How to Draw a Bird

Streaming through veins of air, vibrant and brilliant Shapes and marks and colors and patterns and calls Should I create lists scratching an analytical itch Books and guides and websites and apps. Knowing less with each spreadsheet Really! Sit in the electricity of stillness Each call carries stories long their own and their own long … More How to Draw a Bird

Juvenile Indigo Buntings

A new fountain pen I am still learning to use. This is a Pilot Custom Heritage 92, fine-medium nib filled with Iroshizuku Take-sumi ink. The nib is softer than on any other pen I own. It requires more attention and care how I put down lines. There have been a few times where I thought … More Juvenile Indigo Buntings

Dark-Eyed Junco (Oregon)

We spotted about a dozen Dark-eyed Juncos last week. I’m a little fascinated at how the same bird has a range of variations. I’ve been spending more time studying anatomy and the feather map. Juncos make for great reference.

Hooded Merganser

I’ve spent the past few days thinking about this pair of Mergansers that visit a nearby pond each year. A quick internet search will return more photographs of the male and its signature white on black full crest. Drawing these crests can be deceptive. Male or female I was tempted to draw one big circular … More Hooded Merganser

Strawberry Finch

I’m late sending out holiday cards stuck on what bird to paint. I remember a friend sent me a photo they saw online of a strawberry finch. A Saturday afternoon watching videos of these dramatic and unique finches resulted in this drawing. I used a little permanent gouache for the bird’s striking spots.

Cedar Waxwing

As the name implies this is a smooth looking bird especially when alert. It’s tempting to treat the chest, wing and mantle as one volume. I didn’t get to do much drawing today so this was a welcome meditation.

American Redstart

This was a satisfying pencil drawing and then I decided to try a gouache stain over parts of it. I immediately regretted it but kept going in the hopes of salvaging the sketch. It’s a sketch in a sketchbook. The point is to allow room for mistakes.

House Wren

They’re fairly common but get confused as just another little brown bird lumped in with sparrows. A little stocker in appearance even when the feather groups tighten up when they are on alert. I didn’t get too deep into showing their barring on the wings and tail. I may have actually played them down a … More House Wren

Sandhill Crane

I’ve been thinking about the differences between cranes and herons. I love watching Black-crowned Night-Herons and Great Blue Herons fishing or just hanging out. I haven’t had the opportunity to watch Sandhill Cranes but they seem to bring a lot of drama in their movements.