Bird sketches

>> Thursday, June 28, 2007

I just finished a new series of bird illustrations, this time done in pencil. At the risk of sounding odd, I was excited to rediscover the 3B pencil. I got into the habit of using a 2B because it doesn't smudge as much, but the softer pencils do shading beautifully, and you can get nice dark black tones as well. The image above is the layout I decided on for greeting cards that I'm planning to have printed today.

In case anyone is interested and doesn't know, the typical yellow pencil that everyone commonly uses is the HB. But artists generally prefer a softer lead, the larger the number in the B range, the softer the lead is. Ie, 6B is a very very soft drawing pencil, nice for shading and can create very dark black shadows. It also smudges very easily (can be good or bad depending on what you want) and the lead can also break more easily and need frequent sharpening. The H pencils get harder as the number goes up, so for example a 3H pencil may be good for drafting where you want light clean lines, no smudging and no need for dark shading.
This one is the Eastern kingbird.
This is the Tufted titmouse. He's my favourite. Not my all-time favourite bird, which is the robin, but my favourite in this series.
This one is the Yellow warbler.
And finally, a goldfinch.


sew nancy June 28, 2007  

They are really beautiful. I agree with you The Tufted Titmouse is my favorite too. I've been very into birds this past year and although I know some say they are's one trend I really agree with.


Jannie aka Chickengirl June 29, 2007  

lovely drawings...I can tell you have a love for shows :-)

ellen June 29, 2007  

What lovely drawings. What lovely birds. You could do a drawing of a Jay and that might help me get over my dislike (total to the max) of Jays. They steal my cat food, dog food, are rude and obstreperous. I know they are part of Nature's Plan..but..I have a total Thing with them.
I love those little sweet finches. They look like the canaries I used to have and that I so loved.

Anonymous,  July 01, 2007  

Your sketches are gorgeous, such talent!

Anonymous,  July 05, 2007  

These are breathtaking; I love that they are black and white --somehow their true bird-ness, their true nature, comes through more clearly when you aren't distracted by their colors. Thank you for showing us!

Ale July 06, 2007  

So beautyfull!!!!!

molly | July 10, 2007  

i just saw these on flickr and I absolutely love them. they are so beautiful in black and white and yet you can still tell exactly what species of bird they are.
you are so talented, claire!

ofpinsandneedles September 20, 2007  

Funnily enough, the standard HB pencil in this country is blue. I use pencils for underlining things in books (once an English literature student, always a reader with a pencil) more than anything else, and I like a 2B because you don't have to press hard at all for a good line so it doesn't indent into the other pages. Those are handsome, beautiful, wonderful sketches. And what brilliant names! I've never heard of The Tufted Titmouse, but - how great!

Anonymous,  June 02, 2009  

These are wonderful

Suresh December 06, 2010  

awesome sketches!!!

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