The Painted Pukeko

I just realised that I haven’t actually given a proper explanation to what I am doing as a project for my final year, how silly of me.

I am designing a board game themed around New Zealand conservation efforts. Hence the character designs for some of New Zealand’s Native animals and the pests that threaten them. I am still in the early stages of character design, inventing the board game method and designing a board/pieces/cards etc. But I will keep you posted with updates on how the game is looking and progressing.

Right, cool. Now we are hopefully all on the same page, back to the actual topic of the blog.

After a few weeks of sketching characters, I decided this week I’d like to try painting them because it has been too long since I last painted it and I was kind of missing it you know?

So anyway,  the subject for my play with paint is this happy fellow! Yep, he’s a Pukeko, firmly my favourite New Zealand bird.


And here is the painted result. I used acrylic paint and small-ish brushes. It isn’t the best paintwork, I think I’m a little rusty… it just means I have to paint more often… still, I can think of worse ways to spend time than painting.


As I am dabbling in the digital side of Art and Design this year, my tutor convinced me to get onto Adobe Illustrator and try to become more accustomed to using digital software. I did try painting my initial sketch using illustrator but believe me, you do not want to see the result, for the time being and for this project I will rely on my skills with an old-school paint brush and real paint. Though I would like to learn the digital way on the side.

So the final image I have for you is my attempts at editing the painted Pukeko on Illustrator using the high resolution photo tracing tool and the pencil tool.


I think the Pukeko needs a name too, he is to be a feature in my whole project after all. Any suggestions are welcome.


5 thoughts on “The Painted Pukeko

  1. Well the digital Pukeko looks good enough to. In fact if you have some kind of blur layer on it, I think it would look very close to scanned one. It is just sharper, with more contrast I think. Maybe the leg doesn’t have as much detail. But then with digital I guess we need to create all the exact detail that we want while hand drawn it just happens naturally!

    By the way since Adobe Illustrator is also just a vector graphics tool, you might try Inkscape, which is free, to save on licensing fees year on year. Not sure how different they are. I just recently started using Inkscape for my cartoons. But since you have tried Illustrator, you will be able to tell if it is as good or not.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I decided to play to my strengths for this project and paint all the characters by hand but experimentation is on the cards to develop my digital skills.

      I’ll definitely give Inkscape a try, the fact that it’s free is already making it sound good.

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