Three little birds

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook, 7″ x 7″ (17.8cm x 17.8cm)

I’ve been meaning to try some sketches of birds for quite some time and at long last Ive done it.

I kind of messed up with the first sketch (hidden at the bottom of the page), of what I believe is a Bullfinch, so I think we’ll just call that one a test. I actually thought it was going alright until I started working on the background and that’s when it became just a  huge mess.  In the later sketches, I found that a more sparse treatment for the background worked much better.

The first sketch and the second one also were done in a Stillman & Birn Zeta series sketchbook (7″ x 7″), which has a smooth hot press surface. For the first sketch colours were mainly cadmium red pale hue and Payne’s Gray – I don’t recall the colours for the background. The second sketch, of a Nuthatch, was an improvement – the background foliage was nothing more than a random green mixture splashed onto the paper – the tree trunk was something similar but with a couple of brown mixtures.  The third sketch is of a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. Again, this was completed in a Stillman & Birn sketchbook, but the Beta series, which has a cold press surface but is in the same 7″ x 7″ square format, which I find suits these sketches quite well.

 

nuthatch-1a
Nuthatch, Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook, 7″ x 7″ (17.8cm x 17.8cm)

The process for these sketches was essentially the same. Pencilling in lightly to establish the contours and the main shapes, then going over the sketches again with a Pigma Micron 01 and then finally, adding the watercolour. In the later sketches, I spent more time rendering the birds with the pen particularly with regard to modelling the form – which has the effect I think of simplifying the painting part of the process.

 

Bullfinch, Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook, 7″ x 7″ (17.8cm x 17.8cm)

2 thoughts on “Three little birds

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