- 1). Browse the Internet for various images of golden eagles. This will not only give you an idea of how the bird moves, but also show you how light affects a golden eagle's coloring. Bird feathers appear in two ways: local and apparent. The local coloring is the actual color of the feathers. Apparent colors are the result of light and shadows on the feathers. In the case of golden eagles, light can make the dark brown feathers on the bird's body appear golden.
- 2). Roughly sketch out your planned image. Rather than starting on the canvas, draw a few sketches ahead of time to help you plan out how you want the eagle to appear. Try drawing the bird from different angles, in flight and stationary. Pay special attention to the eagle's beak and feet since these two features help give eagles their distinctive look.
- 3). Lightly outline your planned painting on the canvas. The details will come during the painting process, but it's a good idea to give your painting a skeleton you can build on.
- 4). Prepare your paints. This step will differ depending on what types of paint you're using because oil, acrylic and water paints require different preparation techniques. The main colors you'll need are black, yellow, white and dark and golden browns in hues that match a golden eagle's coloring.
- 5). Paint the darker undertones first. Images are built up over many layers with more details being added on each consecutive layer. The eyes, beak and feet of the eagle can be painted in their entirety first since those body parts aren't as affected by the light as feathers are.
- 6). Use your reference images to help create the pattern that the feathers fall in. The shape, size and appearance of the feathers will differ greatly throughout the eagle. Tail and wingtip feathers on a golden eagle are very long and sleek and become much smaller and oval-shaped on the body. The one exception to this is the neck where the eagle's feathers are very pointed and appear to spike outwards when the eagle is in certain positions. The feathers on a golden eagle's legs are much rougher around the edges, especially close to the feet.
- 7). Touch up your image so that all of the components fit together. All of the parts of a golden eagle flow together seamlessly and your painting should do the same thing.