how to draw a bird tattoo

2. Transform Your Sketches Into a Complete Composition

Transfer your swallow sketches to a fresh sheet of tracing paper to create the final piece, leaving out all of the red pencil guidelines. You can now use your creativity to refine your design and experiment with composition until you achieve the ideal flight formation.

Trim the tracedown paper to a size that complements your watercolor paper by a small amount.

Graphite side down, place the tracedown paper onto the watercolor paper. Place your design-filled tracing paper on top, then use masking tape to bind the three layers together. This will help you achieve a clean finish by stopping your work while you transfer the design.

To ensure a successful transfer of your design sketch layer to the watercolor paper, remember to position it centrally on top.

You can work on top of the tracedown without worrying about the graphite line showing through in your final design because it creates a soft surface.

Graphite lines should be drawn over using the medium ink liner.

1. Start With Some Sketches

Connect two ovals at the indicated angle, with one slightly smaller than the other. This is merely a starting point, so it can be sketched roughly. Since we will be drawing over our initial sketches, I would use a lighter colored pencil in this case, red.

You now need to add basic guide lines that indicate the positions of the eye, beak, wings, and tail. The wing position is the primary feature that alters the swallow’s appearance, so these three images will give you an idea. For two of the swallows, I’ve reversed the basic because it will provide a flowing flight pattern in the final painting.

We can now begin to give the swallow its unique, eccentric shape.

Work from the tip of the guideline shape and reduce the size of the feathers until they join the body when adding the wing feathers with a graphite pencil. Draw a line to demarcate the wing edge from the feathers; I’ve selected a straightforward design that resembles the top wing edge’s shape. By extending the lower tail line throughout the body until it connects with the lower wing, divide the upper body from the lower.

Since swallow tails are usually broad and pointed, use a continuous, swooping line to connect the two tips. Lastly, reshape the body to eliminate the distinctly distinct oval shapes and create a single, solid shape. These instructions apply to all three swallow designs.


How do you start drawing birds?

Begin your drawing with large shapes to establish proportions and posture—an oval for the body, a circle for the head, a line to show the angle of the bill and eye. Imagine the point on which the body would balance, and put a vertical line for the feet right there. Draw these lines lightly and use them as a guide.

What do birds symbolize in a tattoo?

As a whole, birds represent our eagerness and desire to live a spiritually free and happy life. Some cultures even valued birds to be a representation of eternal life; as in the connection between heaven and earth.