Remove this ad

Lead

Dec 24 12 11:33 AM

Tags : :


One of the best ways to train yourself to rapidly draw birds in the field is to practice at home with clear sharp photographs. Pick out a photograph of a bird, then set a timer and give yourself one minute to sketch the bird from that photograph. Do not worry about details but concentrate on getting the basic shape or silhouette. 

Optional extension: Give yourself ten minutes to draw ten one-minute sketches. Then try doing ten more each day for a week and watch your speed and ability to capture the shape of a bird improve.

Recommended site for quality bird photos: http://roysephotos.com/

Tips from John Muir Laws: 

"I start by capturing the posture of the bird (axis of the body). Then add an oval for the body and a proportionate circle for the head. I stop and double check the proportions before I go on. Then I add lines showing the angle of the beak and tail. Now focus on the edges of the bird and carve in the angles around the head and tail. It may help to focus on the negative shapes you see beyond the bird rather than the bird itself. Think posture, proportions, and angles.”

  • Lightly draw one line that captures the posture or energy of the bird. Build the drawing around this first line.
  • Lightly draw circles to capture the mass of the body, and then the head.
  • Stop! Check and change your proportions at this early stage. Once you add detail, you are stuck.
  • Lightly draw lines showing the beak-eye line, leading edge of the wing, tail, and position of the legs.
  • Look for angles in the silhouette of the bird and (lightly) carve them into your circles. Look carefully around the head-body and body-tail junctions. All the marks so far should be barely visible, faint "ghost" lines.
  • Now, with more pressure and decisiveness, add the details on top of the "ghost" structure below.

Upload and discuss your sketches here. See examples from Beck attached.


Click here to view the attachment
Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad
Remove this ad

#2 [url]

Dec 28 12 2:50 PM

Very nice, glecker!  I can even ID most of them!!  Great job!


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).

Quote    Reply   

#3 [url]

Dec 28 12 3:41 PM

Impressive collection here, Greg. I'm curious what order these were drawn in -- which was your first and which was your last? Did you notice any changes in the ease or detail of the exercise as the minutes went by? 

For instance, when I did this activity, I felt like the drawing flowed a lot better for me and I was able to capture more of the essence of the bird in my 4th attempt than my 1st after having some practice (examples below). 



Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment

Quote    Reply   

#4 [url]

Dec 28 12 5:09 PM

Elizabeth,

In answer to your question about the order of the drawings, I found that I drew faster as the sketches progressed.  The first bird drawn was the first image, second page, upper left hand corner.  (The left hand page was a "leftover" from a study of bird feet and tails.) I barely finished an outline of the first bird in 60 seconds.   As I advanced, I drew faster and faster, racing the timer.  I found it easier if I drew in one continuous line -- similar to the "blind contour" drawings, but, of course, looking at the photos.  I almost found it easier to "eyeball" bird shapes when fitting the bird silhouette between the previous sketches, almost like puzzle pieces.  I'm happy to find that, based on the way that my mind works, I'm learning the identification of birds better by drawing them than I ever had by studying guides and struggling while birding on hikes.  As I was telling Julia and Margaret at the Science Museum, I have to take notes or draw in order for new knowledge to be processed and filed in the old brain -- sometimes I need to be able to draw just to be able to describe a visual image.

Greg; Mpls, MN
Urban back yard with red and white cedars, pagoda dogwoods

Quote    Reply   

#5 [url]

Dec 31 12 1:32 PM







Hey again Greg - I noticed you drew a loon as one of your One Minute Sketches. Abbi (aallen) mentioned in her post in Drawing To See (see below) that she had difficulty with how the head was attached to the body. Did you notice this while drawing the loon? Figure out any tricks?

Great seeing you on Saturday! Thanks for joining us for a really fun Sketch-a-Thon at the museum.


http://forum.feederwatch.org/2012/11/26/drawing-to-see/17/




Quote    Reply   
avatar

lyn

superstar

Posts: 723

#6 [url]

Dec 31 12 6:21 PM

For this task I did not read or follow the instructions carefully....I drew two birds from photos, then there was so much activity around the feeders (sometimes there is NONE) that I sketched one minute portraits from life. As Greg mentioned, a minute goes by very quickly....and it was fun, with pencil and watercolor !




Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment
Click here to view the attachment

Suburban yard with trees & shrubs, New Brunswick, Canada

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad

#7 [url]

Jan 1 13 12:02 AM

Love the 'flow' of your watercolor sketches, lyn!!!


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).

Quote    Reply   
avatar

lyn

superstar

Posts: 723

#9 [url]

Jan 2 13 6:44 PM

interesting question Beck......I drew more detail with the pencil, a medium that I know well, but I think I captured more of the birds' essence with the watercolor sketches. Having limited experience using watercolors, I tried to capture the form of the birds without detail, in the minute allotted to each sketch.

As I practice beaks, eyes, legs, wings and tails, I think the one minute pencil sketches will have more flow.

Suburban yard with trees & shrubs, New Brunswick, Canada

Quote    Reply   

#10 [url]

Jan 3 13 3:23 PM

@lyn: That's an interesting point about essence -- I can see what you mean. But as I look at your sketches, I see that what the watercolors allowed you to capture goes beyond the essence of the bird too. I'm hoping the group can help us articulate some of the other nuances. What differences do others notice between Lyn's watercolors versus pencil drawings? 

Quote    Reply   

#11 [url]

Jan 20 13 9:03 PM

The thing I notice most about lyn's watercolor sketches as opposed to the pencil drawings is the flow. The lines are free and flowing.  I think that spontaneity totally suits the 'essence' of the birds, which are always in motion...

Finally got my scanner up and running, so for what it's worth, here is my last batch of minute sketches, thrown in after the fact...  Just black-capped chickadees...over and over...and one 'on the phone' doodle that evolved over more than a minute of a very boring call. 


Click here to view the attachment


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).

Quote    Reply   
Remove this ad
Add Reply

Quick Reply

bbcode help