Thursday, February 25, 2010

White Stork

"Oh father stork, father stork, fly to your nest;
Three featherless fledglings await your return.
The first of your chicks shall be stuck through the breast,
The second shall hang, and the third shall burn."
-Hans Christian Anderson

I was raised on Hans Christian Anderson because I'm of Danish heritage. And to this day, I contend that the Little Mermaid dies and turns into foam. FOAM, I say. 

Not that that has anything to do with storks.

Eurasian Nutcracker

I am particularly pleased with this one. The angle of his head, the composition... He's one of the few birds that's not in profile.

California Tern

He says "This is my rock! Get away!" In the full picture, there were three other terns surrounding this guy. I can only imagine what they were saying.

Black Necked Stilt

A little wading bird with the eyes of a Japanese cartoon. Also, a California native.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


California version of the Great Cormorant. Dignified birds with black, black feathers.

Common Tern

The curving wing, the moving feathers. Joy.

Sandhill Crane

This is my least favorite bird. I am not happy with his butt region. Apparently, you can't rush butt feathers.

I might like to surgically remove his head and put it on a cuter butt. I think that might be dishonest, though.

Crested Caracara

Watercolor over scans of bird wing bones. I have heard rumors that white is technically a "cheat" in the world of watercolors. Oh well. Cheating sure makes a pretty bird.

Great White Egret

White chalk on black/grey background. High drama. Little bird posed like a flasher. Floating towards you like a ghost.

I <3 this bird.

Great Cormorant

Pen and ink. His perch is a xerox of the bones of a human hand.

The original drawing (that I tore up to make these drawings) contained scans of the human hand, bird wings, and bat wings. At the time, I was fascinated by anatomy and the sheer brilliance of evolution and all its permutations.

Cattle Egret

I like that I found a bird to match this background so well. He's an odd shaped bird.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Love this creature. So funny looking he belongs in a Dr. Suess book. I especially like the details I was able to get in the bill itself. My life goal might be to see this bird in real life. Eurasian zoos, here I come.


I tried to duplicate my technique with the Puffbird here. Although I think the tail worked out, I got lost somewhere in the shoulder area. The Puffbird can kick the Canary's ass anyday.


...singing in the dead of night,
take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life
you were only waiting for this moment to arrive.
Black bird fly...
Black bird fly...
into the light of the dark black night.

Andean Flamingo

OK. Confession time. I drew this one LATE at night after a night out. I purposefully searched for a bird with an easy profile that I could crank out before I passed out. I feel like a cheater for enjoying this bird so much.

Red Crossbill

Their beaks are crossed over so they can tweeze open hard nuts and seeds like a little birdy crowbar. Fulcrum power.

Northern Lapwing

Uck. I drew this bird on the plane ride back from Cancun, after an hour long delay that would make us miss our last BART train home... So I was distracted drawing this bird and it shows. His face is cute, but I got lost in the wing and back section. Ah well. They can't all be beauty queens.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Griffon Vulture

So stately for such an ugly creature. Bald, yet wearing a big pouf of a collar.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I am thrilled with how this technique worked. It looks almost like an etching of a mechanical wind-up bird toy.
I am drawing most of these birds off of the "Wildlife Fact Files" my dad got for me as a child, (Thanks, Dad) so I am learning little random factoids about the birds as I draw. Fun fact about this bird: the Germans call them "lazy birds" because they sit completely motionless for long periods of time waiting for prey such as insects.


Eurasian vulture. Really, really cool looking. I had a lot of fun with this one. I might have to draw this bird again from another angle.

Black Winged Stilt

I brought my bird-drawing supplies with me to Cancun, and drew each night before bed. This is the first of the Cancun birds. I have happy memories associated with these birds.

Great Blue Heron

I see these birds often at Point Isobel. Pretty. I like the neck and body, but I am urked by how stiff the wing looks. Technically accurate, but emotionally dead.

Northern Gannet

I have been taping these up on the wall in my living room (I know, the Museum-trained expert in my brain says "tape is bad! Not conservationally-sound!. But the artist in my brain is lazy and doesn't want to put holes in my wall.) Anyhow - sometimes I write on the tape. The tape above this one simply says "eh."

Shoebill Stork

Neat looking bird. I'm learning that the most fun birds to draw always have a bodily description in the name: *something* bill or *some other thing* beak... or anything "crested."

Monday, February 15, 2010


I am glad that I found a bird to match this oddly marked piece of paper. At this point in the series, I am using pieces of paper that I tore from a four-foot-long drawing I did about ten years ago (in my undergrad.) While it's rewarding to finally turn that terrible drawing into something worthwhile, it can be challenging to match birds to some of the more heavily marked squares.

Black Crowned Night Heron

My second attempt at this bird, and by far the more successful. I am loving this set of black and gray markers.

Brown Pelican

I'm quite pleased with the technique I used on this one. The line quality reminds me of some of the Shel Silverstein drawings and that makes me happy. Unfortunately, I'm learning that it's hard to duplicate success with something as fickle as drawing.


South America has the most fabulously bizarre birds. This one has the head piece of a Vegas showgirl.

Crested Guineafowl

One of my favorites! This guy has an awesome pompador, like Prince.


I'm also not thrilled about this one. At this point, I started getting really frustrated that many of these birds were not satisfying me. But there's always a new bird tomorrow...

Young Black Crowned Night Heron

I'm not a big fan of this one. It's Rick's least favorite and I don't blame him. I think I did this one really late at night.

Blue Footed Boobie

I love this bird. So goofy and cute. I thought I'd draw only "noble" birds like the hawk. Turns out goofy birds are more fun. What a surprise.

California Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk

First bird of the year. Overworked. I tried too hard.