Tui Bird

Last Sunday, the photographer we used for Lyla’s infant photos reached out to me asking if I or someone I knew could create a drawing of the New Zealand Tui Bird.  I have never seen this beautiful bird before – but I was confident I could create it based on the screenshots she sent me.  This is the photo that inspired me among many:


Sabrina is the photographer at FairChild Portraits here in Kansas City and takes amazing portraits of children.  My sister in law, Bethany, has always taken our photos but she hasn’t taken a lot of infant photos and because she was very pregnant when Lyla was born, I decided to reach out to someone new.  I also wanted a studio session with props and Sabrina was perfect!

Faye - 1 month 6.10

I’m sure now that Faye is born – she’s going to get really great at it! Here’s a picture of Faye that Bethany took, taken two weeks ago, when she turned a month old.  Don’t worry – I got her mom’s permission before posting! She’s so stinkin’ precious! And by the way – I crocheted that blanket she’s laying on! 😀 Sorry for the tangent – back to the TUI BIRD!

Sabrina’s step-mother sews newborn and children’s prop outfits for photography and Sabrina wants to brand the items for selling.  So the purpose of the drawing is for a logo – and I also lettered the name of the logo for her using a black Tombow Dual Brush Marker. I’ve never been asked to draw a picture for branding before so I was really excited about this. Instead of getting paid, we are trading services.  Sabrina will take Lyla’s 6 month photos and I can’t wait!

Tui Boutique Lettering

Isn’t that cute for a name? I love it!

I waited for Lyla for Lyla to fall asleep that night and went to my craftroom and started drawing. I don’t know about you but when I have a thought in mind – I get to working and I try to finish the project ASAP. I don’t like to delay anything.  In fact – it’s killing me that I haven’t finished Lyla’s Christmas stocking yet.  I picked it up to work on it after Lyla was born and my hands and fingers got so numb and tingly from the pregnancy-induced carpel tunnel that I set it down after 5 mins and haven’t tried doing it again since. 😦 My hands have gotten noticeably better but I still feel it in the mornings.  Sorry – another tangent!

Tui Bird 3

I started sketching the bird on some Canson XL watercolor paper. When I was happy with it, I rough sketched it with a permanent marker. The next day while she was napping, I taped it down on my table to prevent warping and started coloring it with some Gansai Tambi paint.

Tui Bird 1

Sabrina wants it really vibrant, so I added some color using Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers.

Tui Bird

I went over the entire thing again with some black to bold up some of the lines to finish it up. I’m really happy with how it turned out! The white feathers around the neck are drawn on with a Sakura Gelly Roll Pen in white. This bird is absolutely stunning in real life – the real photos are amazing! I hope I did it some justice with this watercolor painting.

I took some photos of the process on my phone and here’s a cool collage of the progression:

Tui Bird 4

Thanks for visiting today!


(I need to script out my name for my signature soon!)

6 thoughts on “Tui Bird

  1. Oh, Caly, I am not at all surprised by anything you do and could ever do! What an amazing drawing of this gorgeous bird (God so loves to delight us with such beauty), and I love how you’ve finished him with you watercoloring! And your calligraphy is fabulous! Faye is beautiful, and I love the blanket you crocheted for her! You are so precious! Hugs, sweet friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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