Monday, May 1, 2017

Drawing a Mourning Dove using acrylic inks and pan pastels


This has been an interesting project for me.  I am trying some new techniques and using some new materials I have never used before.  I am still struggling learning to accurately draw birds.  They are more difficult than one would believe. I bought an online class on Craftsy on drawing birds.  The teacher is a very fine bird illustrator and he had us using acrylic inks in many layers.  This creates a beautiful, stained glass-like affect. Wonderful! We have Mourning Doves nesting in our carport every year.  Last year there were 5 broods of nestlings!  They are so cute to watch as their parents care for them.  Mourning Doves are so sweet.  I just love them and thought I would  try my hand at this bird. 
Before we began we made a value drawing and graphed it out to transfer to our final paper.  I learned that I really did not observe the bird very well.  John Muir Laws says he often makes the head too big and yep, so did I.  Amazing how you learn from your mistakes.  I also wanted to slim down the bird a little as I thought she was too fat and puffy.  This was probably another mistake.  I should have followed the photo more closely.

Photo by Pandeeswaran Bhoopathy
Thank you to Pandeeswaran for letting me use your photograph.  He is an amazing photographer!
Here is my value pencil drawing from my source.
I made a photo copy of my drawing and then graphed it out to transfer to my mixed media paper. 

This is the beginning stages of inking my drawing.  I used very thin, pale ink.  
The final stages of inking. 

I decided to add a branch under my bird, but the source photo did not show me the feet.
This made it very difficult.  I am not very good at drawing feet without a source.
So I searched and searched for a photo that might show me a Mourning Dove in this position
where I could see the feet.  But I did not have much luck,
but I finally figured out what to do which you can see in the final photo. 

I was not really very happy with my results.  I felt the bird looked like a pine cone
(a quote from John Muir Laws) because I had drawn every feather!
 A big no no.  So what could I do?  Well I decided to go over my drawing with pan pastels.
They are amazing pastels.  I have worked with stick pastels for years,
but these new pastels are amazing.  They are very transparent and can be put
over the inks making a softer look.  
Doves have a softness to the feathers and the pan pastels really made the dove
look nicer and smoother.  I loved it!

I wanted to add a soft background, so I decided to try my hand at using the pan pastels.
Here is my effort as I was progressing with this.
The pan pastels are so soft and create a fuzzy, soft background.
So here is my mostly finished project.  For a first project using this technique, I am satisfied, but feel I have much more to learn.  But that is a journey I am willing to work toward improving.  And I had fun doing it!

    John is an excellent teacher and has some great bird (and animal) drawing lessons on line. Check his website out.

    Drawing Birds in Brush & Ink with George Boorujy
    George is a very fine bird illustrator and this is an excellent class.