I fell in love with the wonderful cardinal in snow painting that was posted on Pinterest by Runde’s Room art students and decided to translate it into a cardinals in the snow chalk art tutorial for you!
These cardinals are so bright red, set against a background sky of aqua and blue…they are looking directly at the viewer (you!) while snow is falling on them and the trees they are perched in. I would suggest that you pick out your slender sticks of pastels, this painting is more defined and not easily done with a thick, short stub of a pastel stick.
Cardinals in the Snow Chalk Art Tutorial
Begin by choosing your colors of pastels: brightest red, a rusty orange, bright orange for the beaks and claws, black, medium brown and white for the snow flakes, and your blues and an aqua for the sky. Turn your paper length-wise or diagonally. Pick up your medium brown and let’s get a tree limb for the cardinals to roost on.
Starting at the left side of you paper, about 3/4 the way down from the top of the page, draw a tree limb; make it lumpy and bumpy like tree limbs are…and draw it upwards to almost the top of the page. Don’t worry about other small limbs now, we need to get our cardinals situated on this limb.
The cardinal at the bottom left is the first one that I am going to put on the limb. Take your black pastel and draw an egg-shape, but at the top of the egg, draw a spiky feather for his crown. Go ahead and draw the egg shaped brothers next to him the exact same way with the spiky crown of feathers on each. Now they have to be holding on to the limb with small claw feet, these are just a series of three “w’s.” Their tail feathers are about the same shape was the claws, a longer shape of three feathers. The wings are just mashed up against their sides and I used a darker rusty-orange pastel color on them.
Mixed media, maybe? The cardinals’ faces are a bit difficult to draw with your black pastel…you can manage it if you have a slender or skinny pastel stick with a sharp corner. You are certainly free to use a fine-line magic marker if you wish to draw the faces. Draw an upside-down triangle. At the top of the triangle, draw two circles for the eyes, and a long cigar shaped nose for the beak. LEAVE THE EYES WHITE!! Fill in the rest of the triangle face with your skinny pastel stick, pen, or magic marker, but leave the nose or beak uncolored! Use your bright orange to color the beaks.
Using your bright red, carefully fill in the glorious red color for the feathers! Be as careful as you can, smooth the area with your fingers. When finished with the red, draw the oval-shaped wings down near the bottom of the bird’s body.
Let’s finish the tree limb and branches. Just take your brown and fill out the limb, add some twigs growing out from the top and bottom of the limb. Then the orange is used to make some highlights on the limb.
The sky behind the birds is a bit tricky…you need to use your favorite aqua and icy blues for this winter sky, and carefully draw and smooth the color around the birds…it can be a combination of blue colors, if you like!
Now, it is snowing, so use your white pastel to make SMALL snow flakes! NO snowballs around these beautiful birds! And, add some snow to the tree limb and branches.
Look at your beautiful painting of red cardinals in the snow! What beautiful colors you have chosen to paint them! Be sure to sign your name in the corner of the painting and flip it over and name it and date it. Please show it to your family and friends…it is such at great work of art! And…always remember, you ARE an artist!
More Birds Chalk Pastel Tutorials
Featuring You! You ARE an Artist!
- A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons are here: 100+ Free Art Lessons for All Ages plus the video The Very Few Must Have Supplies for Chalk Pastel Art. A simple set is very affordable. Nana also teaches acrylic lessons.
- The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.
Do you and your artists learn best with a video art tutorial? Find our Bird Video Art Lessons at ChalkPastel.com!
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So, we are wondering…do you think those cute cardinals look like Angry Birds?
-originally published January 2015