Monthly Archives: May 2015

Flying Tree Swallow

Flying Tree Swallow

The latest drawing for the birds class looked at how to draw and color birds in flight. A very common bird in my area is the Tree Swallow. Their aerial acrobatics are fun to watch and if you can see them stop for a moment in the sun their feathers will become a lovely blue iridescent color.

Drawing a bird in flight is no different than drawing a bird resting on a branch. You work from the simple to the complex. The head and body begin as ovals and the wings, in this pose, are triangles. Once you work out the proportions with simple shapes adding the details becomes much easier to do.

The trick (if you can even call it that) to making something iridescent requires that you alter the way you normally apply color pencil. Rather than making smooth transitions from light to dark, you make your transitions happen very quickly by layering dark and light colors right next to each other. For my swallow I placed a mix of blue violet and Copenhagen blue next to light cerulean blue. I also applied white over the light cerulean blue to create more contrast with the darker blue. This same technique can be used to draw glass or other shiny surfaces.

This coming week is the last bird class and I have had such a wonderful time working with my students. We will be working on gray pastel paper and it should be another fun adventure. I hope you’ll come back to see what we worked on.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!

Kelli

Interested in drawing birds?

Check out my tutorial on drawing an Atlantic Puffin.

Lesser Sandhill Crane

Sandhill CraneIn week two of our bird class we drew a Lesser Sandhill Crane. I love the long graceful neck of these birds and the short spiky feathers on the crown of the head. Since this bird has a lot of lightly colored feathers we worked on tan toned paper. Beginning with colored paper can be a time saver since you can use the color of the paper to help with the mid-tone values. Rather than using a gray pencil for the back of the head and neck feathers we mixed our own color from light cerulean blue and peach. These colors combine to make a blue-gray that has more vibrancy than using a single color. For the bright white highlights we used a white pastel pencil which goes on heavier than a white colored pencil and helps give a drawing that little extra bit of sparkle.

This week we will be drawing a bird that can withstand temperatures of -65°F! Any guesses? I’ll give you a hint, it is not a penguin.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!

Kelli

White-fronted bee-eater

White-fronted bee-eaterLast night was our first class in Drawing Birds in Colored Pencil. It was so nice to see familiar faces as well welcome new friends into the world of colored pencil. For this class we will be traveling the world and our first stop is sub-equatorial Africa to meet the White-fronted bee-eater. These are colorful little birds with subtle feather patterns – a perfect starting point if you have never drawn birds before or need a gentle way to ease back into into drawing.

I think all my students did a great job on their birds and everyone said they are looking forward to next week’s class.

If you would like to follow us on this journey check back here each week. If you’d rather follow along on social media I will be posting our projects on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!

Kelli