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Nov 26 12 4:23 PM

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From your memory, draw a bird you see frequently at your feeder without looking at a photograph or image - just think about the first image of a bird that pops into your brain. Once you’re done with that drawing, try drawing that same type of bird from a photograph or from life.  Upload your sketch(es) here.

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#1 [url]

Nov 27 12 6:32 PM

Decided to try a warmer exercise--tried a cardinal and a chickadee from memory and then from pics.  Next time I have to start farther from the edge so the tails fit.  o.o


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West central WI in a large tract of county forest with a 20-acre woodland wetland just to the south. 
BOSS, sunflower hearts, nyjer, suet, dried meal worms (all year); nectar and grape jelly (spring thru fall).

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#2 [url]

Nov 27 12 6:39 PM


I started by thinking about a black-capped chickadee. They come frequently to my feeder and have a distinctive color pattern so they are easy for me to distinguish at a glance (unlike those sparrows!) From memory, the only thing I could remember about the black-capped chickadee was its relative size, general proportions and the black on the head and throat. (See first sketch of bubble-like chickadee)For the second drawing, I looked at the FeederWatch poster and refined my image of the black-capped chickadee. The body became noticeably more sleek but I think the drawing still has a "flat" feel to it. I wonder if it would have turned out more life-like had I tried to draw using the bird at my feeder as a model? I like how delicate yet bold-looking this bird is. I would like to continue drawing the black-capped chickadee over the next few weeks to see how many more details I notice and to see if I can make it look more realistic if it is drawn from a live subject.



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#5 [url]

Nov 29 12 11:42 AM

I drew a Downy Woodpecker from memory (that's the first drawing), then I drew a second while looking at photographs. I was surprised to see that I didn't remember the bird had a black cap and black facial stripe, and that I imagined it with one of those tails that props up birds against a trunk. I also thought the white markings were more prominent and regular than they are. This was a lot of fun!



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#6 [url]

Nov 30 12 11:04 AM

I was trying to draw a black-capped chickadee, but once I looked at a photo (couldn't look at the real thing, as it was after dark -- woes of the working life I guess) I realized I forgot his black chin. I also got some of the eye-striping and other details wrong. Oh well. Here's the from-memory version:

It's kind of funny -- the chickadee is one of those birds that I can recognize in a flash, but once I'd finished my sketch I couldn't tell if it was a chickadee or a nuthatch, and in life I have no trouble telling the difference. Articulating those differences on a conscious level, and being able to put them on paper, is a different thing than being able to see them and just *know*.

Anyway, here's the from-photo version of a chickadee:

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#7 [url]

Nov 30 12 1:28 PM



@hazel, Like you, several other participants have drawn black-capped chickadees. Why or how did you choose the two birds you decided to draw? 
    Does anyone else have any thoughts as to why the black-capped chickadee has been such a popular subject for this activity? 

@aallan, Your sketch is so expressive! What type of bird were you depicting? Was this sketch from memory, from a photo, or from life?

@ztranby, The extensive annotations you included in your drawings are quite impressive. Would you mind explaining a little bit more about the process you went through? For example, what came first, the drawing or the annotations? Was the process the same or different when you did the first sketch vs. the second sketch?

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#8 [url]

Nov 30 12 4:29 PM

This looks like fun. I'm going to try it after I get my chores done. I have been trying to draw girds for several years since being in Project Feederwatch. Especially when I see a new bird. So I can get the details before I try to look it up.

Be back later.

Wildeyedpainter

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#10 [url]

Nov 30 12 8:20 PM


[image]
@hazel, Like you, several other participants have drawn black-capped chickadees. Why or how did you choose the two birds you decided to draw? 
  

-feedersketch

Finally!  An easy question!  lol  The first two birds I saw at the feeders that morning were a chickadee and a cardinal. 


West central WI in a large tract of county forest with a 20-acre woodland wetland just to the south. 
BOSS, sunflower hearts, nyjer, suet, dried meal worms (all year); nectar and grape jelly (spring thru fall).

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#11 [url]

Dec 1 12 4:37 PM

I've been seeing a lot of Blue Jays lately and I love the way they look so I attempted to sketch one from memory. It was definitely oversimplified but I suppose the shape was not too far off. I also sketched a Blue Jay from a photo.


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Small backyard near Chesapeake Bay deciduous trees, shrubs, brush piles 4 feeders (BOSS, Nyjer, peanuts, fruit/nut/seed mixture) and suet 2 birdbaths (1 heated)

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#12 [url]

Dec 3 12 7:26 PM


@wildeyedpainter, Welcome to FeederWatch: Sketch. You mentioned you especially like to draw when you see a new bird so you can get the details before looking it up. If you are seeing a bird for the first time, or one you are unsure of, do you annotate your sketches or just use lines to capture it?

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#13 [url]

Dec 3 12 7:36 PM


@jameswilson, I am super impressed with the details in your blue jay drawing from memory! Which details are the same? Which ones did you miss? 
Looking back at ztranby, hazelrunmama, leinawea and my drawings is there anything we all noticed or we all missed when comparing our drawings from memory and those from a photograph or from life?

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#14 [url]

Dec 4 12 1:49 PM

Thank you Margaret. As far as details go, The Blue Jay's crest stood out the most so I made sure to include that (even though most of the Blue Jays I see have their crests folded down). The next thing that stood out to me was the black ring around the neck, so i was sure to include that in my drawing from memory as well. The eye placement and relative size of the bill were also about right in the drawing from memory, although the shapes were not quite right. I missed the black pattern around the bill and eyes as well as the patterns on the wing and tail feathers.

Small backyard near Chesapeake Bay deciduous trees, shrubs, brush piles 4 feeders (BOSS, Nyjer, peanuts, fruit/nut/seed mixture) and suet 2 birdbaths (1 heated)

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#15 [url]

Dec 4 12 3:34 PM

 


It seems folks have been musing over the merit of using words alongside their sketches. There are some varied opinions out there, but many field scientists do resort to using written notes alongside their drawings, particularly to denote colors and other specific field markings they want to refer to later but weren't able to capture in the drawing itself. On the other hand, sometimes a simple sketch captures things that words and descriptions cannot. But instead of stopping because you don't think you're skilled enough to draw what you're looking at, or instead of filling in the gaps from memory, keep in mind that jotting down a few notes to capture some of the details that you can see but not quite draw in time is more than ok too (particularly when those details may help in identifying the bird later). 

In my own thinking about how to use words to support my sketches, here are a couple things I've tried to keep in mind that may be useful to others too: 

  • Think about the process that goes into the sketch, not the product that comes out of it -- any way to collect information on the page is valid, it doesn't matter so much what it looks like.
  • In addition to supplying additional information, written notes can be used to call attention to important details of the sketch.
  • If you don't have a chance to record as many details as you'd like the first time around, take that sketch back out with you the next time and add another layer of fresh observations and questions to it. Has anyone tried this approach yet? 

This is just food for thought. What other opinions do you have about the juxtaposition of writing and drawing? Do you think any of these ideas may inspire a change in practice for you, at least on a trial basis? Keep us posted! 

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#16 [url]

Dec 5 12 7:21 PM




@jameswilson, so I will ask the same question of you that I asked of hazelrunmama, "Why or how did you choose the two birds you decided to draw?"

I have a theory that there could be some commonalities to the birds we all have chosen to draw for this activity. What do you think?

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#18 [url]

Dec 10 12 6:31 PM



@glecker - that's a really great contrast between memory and the photo of the cardinal. Did you notice anything new about the cardinal once you contrasted it with your 'bird from memory'? 

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#20 [url]

Dec 11 12 7:54 PM



Do you think the types of birds we sketch for "Draw a Bird" are chosen because they all have some memorable or striking feature? Why do we remember what we remember?
Or maybe I am over thinking this and its just a product of familiarity and happenstance, as hazelrunmama said, "The first two birds I saw at the feeders that morning were a chickadee and a cardinal."

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