Drawing Birds

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 gives 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 living and preserved birds, as well as from images of avian art in art history.

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 Tortillion (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).