I picked up a copy of the book Identify and Draw North American Birds and spent a few hours doing just that. The book is awesome as it gives a photo, facts, and a sketching progression in colored pencil. However, if you’re not comfortable with sketching birds, you may want to trace the bird first. The emphasis is on using colored pencils and not on bird anatomy and drawing.
But for me, this is perfect. There are 47 birds total, and I happen to have a new sketching journal, the ForestChoice John Muir Observer Journal, and I’m dedicating it to bird sketches.
Four down, 43 to go.
For Christmas, I subscribed to art lessons at The Virtual Instructor for a year and have completed my first course, The Secrets to Drawing, and also followed along with a live, weekly lesson. So far, I, truly enjoy the classes. I’m gaining skills and filling in missing pieces of my understanding of art.
I bought four Stillman and Birn sketchbooks for my notes and projects while I follow along to the videos. The recent live lesson series focused on graphite and white charcoal on gray paper. I used my new Tombow graphite pencils, a Conte white pastels, and my Nova S&B sketchbook with gray paper to draw this rhinoceros.
This lesson was important because it taught me how to layer different grades of graphite, and using white for highlights was also interesting. (Graphite can go over charcoal, but charcoal cannot go over graphite.) I decided to use this process on a sketch of my own, so I used a photo of my horse and his friend playing in their pasture. I tried out a new paper, Stonehenge, which I love. The texture is like vellum, but it’s somehow crisper, if that makes any sense. This sheet was tinted a warm gray color, not as dark as Nova. I used my Tombow pencils and the Conte pastel. This was a super fun drawing, and I especially enjoyed drawing the texture and patterns of the horse blankets.
It seems my art time is all wrapped up with Ampersand Claybord, but it’s such fun that I’ve been very content. It’s very wintery and Christmasy, so I went all out with this cardinal.
I designed these two Claybord pieces as a diptych. Pete is on the left, Banner on the right.