how to draw different birds

People often ask me which came first: my interest in drawing birds or watching birds. I have to answer, “both.” The two things have always gone together for me, and they complement and support each other. Drawing forces me to look at a bird more completely and to ask questions that I would not have considered if I were just watching. In that sense, drawing becomes a way to interact with the bird.

Here are some tips Ive learned over the years, as well as 10 video tutorials to help you get started.

Using Photographs to help you Understand Birds

I use high-resolution photographs to help me study bird plumage. The following websites’ photographers have granted me and my students (including you) permission to use their images as drawing references. If you publish a drawing that heavily references one of these photos, please give credit to the photographer. I express my gratitude to these photographers for their exceptional bird photography and their kind support of us and our endeavors.

Start with the basic Shape

Getting the basic shape correct from the beginning is the most crucial aspect of the drawing. To capture the posture, proportions, and angles of your subject, lightly sketch lines at the beginning of your picture rather than concentrating on details. To begin drawing a bird, draw a single line representing the bird’s posture or sitting angle. Draw an oval for the body and a circle for the head over this. Then stop and check your proportions. Early in the drawing, it’s simple to adjust the head’s size. You can see that I originally drew the head in the animated drawings below too large. After checking the proportions, I drew the head circle smaller again to prevent the birds’ heads from having chickadee proportions. Point out the locations of the legs, leading edge of the wing, eye-beak, and tail. When you find angles around the head and tail coverts, carve them in. The angles surrounding the head and tail aid in breaking the pattern created by the two circles you initially used to construct the bird. In the absence of this, it’s simple for your drawings to look like snowmen. Many artists skip these crucial first steps, but investing time in the beginning will pay off in the long run. After you’ve captured the silhouette’s stance, dimensions, and angles, you can go over these initial lines with a heavier pencil to add details before adding color.

Look below the surface

Underneath the feathers, a bird looks like a plucked chicken. The wing feathers attach to the hand and forearm; note that the knee is actually hidden up under its feathers, and the joint you sometimes see below the body is actually its ankle!


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.