Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to draw when your subject isn't interested in posing for you. In fact, you scare the heck out of them and they just want to be as far away as possible.

I've been interested in drawing birds for a while but couldn't figure out how anyone could draw such fast moving targets. I've found a couple of dead birds that I've drawn and I was fascinated to be able to be so close to them but it only made me more interested in drawing live birds.

When I first began to draw from nature I found two books by Clare Walker Leslie that helped me begin to understand more about this entirely new-to-me way of drawing. The Art of Field Sketching is pretty much as the title suggests, giving great general instruction on how to go out and draw what you see. Nature Drawing: A Tool for Learning helps the artist figure out how to turn those field sketches into more carefully worked out drawings and paintings. Both books mentioned a Scottish artist and professor named John Busby who, I found, has written a book devoted solely to the art of sketching birds. Well, I received Drawing Birds for Christmas and set out to conquer.

On Christmas day I went and drew some water birds at Howarth Park. They hang around all day waiting for people to feed them and are pretty tame, so I got some fairly stiff, but not horrible sketches of mallards and gulls.

Now, we happen to have a bird feeder outside of our kitchen window that attracts a large gang of house finches along with scrub jays, some warblers and some goldfinches. There are also towhees and mourning doves and some sparrows that lurk about so I'm adding a platform feeder to entice them to hang around even more and invite their friends.

I believe this will be the perfect venue for me to learn about drawing birds. They come around at least three times a day and aren't too skittish about having me stare at them from the other side of the window. I've vowed to fill a sketchbook page every day with sketches. They're usually around after breakfast and after lunch and often in between. It's fairly easy to drop what I'm doing and draw. As you can see from my first page, I have a lot to learn. It's all I can do just to get the shape of the bird. Forget about flying birds. Forget about markings, mostly. Anyway, I'll post pages from time to time and maybe there'll be some progress. I hope!

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you are well on your way to conquering drawing birds. I'm looking forward to see your progress.