earlier comment. I discovered that I could get colour charts for the different companies online and have them printed for easy reference. Hope this idea helps others but it is probably what you would have told me anyways.

  6. I’m just getting into colored pencil. The pencils and papers that you suggest are a bit pricey. Are there comparable papers and Pencils that I could start out with ?

  7. Completed all three birds and I am DELIGHTED, but sorry this course has ended. Worth every penny!!! Can’t wait to explore the other opportunities you offer here. Thank you — great presentation.

  8. I just finished the hummingbird – a lot of fun and a great way to learn to use my pencils. For once I drew my sketch big enough to be able to see and draw the detail – yeah! I am forever making my initial sketches too small. The step by step guide and gentle pace along with the ability to pause the video and zoom in on the photo really make this a terrific way to understand what is going on as the drawing develops and follow the process. But Matt – what happened to its foot? I had sketched it in but ended up erasing it because you did not include it in the final drawing. Was this deliberate because it would not translate well?

  9. Thank you Matt you have an amazing ability to simplify the complicated knowledge, I ask at the end of lesson the drawing looks dull but in the resources the drawing is very nice what you did ?

    • Hi Mohamed,

      On film (or video) colors and values can be a little washed out. When the work is finished, I can photograph the art and adjust the values so that they more closely match the original artwork.

  10. Hello Mat. Please could you give me the names equivalent of the Caran d’Ache colours and Prismacolor pencils to use.
    Thank you

  11. i have sent you several messages before in other lessons but never got a reply, i am under the impression you are not often following up the lessons we are doing.
    please help me

    • Hi Christiane,

      I do answer as many comments as I can. We have 16 courses presently and over 43,000 members. Sometimes, a comment or two does slip by. Please understand that this is not one on one instruction but I do my best to address questions, here, on YouTube and through email. From what I can see, you asked “What course should you take next?” on one course page. This is going to be different for every user depending on what you want to learn. You also asked “Is it ok to draw a line before drawing the cups.” – Absolutely. You should always do what what works best for you. A few minutes ago, you asked, “Please could you give me the names equivalent of the Caran d’Ache colours and Prismacolor pencils to use.” These are different brands and the colors will not match exactly. It’s best to try a match the colors that you observe with what you have. I should also point out that this particular lesson uses Luminance Pencils by Caran D’Ache – not Prismacolor. These colors will be different as well.

  12. Really enjoyed doing the Kingfisher… I don’t have access to the same brand of paper, had to use Canson Bristol… I can see a difference in the way the Prismacolor pencils look on the video using Strathmore paper… however the end result is the same… framed it and gave it to my daughter for her birthday… making her smile was well worth it! Some friends saw it and I’ve been asked to draw some illustrations for a children’s book…. it doesn’t get any better than that, so thanks Matt for the inspiration to believe I can do it and the instruction on techniques that I knew nothing about before.

  13. I LOVED this course!! I have been doing the Colored Pencil Course, and breaking it up with these birds. I did the Kingfisher first, then the Hummingbird, and finally the Blue Jay. The Kingfisher was fun in layering directional strokes in contrasting colors, and the Hummingbird on black paper with the Luminance was a completely unique experience. I am glad I saved the Blue Jay for last, because it was the most detailed and challenging for me. The-oil based Faber Castell were a revelation. It was really interesting layering the lighter colors on top. I tend to use a heavy hand filling the tooth, so getting experience with different pencils and surfaces is helping me to modulate my approach based on the needs of the individual drawing. What a wonderful course!!!

  14. Hi I’m new and wanted to know is it ok to use substitute pencils for the Caran D’Ache Luminance Colored Pencils as they are way out of my budget.

    • Hi Kim,

      You can use any brand of pencils that you wish. Keep in mind that they may behave differently from the colored pencils used in this lesson.

    • Hi Tigran,

      Perhaps you’ll notice that on film, the black paper appears gray. This is due to lighting and the fact that the camera doesn’t always capture the blackness of the paper. Almost every work of art that is created must be corrected in Photoshop after the drawing is complete. This drawing is no different. It is not cheating – the finished drawing does look great. Do a quick image search online for any famous work of art. You’ll notice that almost every representation of that work is slightly different regarding colors and contrast. This again is due to cameras and editing the photos for reproduction.

  15. Matt, you’re amazing! I don’t know how you manage to be as attentive to all these courses and comments as you are. I figure if I need to know something and, for whatever reason, you can’t respond, there is a wealth of information available on the WWW. If I don’t find an acceptable answer there, I can always come back and ask my question of you again. You’re only one person with the best art instruction website I’ve ever seen. I have learned so much from you and also by experimentation on my own after doing tutorials guided by you.

    Recently, I did a bird portrait using pan pastels on pastel mat paper, with Caran d’Ache luminance pencils for the bird. I had just finished the blue jay in the “Three Little Birds” course. I thought I would never get the tooth of the paper filled in the body of the bird! It worked for the blue jay, BUT that lesson was with Polychromos pencils which are oil based and fill the tooth a little better. Caran d’ache Luminance are wax-based and just perform differently from the polychromos pencils. These are lessons that will stick with me forever because I actually figured it out for myself and moved on. I love the portrait I did of the little Australian Fairy Wren, but I know better now to really consider the surface I’m choosing before I start. A little experimentation with the Luminance pencils before I started would have shown me maybe I would get better results with a less toothy surface! I have just ordered some additional Luminance pencils and plan to do the hummingbird drawing before Christmas. I can’t wait!!! I’m obsessed, it seems.

    I love every course I’ve taken (about seven, I believe, since July 2022). I love the live lessons, especially “Karl, The Shop Guy,” and Gettin’ Sketchy on You Tube. Your passion is art and teaching art, and you do a spectacular job of fulfilling what seems to be your purpose in life. Thank you, thank you for everything you offer on The Virtual Instructor. By the way, I also think Ashley is super as well. The two of you have different styles, and that makes for a more interesting and informative experience in my opinion.

  16. I totally enjoyed this lesson open colored pencils. i’ve been looking fr a course on the subject but have been unsuccessful and unsatisfied with the results. This has inspired me to these birds a shot.
    What I’m looking for are courses in portraits with colored pencils. I had one in your other courses. Have any more?
    I was wondering what size tablet do you use? It looked like 16×20?


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