Step By Step On How To Airbrush A Parrot

Before starting any project, I would recommend you find a really good, clear photo as a reference to work from. Also, it is good to have the same photo in black and white which will help you with shading your parrot. Apart from this, I have only used a cheep canvas and a small selection of airbrushing paints. I have not used food grade airbrushing colours for this piece and instead used airbrushing acrylics because I am not applying this design to a cake. However it can easily be applied to cake by using water based airbrushing colours instead.


Start by sketching the subject onto the canvas using a light pencil. Once this is done, you can then start to airbrush in the darker areas of the parrots head using a diluted black and white paint mix.

When you are happy with the grey tones you have added, you can then start to add more vibrant colours, such as yellow, blue and green for the feathers.

Hint: It is a really good to have a spare piece of paper to airbrush onto first when mixing colours, so you can clearly see what colour you are about to put on the canvas.


I find it best if you do not focus on one airbrush colour from start to finish. Personally, I tend to only put a few drops into the colour well of the airbrush and when its run out I will move onto another colour and only go back to the other colour only if I need to. By doing this, you are not fixed on one colour and will avoid over working on one section. It is always nice to relook at things with fresh eyes and to under do sections instead of over doing one section of your painting. This will allow the picture to grow with you.

Next, using the blue airbrush colour, I have gone over the pencil lines so I can shade them out later. The same can be done with the yellow tones.

Then, I look at my black and white photograph and added more shading in the areas which needed it. For finishing touches on your parrot, you can add some white to his eye, beak, and around his face. This will really bring your painting to life and make it pop.

Then finally you can start working on the bark and claws of the parrot. To build texture, do small figures of eights for the claws and jagged motions for the bark. This is great to build texture to your work.