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Jan 7 13 1:37 PM

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Fill a page with sketches of birds in flight. Start with just body/wing posture lines, graduate to block in the proportions, eventually work on cutting in angles.

Things to try:

  • Practice by drawing the first few sketches based on photos of birds in flight instead of live action.
  • Include some drawings of small birds in flight. The wings of small birds flap so quickly that they often blur. When sketching live birds in the field, draw just what you see. If you just see a blur of wings, draw the blur.

Upload your sketches here. See examples from Julia attached. 


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#1 [url]

Jan 13 13 2:20 PM

I did an image search for small birds in flight and tried sketching a few of the photos I found. I made sure to first capture the outlines of the body and wings first. Then once the position of the boddy and wings seemed right, I filled in details like feathers to help show how the wings were moving mid-flight.


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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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#2 [url]

Jan 14 13 6:27 PM


@jameswilson - Thanks for the awesome sketches!


This activity is in many ways a similar activity to "Memory Snapshots of Bird Wings," though one is from your window and one is from life.  I'm curious, which activity did you do first? Did you enjoy one more than the other? And finally, did you find yourself focusing on different aspects of the bird as you sketched Birds in Flight vs. Memory Snapshots? 

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#3 [url]

Jan 15 13 9:25 AM

Thanks Julia. If I remember correctly, I did the memory snapshot activity first. I think I prefer sketching birds from life rather than photos. This is perhaps because I hope to eventually be able to use sketching as a tool to identify birds I see in the field if I need to.

When doing the memory snapshots I definitely focused mainly on overall shape, since in a split second, that seems like all there's time for. Sketching the birds in flight from photos allowed me to focus more on specific shapes of the wings, head,
And body and details like feathers or patterns.

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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#6 [url]

Jan 16 13 9:00 AM

Those are beautiful sketches, aallan. Excellent work.

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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#7 [url]

Jan 16 13 10:43 AM

Jameswilson, do you have a web cam on your feeder that I could watch?  I thought about just getting seeds and throwing them out in the front yard, but I'm worried it will be a squirl fest.  I would love to see crows though

It's a great day to make things. abbiaallan.com/home.html

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#9 [url]

Jan 16 13 10:48 AM

OH! For those of us bird-less folk, I found this AMAZING work by this photographer, Russ Hansen. 
He was a birder, a photographer, and recently passed away.

http://www.birdsinflight.net/galleries/gal_2/gal_2.html

this is his Website.  The images were so beautiful  - I had to work with them.  Just so I can reference some of the work I'm stealing from (*I get home when it's too dark to see the wee birdies), and the way he freezes these images - just stunning.  Here are some examples:





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It's a great day to make things. abbiaallan.com/home.html

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#12 [url]

Jan 16 13 3:22 PM





@aallan, these are lovely sketches of birds in flight! Also Russ Hansen's photographs are spectacular. Thank you for sharing both the sketches and the resource with us. 

Do you have a feeder up at home? If you have a feeder and the birds are not coming yet, don't give up! Check out this thread called "Bought a New Feeder" on the forum. If it is that its too dark outside that is your problem, perhaps caged birds or YouTube can help.

In my experience, drawing birds from life is fairly different than drawing from a photograph or taxidermy subject. Check out the videos posted in the Living Annotated Bibliography topic. I would be excited to see your sketches and hear what your experience is like drawing birds that are constantly moving. 

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#13 [url]

Jan 17 13 9:32 AM

@Julia Yes, at least for now. Assuming I keep practicing both my sketching and bird identification, I'm sure I will eventually find sketching from memory more enjoyable.

@Abbi Thank you for the kind words and thank you for sharing your amazing artwork and those great photos from Russ Hansen. Unfortunately, I do not have a webcam on my feeders (though I would LOVE to). I love seeing the crows as well, even if they scare the smaller birds away. When they visit they usually eat from one of the suet cages or have a bit of apple that I stick to a nail on a fence post. Also, I plan on taking your advice and reworking/simplifying my sketch from memory of the cardinal.

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]

Jan 20 13 9:38 PM

Very impressed with all the sketches. Me, I have to stick to the camera... mark

Several acres in deciduous forest w/spruce, hill/lake country of w/central Minnesota. 5 suet stations, 8 tube 2 hopper, platform, water. Farmland nearby.

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#16 [url]

Jan 21 13 12:00 AM

very pretty,  so calming ginny h

Ocean Co. South NJ Walled patio 10 Crape Myrtle, Pine forest and bushes oak cherry lawn pond. one seed feeder, one suet, 4 hummingbird feeders, one sock.

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