Monday, February 3, 2014

Backyard birds

Our family has had an interest in birds for years.  My daughter had a pet cockatiel that she got as a fledgling. As a boy, my son used to count the hawks on long car rides; his first job was at a store for backyard bird enthusiasts. (He's now 27 and is a field biologist working with peregrine falcons on the California Channel Islands.) My husband and I have become pretty good at identifying the many birds that visit our backyard, and  love watching why aren't there all kinds of drawings of birds in my portfolio?

Sure, I have these drawings of feathers, nests, and even an emu egg. And I've drawn my chickens a few times, but never our wild backyard birds.

So, yesterday I sat down in my kitchen to sketch some. Of course, they're always moving, so I just tried to get some basic shapes down; I had to take a couple of photos to examine them more closely.

Such fun! Maybe it's because I've been getting back into life drawing (of humans), but I'm excited to explore drawing birds a bit more.  I think I'll use this toned sketchbook to document the birds at our feeder a couple of times a week. Besides being great drawing practice, it will serve as a nice record of which birds are visiting.

A couple of years ago, I bought a wonderful book, Drawing Birds with Colored Pencils by Kaaren Poole. I think it's time to get  it out again!


  1. Nice drawings. It is hard to capture birds' essences when they hop and fly around so much but it's a good exercise that you did wonderfully :)

  2. birds have never been easy for me either, although I do love watching them. Photographs help immensely to understand their nuances.
    drawing them at the feeder is a great idea.

  3. I too love to watch the birds through the kitchen window. Having had a go, I fully understand how difficult it is to draw them but I think you have done a great job, a lovely page and record of the birds.