Bird Drawing (online)

The poet Marjorie Allen Seiffert said, “A bird is three things: feathers, flight and song, and feathers are the least of these.” In this class we will approach the drawing of birds from a similar angle. In the beginning weeks of the class we will explore the basic shapes and gestures that give each bird it’s wren-ness, or egret-ness, or hawk-ness in a welcoming and supportive environment. We will learn to look not only at the contours of a bird but the rhythms, forms and proportions that inform those contours. We will work from photographs, from video and observation of living birds, as well as from images of avian art in art history. Instruction will be given to help you focus on fine-tuning your observation and achieving fine detail in your work, however artists of every sort and experience are welcome, not just those who focus on fine detail.

Special Notes

This is an online class hosted through Zoom. We recommend that you download the free Zoom application on your computer, phone, or tablet in advance of the first class. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to join the course via Zoom. The same link will be used each week.

Tuition Assistance is Available

To make our classes and workshops accessible to everyone, Fleisher offers tuition assistance every term so that everyone can join our creative community. Tuition assistance applications can be completed once registration is open by clicking here. The deadline to apply for winter term assistance is Wednesday, November 23; Notifications will be sent by Wednesday, December 7.

What you will learn:

  • How to simplify the complex shapes of birds

  • How to capture gesture and expression

  • Techniques for drawing birds from the field to the studio

  • An introduction to avian anatomy for artists

Required supplies:

  • A variety of wood or mechanical pencils: 2H, H, HB, 2B, 4B, 6B

  • Appropriate sharpeners for wood and/or mechanical pencils

  • A variety of erasers including gum, kneaded, and white Factis eraser

  • Spiral-bound drawing pad that folds back or lays flat. Strathmore 400 recommended.

  • Watercolor pad with hot press paper such as Fluid 100 no larger than 9×12 inches

  • 9×12 Tortillion (pencil smudgers)

  • Rulers

  • Tracing paper

  • Roll of white graphic tape

  • Optional:

    • drawing board
    • camera or camera phone
  • Midway through the term students will need colored pencils, watercolor, or pastel (whichever you are most familiar with)