Jane Kim: I’m Jane Kim. I’m an artist and a nature lover. I especially love painting birds. There’s so much to discover when you take the time to pay attention to all of the details. And they’re just so beautiful. I’d like to invite you to take my online course all about drawing and painting birds.

In this self-paced course, I will show you my process of drawing and painting birds as they really are. From breaking a bird down into its basic shapes to using hue and value to create the rich colors of birds and getting the texture of feathers just right.

You’ll learn to notice details you may have never seen before, which will make your painting more beautiful, accurate, and special. I hope you’ll join me for this course. I can’t wait to share with you just how fun painting birds can be.

End of transcript

Your Guide to Painting Birds

Join award-winning bird artist and scientific illustrator, Jane Kim, on an artistic journey as she shows you her techniques for drawing and painting birds that fly off the page.

  • Train your eye to see the shapes and proportions of birds
  • Use feather groups to accurately draw birds
  • Practice Jane's 7 Essential Techniques for Painting Birds
  • Follow Jane's lead and create two bird paintings from start to finish!

How to Paint Birds with Jane Kim

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About This Course
  • Lessons inside: 5
  • Topics inside: 21
  • Completion time (estimated): 15 hours
  • Instructional videos: 31
  • Total instructional video time: 12 hours
  • Level: Beginner
  • Categories: Art and Technical Skills, Nature Appreciation
  • Discussion groups to keep you learning
  • Self-paced, no expiration date, 100% online
  • 60-day refund guarantee
Jane Kim painting the Wall of Birds mural
Image: Jeff Szuc
Jane Kim created the Wall of Birds with 243 life-sized bird paintings at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Why I Made This Course

"People ask me all the time—How do you paint such lifelike birds? I’ve trained myself to understand how birds, in all their feathered glory, are put together. I’ve also developed a step-by-step process that gets me from the fear of the blank page to a finished painting. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that making mistakes and figuring out how to start again is all part of the joy of painting. I’ve designed this course to get you familiar with anatomical features key to depicting birds, build your repertoire of painting techniques, and support you as you get paint on the page and explore your own artistic style. I’ve painted thousands of birds, and I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve learned along the way."

Jane Kim—Jane Kim, Course Instructor
Samples of art made in How to Paint Birds course
Image: Mya Thompson
A colorful array of artwork produced by our field testers.

What's Inside

In this course, Jane Kim guides you through her easy-to-follow process of painting birds. To set you up for artistic success, Jane shows you how to identify key feather groups and shares her 7 Essential Bird Painting Techniques to help you build confidence in color, dimension, and feather texture. Then you paint along with Jane, creating your own renditions of a Barn Swallow and a Northern Cardinal. You’ll come away with a colorful array of beautiful art and a storehouse of new skills that you can use to paint any bird. Explore the free preview of course content.



Who This Course is For

This course is designed for a range of artistic skill levels, with a strong emphasis on learning to use the materials and understand bird form. Adventurous beginners, as well as people with previous painting experience, will enjoy Jane’s friendly, step-by-step instruction.

Can I take this course if I don’t have previous art training?

Yes! Jane guides you every step of the way and does not assume that you already know how to paint. About half of our field testers had no art training and came away with beautiful results. If you come with significant art training, you will benefit from Jane’s bird-specific coaching.

Do I have to buy specific supplies?

Jane designed this course with specific supplies in mind. The techniques she introduces will work best if you have the art supplies she recommends, especially the fluid acrylic paint colors from Golden Artist Colors, because your results will be quite different if you use other paints. You have more flexibility with the other art supplies. Explore the full supply guide.


Get a Sneak Peek of What's in the Course

Enjoy a free preview of how Jane teaches, and explore interactive learning tools we've built for this course.

Explore the Free Preview

Course Overview

Lesson 1:
Get Started

Kick off the course by setting up your palette, practicing with your water brushes, and making a color reference card for your paints.

Lesson 2:
How to Draw Birds

Working from macro to micro, learn to see and draw the basic shapes, feather groups, and individual feathers that will bring your paintings to life.

Lesson 3:
Learn Bird Painting Techniques

Practice mark-making and paint mixing, then apply those skills to create a “Bird-in-a-Ball” that lets you focus on color and texture before moving on to the whole bird.

Lesson 4:
How to Paint Birds

From your foundational colors to your “sparkle moment” highlights, paint your Barn Swallow along with Jane, and then work to complete your Northern Cardinal more independently.

Lesson 5:
Keep Up Your Painting Practice

Connect with your fellow learners to share what you’ve created, and get inspired to continue developing your techniques and painting more birds.

pads of artist paper, tape, eraser, paints, palette, brushes
Image: Shayna Muller
Supplies you'll use in this course (for you to purchase at your local art supply store or online retailer).

What Supplies You'll Use (Not Included)

Jane has detailed a set of supplies, for you to purchase separately at your local art supply store or online retailer, that are needed to get the most out of this course.

Explore the full supply guide.


Meet the Course Instructor

Jane Kim
Jane Kim
Founder of Ink Dwell
Jane Kim is a visual artist, science illustrator, and the founder of Ink Dwell, a Bay Area studio that explores the wonders of the natural world. Kim...
Most recent course:
How to Paint Birds with Jane Kim

Hear What Students Have to Say

Jane was enthusiastic, passionate and encouraging. The videos were very helpful and well done for a first-time artist like me."

Painting course student

The course has exceeded my expectations and is so thorough, well-explained, and broken down into doable chunks. I think it's a fantastic course for anyone interested in birds and art; one builds their skills progressively so that by the time we get to the painting of the bird, we've learned a lot about how to work with the medium."

Painting course student

I think Jane Kim did an excellent job explaining the steps she takes to paint the birds. It was very clear and I enjoyed watching her model her process. It was helpful to be able to change speeds and pause when necessarily. I'm very satisfied with this course."

Painting course student

I've taken a number of painting classes over the years, and I believe this is the first time the instructor has taken the time to have us get familiar with the tools and their capabilities to such length before we actually get started on the primary subjects. Although I'm new to water-brushes, I am comfortable with watercolors, acrylics and oils—and I've still learned something new. Good practice!"

Painting course student
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Satisfaction Guarantee

Our educators and birding experts take pride in the courses they create. If you're not satisfied with the material for ANY reason, contact us within 60 days of the start of the course or purchase for a full refund.

Alternative Course Access

Birds can inspire people accross boundaries to build a more sustainable world. At Bird Academy we want to share the love and knowledge of birds! If you would like alternative access to this course, please take a look at our Take Flight Program

This Course is Entirely Online

Bird Academy courses are online, self-paced, and there is no deadline to complete them. You can return to them for reference or practice as often as you want. All course material, instructional videos, interactives, and discussion forums are available through your web browser. Learn anytime, anywhere*. Gain the skills and understanding you’re looking for. Art supplies are not included in the purchase of the course—you can buy them separately at your local art store or online retailer.

*Requires an internet connection and a modern web browser.

Course Instructor: Jane Kim
Course Developers: Marla Coppolino, Jill Leichter, and Laura Helft
Video Producer and Editor: Shayna Muller
Videography: Karen Rodriguez
Second Camera and Sound: Jess Ahearn
Web Designer: Jeff Szuc
Copy Editor: Jill Leichter
Scientific Review: Kevin McGowan
Illustration: Jane Kim
Graphic Design and Additional Visual Elements: Jill Leichter and Marla Coppolino
Web Programmers: Noah Warnke, Adrian Delpha, and Frances Steen
Marketing and Promotion: Bobby Stickel and Katherine Welch
Executive Producers: Laura Helft and Mya Thompson
Special Thanks: Holly Grant, Karen Rodriguez, Bobby Stickel, Mya Thompson, Katherine Welch, Thayer Walker, Catie Michel, Chelsea Roberts, Ryan Sanderson, Ryan Schain, and the Macaulay Library.

Give the Gift of Learning

Gift certificates are a great way to give the bird enthusiasts in your life something that supports and encourages their passion.

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