Draw a Bird Day – Young Robin

Juvenile Robin
Mixed media on sketch paper, 8″ x 9.25″

This is one of three baby American robins that came from a nest on the side of my house. For a couple of days it was hanging out around my front door, being fed by the parents.

Water soluble graphite was used for most of this, along with some red ochre conte crayon, yellow ochre dry pastel, and white casein paint. These were painted over with a mix of clear acrylic gel medium and clear acrylic gesso after they were applied to the paper, but the paint was mixed before use.

Juvenile Robin

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14 thoughts on “Draw a Bird Day – Young Robin

  1. Your photo certainly has captured those feather details so well! But, doesn’t he look so grumpy, you’ve disturbed his sleep — gorgeous! Oh, and love your doodle too! 🙂

  2. Love your colours and dramatic lights and darks as always. I’m curious about your process. I’m not clear on the order of the media. Dry stuff first (graphite, conte, pastel), then a coat of clear gel medium mixed with gesso, and then white paint that was previously mixed with the two clear mediums? Also curious about why you mixed gesso and gel medium and if you have a specific proportion you like to use.

    1. That’s pretty much the order, but with some back and forth as I adjusted things later on. Also I actually waited until after the first coat of acrylic medium to use the conte crayon, but there wasn’t really a reason to wait. The yellow ochre pastel was also close to the end, just for the beak and legs, once it was time to work on the finer details.

      The clear gesso dries with a faintly gritty surface, almost like very fine sandpaper. This is meant to provide a toothy surface for paint to hold onto it better than a slick surface. You can do something like make a drawing, seal it with clear gesso, and then paint over it with either acrylic or even oil paint.

      I find it to be a little too gritty for drawing back on top of, so I rein it in a little with a roughly 1:1 mix with clear gel. The reason I want some grit though and don’t just used the gel by itself is so there’s enough tooth pick up dry media like more graphite if I decide on a later layer that there needs to be an adjustment. 🙂

  3. Oh this is very cute and great work the photo inspired you on drawing beautifully! I follow your Blog here now I came across through Laura (createarteveryday) I hope you will connect and visit my Blog too – Carolina

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