17 January 2011

Drawing Birds

"A wise old owl sat on an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard:
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?"


This week my task was to draw birds. Would you believe that I have bird attack stories, too? I won't bore you with the details but if you want to read one head over to this blog post here. Let's just say that I will NEVER watch the movie "The Birds."

This time we were given a bit more direction in our bird drawings and that helped me to break this complex little being into something more manageable. I focused on the shapes, the head, beak, body, tail. And what I tried to do was keep to a simple shape, the half circle, as my point of departure for the shapes that I was drawing. But this time I think my details may have taken a back seat.

I had an epiphany when I was drawing: I don't fancy that I will ever be a photo-realistic drawer. All the details of the feathers and the eyes and talons and the environs escapes me. But I am pleased with just getting the basic shapes right. You can tell these are supposed to be birds, right? And I am not too concerned if my bird is of a real species or not. My birds have beaks and talons and feathers and wings. That is all they need for you to see that.

I was reading a blog that posted a little blurb about UK illustrator Alice Melvin (so sorry that I can't remember which blog it was!). I was charmed by her whimsical bird drawings and knew that is the way that I wanted to go. So I set about trying to imitate her style. I think that whimsy is my way so that is likely where my drawings will take me in the future. I thought the stylized shapes of the birds would be cute filled with a patchwork of patterns, in lieu of real-looking feathers.




One of the 'extra credit' assignments is to take your drawing and do more with it. This week I decided that I would try to use my Photoshop Elements program to color in the details on my owl. It didn't start out as I had intended, but because I didn't use a very dark line on the drawing the colors sort of had a mind of their own (plus I am not that well versed in Photoshop Elements). The shading on the head and body were not planned. It's a happy accident, but I like it.
 

Do you prefer a specific sort of drawing? The more photo-realistic details with shading and an almost three-dimensional quality? Or the whimsical illustrations of artists like Alice Melvin and my favorite Mary Engelbreit? If you could learn to draw (and you can!) what style would you like to do? Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

17 comments:

Regina said...

Your post just remined me that it has been a long time since I sat down to actually draw anything. I used to as a kid and in high school and I was quite good at it too. You have inspired me to grab my sketch book and pencils again. I like your owl too. Have a great day!

SilverNikNats said...

I've just started doing zentangle mostly because I love doodling and also because its sooooo relaxing!

Kristen said...

Oh I love your birds! I do see that the crow was not one of them but I totally understand why. I also prefer whimisal approach too.

peacockfairy said...

I've always liked more whimsical drawings! The peacock is too cute!

My Life Under the Bus said...

They say that looking at images you enjoy stimulates your drawing ability - You can see the differnece on your before and after pages - very cool! I used to love to draw - I think I've lost the concentration for it now - maybe when the kids are in college. Happy monday!

SummersStudio said...

These are wonderful birds. You've distilled the essence of them into simple lines. That is my favourite type of drawingand I can't think of doves without thinking of Picasso. But this is the style of drawing I find most difficult. Well done, Erin!

Brandi said...

So, I was maybe 7 or so, and had the day off from school. Mom did not have the day off from work, so I ended up going in with her (ahh, the 80s). She set me up in the break room with a little TV, which I then turned on to watch Lassie. I thought it was Lassie because that was the only TV show I knew that was in black and white. Turns out, it was NOT Lassie, but The Birds. I was so traumatized by it, that I can't help but feel nervous around birds now. Creepy!!!

Also, I was once attacked by a bird at the post office. I've never been the same, but I like your drawings! I'm all for a little whimsy in sketches.

Heidi said...

I like your whimsical birds - they look like they belong on a colorful resin pendant, or a fun throw pillow. IMO, photorealism is an extremely impressive technical skill, but it doesn't move me. I much prefer unusual interpretations of the subject matter - unnatural colors, exaggerated features, detailed focus on just one specific area, etc. It can be flat or 3-D, so long as it's playful.

That's pretty much what my art looks like. Though I certainly wish I could do better with light and proportion. Keep with it though, and see if you can find a way to use your cute birdies in some jewelry :)

lunedreams said...

I love line drawings! And stylized depictions of nature. Big fan of the ancient Egyptians and the way they depicted animal and plant life. Clean lines, very minimalist, and somehow they captured the essence of the thing. I love stylized depictions in craft work too--your drawings make me think of Jade Scott's charms, or Heather Powers' beads, or some really awesome fabric. I love your idea about "coloring in" your birds with patterns--there should be more utterly fantastical birds!

Davinia said...

Now those are two things that I'm so hopeless at, drawing and photoshop. I take my hat off to you. Love your whimsical birds.

rosebud101 said...

Erin, I like your birds. They are truly better than mine! I'm still in a cartoony mood. I know that Jeanie really wants us to learn to draw. Wow!

Em said...

Erin, your bird drawings are just perfect... beautiful.
I also want to thank you for all your kind comments you leave on my blog. Your words are always encouraging and your support is so appreciated... thank you.
look forward to seeing your "Bead Soup" this time around.
Warmest hugs

Erin Fickert-Rowland said...

Erin...whimsical is definately the way to go! You can never draw a bird exactly the way is is in real life, so why not have fun? You've done an excellent job capturing the movement of birds...these are really great!
BTW, just catching up on the solar system beading project...you are awesome!

Riki Schumacher said...

Watch out Erin, we might have to start calling you the bird lady! I love what you are doing...playing, challenging, learning..all such wonderful things. I love Photoshop Elements, need to take more classes! Can't wait to see where this leads. Big hug, Riki

Jenners said...

I love whimsy ... and I think it suits you. The owl came out wonderfully on the computer. I'm impressed!

I think very few artists can be photorealistic. I think developing a style you feel comfortable with and that suits your personality/sensibilities/etc. is more important.

Shaiha said...

I really prefer the whimsical ones. My favorite is the one on the bottom of the second page and the little guy right next to his head.

mepollock said...

Erin, I just love tuning into your blog thoughts on any given day because you pay attention to your creativity and that inspires me. Drawing highly stylized images and letting them develop on the page can only lead to good things. I can see these elements in your jewelry. There's a lot of power in your whimsy.

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