Draw a Bird Day

Zenaida Dove
Zinaida Dove, after John James Audubon
Mixed media on bristol board, 6″ x 4″

Last night I was browsing the blogs Create art everyday and Myr’s Bytes and noticed that today would be draw a bird day, and as you can see they already have theirs posted. Apparently the present bird hub is on Method two madness.

This is copy of part of an illustration by John James Audubon, original seen here. The beginning line work was done with a 7H pencil, followed by Daniel Smith walnut ink applied with a brush. Then the solid black areas were mostly drawn with a fine black felt tip pen but some of it was done with a brush pen. The part that took much longer than expected was adding the details of the feathers and some grey areas with a black colored pencil. I lightened the bird’s back by partially erasing the colored pencil, and the background is also colored pencil. A little white charcoal was used to add white lines on a couple of tail feathers that had too much ink.

7 thoughts on “Draw a Bird Day

    1. Also, although that brush pen ink animates so easily with water, it does nothing at all when exposed to an alcohol based copic marker. I was originally going to draw this with those two, using a set of grey tone copic markers, but I’m not very good at shading with the markers and the practice sketch wasn’t coming out well.

    2. I posted this last night, but I think I didn’t press reply on your actual comment first 🙂

      It depends, because the ink I used wasn’t waterproof, and of course if it is then that’s a huge difference. I don’t have much experience painting with ink, but a very long time ago I made a few paintings with FW acrylic ink. You can layer endlessly since they’re waterproof, but no blending or lifting after it dries. On the other end of the spectrum is my Kuretake brush pen, which I used a little bit here. The standard ink it comes with instantly comes alive into the water if you pass a wet brush over it after it’s dried on paper more easily than any watercolor would. That’s not to say it lifts easily, but more like when the ink is introduced to water it wants to flood out into that water in a wash while the original line becomes lighter and fuzzier but stays where it is. Other inks may act differently.

      The brown ink here didn’t rehydrate as easily and stayed much more transparent, even at full strength, than most watercolors would be. It’s a little bit of an odd ink though because as I understand it this isn’t genuine walnut ink (made from walnuts and not lightfast) but some sort of lightfast imitation of its looks and handling. Something like that.

      Ink doesn’t have the kind of interesting visual textures that you’d get from certain watercolors, but next to others you wouldn’t be able to tell which was ink and which was watercolor. Depending on the type of ink some recipes actually aren’t that much different from watercolor, though the proportions may be different. I’d have to do side by side comparisons and practice more with ink to really say much else.

      1. Thanks for sharing your experience with different inks. Very interesting. I’m just starting to learn a bit about the properties of watercolours… quite different from acrylic. Maybe I will try painting with ink next :-).

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