Black Indian Runner Duck Illustration Commission

Black Indian Runner Duck Illustration Commission – 30x42cms – Watercolour – SOLD

Its the strangest story and I love it… but lets make a long and highly amusing, absurd story as to how this commission came about and focus on the journey of a fantastic new artwork journey. The subject, a black Indian Runner Duck portrait. Its funny, quirky, beautiful and so much fun! Whoever knew a duck, a black duck at a glance, could be this beautiful? Well, thats Mother Natures way isnt it and she has certainly excelled herself here. Now its my turn to try and do her wonderful work justice and I am really excited about this piece. Every painting comes with a story, that is for sure.


For the past few months I have been working on my 15x15cm small bird series which I have absolutely LOVED, but as the 8th in a row comes to a close, it does seem like the perfect time for a change of pace, so here I am, dipping my non webbed feet into the pond for this new story. This painting has grand plans of world travel and good causes into 2023, so itll certainly be an interesting ride to follow from start to finish this one!

So a black Indian Runner Duck huh…? Sure, Ill just pop out to my duck pond for a bit of reference shall I? Talk about a challenge, but thank goodness for the kindness of strangers and fellow duck lovers for assisting me with the reference I could never have found for this one. Alisha is a stranger to me, an enthusiastic Indian Runner duck owner, located on the other side of the world from me, but she wasted no time in sharing some of her images with me to work from, and for that I am so very very grateful! Thank you Alisha. Her black duck is stunning, full of the most magical colours not only in the wing, but speckled throughout the entire ducks plumage… so beautiful as you can see.






So with the first challenge of reference resolved, I took the images to the studio to start working on the composition . ‘Lots of colour’ the client said… so with this in mind, along with wanting to capture that classic duck posture, I set about refining the layout to send to the client for approval. I love the wing colours, the pose, his beautiful curled tail feathers and the sweet look in his eye, so putting all of these elements together, the drawing came to a close and the client gave it an immediate thumbs up saying ‘Heidi, its absolutely perfect. Honestly youve hit the nail smack bang on the head’, which is always lovely to hear… so heres a very rough guide for you to see the direction of this exciting Black Indian Runner Duck portrait painting. Its the very early stages of this painting coming to life, but Ill duck off to the studio now to get drawing and Ill be back soon with an update on its progress… enjoying Christmas between sittings!



Ive made a solid start on the ducks head today, rendering the eye, beautiful yellow bill and all the amazing metallic detailing of the head and neck feathers, so rich and diverse. This dark, metallic effect is always a challenge, but especially so in watercolour. In a slow process of many many layers, many many tiny brushstrokes strokes and even more colour and tonal changes, the head has emerged on the page revealing my sweet ducks personality. He is sweet, bright and ready for mischief, just as I had aimed for.

With the head more or less completed, I will begin working my way down the fluffy brown and blue back feathers to develop the body of the duck next. Again… its a very complex task and the going will be slow but it is nice to see the progress none the less. Ill be back with more updates for you in the coming days, seeing out the end of 2022 into the start of the new year, 2023 in ducking great style.





A few more sittings in the studio have seen the very complicated back and wing feathers come together a little more, brilliant blue, green and turquoise veiled throughout the warm browns and cool blue greys of the duck. The colours in the flesh are so vibrant and beautiful, the tiny web image doing it little justice of course, but it gives you an idea of the progress and painting none the less. Its now you appreciate how UNblack, a black runner duck can actually be!

I can now mention that this duck painting is being created for the Daphne Charity Event in London on the 4th February for Macmillan. I believe the original artwork will be auctioned off at another exciting event later in the year. It has been an interesting and fun collaboration so far and I’m looking forward to what comes next! I’ll have more information on this in time no doubt. All paintings have their own little story, but this piece plenty left to tell yet.

And so, I think that the most challenging sections of this duck study are under control now thankfully. From here Ill continue to tackle each challenge remaining to its completion… belly, wing feathers, bum fluff, curly tail and of course, probably the biggest challenge remaining, the feet. Ill be back with another update on these areas soon.








My ‘Black Runner Duck’ painting is now complete and ready tp set off on the next phase of this project. The painting has been purchased but will be auctioned in Southend on Sea UK later this year to raise funds with the Daphne Charity event for Macmillan. Hopefully I will go over to the UK for the occasion and enjoy seeing the next chapter unfold. For now my part is done so its off to Sydney for my little duck painting to be prepared for the long flight north…. a backwards duck perhaps? An adventurous duck to be sure.

Thanks so much for following along with this painting, it has been SO much fun to work on! Its always great having you guys along for the ride too, but now its time for me to return to my ‘Kingfisher and Lotus study’.  I havent shared that piece on social media yet but ill launch it next week sometime, sharing more of the process with you as I go.