How To Draw A Bird Pencil Sketch

April 18, 2019 7:03 am by theundertown
Simple pencil drawing in birds drawing of sketch
How to draw and shade a bird with pencil drawing shading
How To Draw A Bird Pencil Sketch

Once the eye and beak are outlined, begin to fill in the feathers using short feathery strokes in the direction you see them growing.

The first step is draw a simple outline of the shape of the bird’s head. No details just yet! Use your eraser to change your lines if you need to, until you arrive at a simple outline that captures the right shape of your reference bird.

In the first paragraphs I mentioned that to learn how to draw a bird you need to master how to capture two basic body parts; the head and the trunk. When you draw Kingfisher, the beak is very distinctive and needs a special attention in order not to destroy the drawing you’ve just made.

I used two color pencils to create the best possible look of the beak.

Although I am teaching you here of how to draw a bird, I am also a human, making mistakes; so I want to show you what I just did. I was “too much in a hurry” and made too strong wing feather contour outlines.

Originally I didn’t want to let you see this mistake but since we all can learn from this I want to show it to you…not to make the same “quick step”.

When you have the orange part almost ready, you can begin to put color on the blue parts. I would recommend coloring all in the same intensity without pushing the pencil. Just blunt light blue color. Mind however, that you make the pencil strokes in the same direction as the feathers – simultaneously.

That will create a natural realistic look.

You may be wondering why I have chosen Kingfisher. Simple; I like Kingfisher. It’s a lovely and clever small creature and you may be lucky if you spot some in wilderness. Besides, Kingfisher is also an excellent and easy exercise of how to draw a bird.

Now you can begin to put color. The reason I started with orange colored body parts is that those are the easiest to color. Blue colored feathers need a little detailed work. So work out the orange color first.

Notice that the feathers on the bird’s belly are made by single pencil strokes of different intensity. Some parts are darker orange and some are very light.

Here comes a little difficult part. But only a little. The feathers on the bird’s head and the neck (collar). They are combined with darker spots. These spots are an effect of layers of the feathers.

Birds are my favorite creatures to draw and paint, and my most frequent request from students: “I want to draw a bird, but it looks so hard!” Drawing a realistic bird all comes back to seeing our subject closely and paying extra attention to the eyes. When our bird has a spark of life in its eye, the rest falls into place.

How To Draw A Bird Let’s admit it: knowing how to draw a bird is one of the “must” skills. There are only a few common themes even children often attempt to draw almost instinctively. Bird is among them.

To learn some simple bird drawings is in fact very easy and I’ll show you here how to do it. Once you know the basics – the “recipe” – it may surprise you how simple it is. On the other hand an entirely different thing is if you attempt to draw a real bird or to make a real bird drawing from photo, which you want to draw realistic.

There you simply should be as exact as possible and capture every important feature. But I can assure you, that even such seemingly “difficult” drawing is in fact simple, because the process of drawing is exactly the same as for any other object.

Before you make the first pencil strokes, try to divide the body into smaller sections. Both the head and the trunk are ellipses. You can also notice that the back curve continues directly to the beak.

It is – of course – an imaginary line, but it helps a lot to create balance and capture the best proportions. When you draw a bird you need to seriously capture 2 basic body volumes as accurate as possible in the beginning.

Those are the head and the trunk.

Here I erased and softened these feather outlines. Now they are acceptable but we shall work them out later.

It is better if you add a good background color when you draw a bird. The background color should come as the last – if you draw on white paper. Good idea is to draw on colored paper from the beginning.

Kingfisher’s natural environment is water with greenery. I put this moss green background so that the white part on the throat will also be visible better. Some Interesting Drawings

Divide these areas. Outline the eye. Please make a special attention when you draw the eye. Notice how close the eye actually is to the beak. It almost touches it. Almost every bird has the eye very close to the beak.

But when we draw birds out of our heads (without seeing one) we tend to draw the eye in the middle of the head and wondering why this bird looks so unnatural. You’ve just discovered a drawing technique trick of knowing how to draw a bird.

From now on you can begin to refine the detail drawings. Observe how each part on the body is of different color.

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The aim is not to draw every feather, but a suggestion of feathery stories that imitate the direction the bird’s real feathers grow in. Study my example to get a sense of how this step might look. Take your time to really see.

Observe once more the ready bird drawing on the top and pay special attention to the position of the eye. Note, that the eye is closer to the beak, so outline the eye first only by a weak pencil line, very gently.

Then, the line you drew before becomes the center of the beak. Again, pay close attention to your reference and draw the upper and lower beak using your original line as the center.

My first drawing this year, been drawing for 14 months now learing to draw more realistically

You can erase the excess pencil lines and slowly get closer to the real shape. If possible start from the head, which naturally leads you to draw the beak.

I show you first how to draw a bird – in general, simple approach. Here you’ll quickly master the fundamentals of bird’s body. Before drawing an outline, try to observe the bird’s body proportions on the picture above.

Please do not watch the feather layer or similar details – yet. Simply see how big is the head in comparison to the trunk, how long is the tail…and, that the beak is directed slightly upward. Every bird – as we all perceive it – has a beak, a head, a trunk (body), two legs and a tail.

Combine these two color pencils on a separate paper first. Leave the bright line in the middle of the beak and try to make the shades on the beak looking as natural as possible.

  • Photo of your favorite bird that clearly shows the head and the eye
  • HB or No. 2 pencil, well-sharpened
  • Blending stump or tortillon
  • Sketchbook or drawing paper
  • Eraser

In logical order, someone may start drawing bird from the trunk and someone else from the head. I used to start to draw birds from the head, while at the same time intensely observing the proportions of both; head and trunk.

These two body parts must be in good balance when you draw a bird from the very rough beginning if you want to be satisfied with your finalized drawing. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to say which way is the correct one to start with.

It is individual and it also depends on your drawing skill level. I would say, also try to use your intuition a little, because drawing is a creative activity and you often cannot make it simply by following a prescribed manual.

Every bird has different body proportions. For instance, kingfisher, that small tiny cute creature has the beak almost the same size as its body. In such case you should pay special attention to the size and shape of the beak because it is one of the main features on your bird drawing.

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Bird’s tail serves as a supporter when sitting and it often moves up and down depending on the bird’s position. The tail consists of several long feathers assembled into a fan-like shape and it actually looks like feathers piled up on each other.

Birds make notoriously poor models — they just don’t sit still long enough! My advice for beginners is to buy a good field guide to your local birds and use the photos for reference as you sketches. Once you have some confidence, you can begin to sketch them from life, or from photographs that you take.

By very gentle pencil touch, outline the feathers on the wings and on the back. These weak lines will serve you as important guidelines when you draw a bird in color (pencils or other medium). Make sure you have the eye done right.

Notice that the eye is darkest in the middle. There are two small light reflection spots on the upper side of the eye. Draw them, I mean use your pencil-shaped eraser or kneaded eraser and make those highlight spots there.

Those light spots will make the bird look very realistic.

Generally, a bird’s trunk is almost always a teardrop-shaped fuselage. When you draw a bird always keep in mind that bird, in fact, is a small living airplane. As always, use tilted pencil, loose grip and your lines will be much stable and exact.

Now you can join the head circle and the body fuselage together by gentle curves that will create the bird’s neck. At this stage, the drawing – sketching, is still very rough so make as many pencil lines as necessary.

Add the tail, mark out the wigs – just approximately, outline the beak and draw the legs. While drawing and sketching these basic body parts, always keep your eye on the good balance and proportions of the entire drawing.

At this stage you have a basic body outline of a bird.

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So here is an imaginary artwork with ballpens Nataraj. Some houses, trees and reflection on a lake nearby. I like this type of view. So even in the

Draw the eye. Draw it in details if possible. If you’ll have the eyes ready, suddenly the bird will start being more alive than only a drawing. Work out the beak as best as you can. Kingfisher has rather huge beak comparing to the bird’s body.

Such beak needs a little detailed “make up”.

Previously submitted a penguin. Here is it’s baby! Thought this one would be a bit easier and quicker….but that proved not to be true! All of my sketches

After you have your outline, erase any extra lines that you don’t need.

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Draw a circular shape for the eye, paying close attention to the shape of your bird’s eye in your reference. Mine was very round and sat right behind the break on the line that I had drawn.

A bird’s eye is a reflective orb. We need to show the roundness and reflective quality.  The line you drew across its center marks where the eye is fullest, most round. Below that line you will fill in the features of the eye, and above it you will draw the illusion of what might be reflected in it.

Here is another imaginary view with ballpens Nataraj. Except the pure yellow on the sky which is with a gel ink pen Tuzoo. This is because the yellow

Once the beak is complete, draw a slightly curved line across the center of the eye. Often, in reference images, the bird’s eye is so small that we cannot see anything but black. We can still create a realistic looking eye, regardless of what our reference image shows. The center line in the eye is where to begin.

Following the example, use the tip of your pencil to draw a darker line that rims the entire eye. Leave some white space around the outer edge. Then, fill in the lower section with a light layer of graphite. Next, draw a darker half-circle, in the shape of a U. Leave the upper half of the eye blank for now.

Then draw a line depicting where the eye sits, straight through the center of the beak. Pay close attention here. This line captures the tilt of the bird’s head. You will see how this helps us in the next step.

Gradually continue to put darker blue on all blue parts where necessary. On the back, you can occasionally use also orange. Be very careful with orange color on the blue parts because you’ll easily get an unwanted green.

The green color actually is there, but very weak. Almost insignificant.

Erase the rest of all unnecessary initial pencil lines and you have a beautiful picture to add to your collection of bird drawings. Let’s Learn How To Draw A Bird Kingfisher

Finally, carefully fill in the upper half of the eye with tiny strokes, leaving little flecks of white paper. These flecks give the illusion of reflection and are what give your bird’s eye that spark it needs to look real. It’s so tiny, but take your time.

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The next step is to fill in the bird’s beak. Using the tip of your pencil, lightly fill in the upper and lower beak, making note on your reference to where it is darkest and lightest. I like to fill in the lightest areas first, and then add the darks. Typically the upper beak becomes light toward the center line, and the lower beak is all dark.

When you’re happy with your shading, lightly smooth over the drawing — except for the beak and the eye — with a blending stump or tortillon. Always use your blending tool in the same direction of form as you did your initial pencils marks. Use a very light touch to avoid embedding the graphite into the paper, and so that you can still see the feathery strokes through the blended graphite.

Before you use a blending stick to put the final touches on your bird, take a few moments to add in some of the darker areas you notice on your reference image. For me, it was darkness right around the eye area and in the pupil.

These are typically very simple shapes, but you need to pay close attention to get the outline just right.

  • Made for Each Other: How to Combine Watercolor & Colored Pencils
  • Bring on the BBQ: How to Bake Your Own Hamburger Buns
  • Shake Up Your Urban Sketching: Add Colored Pencils!

Right now, let’s learn how to capture the most important thing: the spark in the eye.

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