Janet Flinn's web site Site map for Janet Flinn's Bird And Wildlife Art web site Janet Flinn's Paintings Gallery Contact the artist Janet Flinn Janet Flinn's Gallery of Bird Prints News page about Janet Flinn's wildlife art Galleries where you may see Janet Flinn's paintings and prints About Bird Watching-Trip Reports Janet Flinn's links

Sketching Birds in a Visual Diary by Janet Flinn

Tips & Techniques for Sketching Nature with Pencils, Pen & Watercolour.

Sketching is a wonderful way to record your observations and adds to your enjoyment of Bird Watching. Start by sketching the common birds in places where they are used to people. Make short notes around your drawing to clarify details and to mention any interesting behavior. Notes should include name of bird, where seen and date seen. Other notes could include colours of plumage, beak and feet. Sketches of the habitat are useful and make your sketch-book more interesting.

Materials: An A5 Sketchbook, HB & 2B pencils. A small field set of Watercolors is useful for making colour notes.

(Click here for an Example of Birding Colour Notes)

Method: Study the proportions of the bird. Compare the length of the beak against the length of legs and feet, the size and position of the eye, the length of the tail against the length of the wings etc. Draw only what you see & don't make anything up. If you can't see the tail and you add a tail of the wrong length or colour, you will create a different species.

Sketching Method: Using light 'search' lines draw the basic oval shapes of head and body. Sketch lightly and quickly. Plot the angle of body and head, the position and angle of the tail, the position and tilt of the beak and the position of the eye in relationship to beak. Don't use a rubber yet.

Use a HB or 2B pencil very lightly at first to refine the shape of the bird. Look for the facets where you think you see curved shapes. Change to a softer pencil or press more heavily to develop the drawing and add tone. A small piece of kneadable rubber or a small piece cut from a white rubber, can be used to remove unwanted lines such as the original basic shapes, horizontal & vertical check lines but don't be too worried about eliminating all the original 'search' lines. In a sketch book these add interest and sometimes a suggestion of movement.

Birds are generally on the move, so try very small, quick action drawings without detail (Picture 1) or concentrate on a part of the bird you can see clearly e.g. the head. (Picture 2) As the bird moves, lightly sketch the different positions and then go back to previous drawings as the bird resumes that position.

1.If birds are moving do many small quick sketches.

Rainbow Bee-eaters
2. Focus on an area e.g. head Return to a pose as the bird does.

Details of Classes with Janet Flinn at Bird Week May 2011 Fraser Island Queensland Australia

Click here for link to the Kingfisher Bay Fraser Island Web site for Details of Booking at Bird Week etc

All art is copyright and must not be reproduced in any form without the consent of the artist©

Janet Flinn's web site Site map for Janet Flinn's Bird And Wildlife Art web site Janet Flinn's Paintings Gallery Contact the artist Janet Flinn Janet Flinn's Gallery of Bird Prints News page about Janet Flinn's wildlife art Galleries where you may see Janet Flinn's paintings and prints About Bird Watching-Trip Reports Janet Flinn's links