Back To The Drawing Board With A Bird Sketch & The Inner Art Process

Have you been drawing while I was away? Not as much as you intended to, right? If so, here’s Blue Jay to sketch and entice you back to the drawing board.

Blue Jay To Sketch

Blue Jay To Sketch

Wait – don’t hit that back button yet! You don’t have to draw every single detail of this scene. Draw a study instead, and no persons or Blue Jays shall be harmed (or overdrawn) in the making of the drawing.

A study is just that. Sketch this scene with an eye to proportion, with emphasis placed on the Blue Jay, and not much else.

I used a grid to help keep the proportions right, and made one for you too.  It’s at the bottom of the post.

The trick to sketching a scene like this in a quick-ish manner is to skip lots of details. You have to learn to tune them out and see only the building blocks and how they’re put together.

Simplified Blue Jay

Simplified Blue Jay

I’ve blurred the photo in Photoshop to give you an idea of what I mean. Imagine that you’re concentrating on the general shape of things so well that the details blur and, like in this image, you’re left with only big lovely shapes and simplified shading.

(I’ve included this photo at the end of the post too.)

Simplifying the drawing ushers us into an understanding of these drawing rules:

Drawing Rule No. 467.25 – Simple is better.

Drawing Rule No. 467.25.a – To keep it simple, leave stuff out.

Drawing Rule No. 467.25.b – Concentrate on one part of the drawing and let the rest of it follow along.

Line Drawing Of Photo

Line Drawing Of Photo

Here’s my line drawing. What I like best about this photo is the Blue Jay, so I concentrated on drawing him well, but then all those leaves got to me with their sexy negative and positive shapes. I listened to their seductive whispers and drew them too. (When will I ever learn.)

 

 

Listening To The Muse (Or Whatever)

Blue Jay Sketch

Blue Jay Sketch

Here’s the finished drawing. As you can see, I drew very few of the leaves.

The “positive and negative shape” drama was my ego talking. My ego has no taste for hard work though, and takes a hike when it’s time to put the pencil to the paper.

My ego does this to me all the time. It whispers things to me that make my ears tingle. It tells me that if I follow it I’ll be a wonderful artist who creates divinely inspired work! And I fall for this line because I’m human and all that stuff sounds like so much fun … and easy … if only I’d just follow …

… I’d never get anything done!

I know this from lots and lots of experience. The ego’s ideas never work. They’re usually a tiny bit of an idea that’s spun into a overinflated illusion, kind of like cotton candy. (What a disappointment!)

My real Muse is practical. It gives me the information I need to get the drawing done and then it’s ready to move on to the next one. Bingo-Bango, no time to listen for the applause, keep movin’ along there Buckaroo.

Then I get to experience the incredibly good feeling of making progress in the direction I really want to go.

To re-cap:

Ego’s voice = lots of ear tingling ideas that never actually manifest because they aren’t thought out or doable.

Muse’s voice = Get this piece done, start on the next, and don’t look back.

Oh Wait, Is Something Missing?

My dear pencil sisters and brothers, you’re wondering why I veered off course with the Muse talk and where the in-between steps of this drawing are, aren’t you? But the steps are right there in the finished drawing, you big sillies. They always are.

Now I hear someone thinking, “That’s all well and good and Zen, Carol, and we sure are happy that you figured out the Muse thing, but why aren’t you really showing the steps of the drawing?”

The truth is I broke my leg in September. It was wired and bolted back together three months ago, but I can’t get to my scanner, or anywhere else, easily because I’m still wearing a huge (and by huge I mean a Frakking Ginormous, six-strapped, side fortified with aluminum bars with built in rotating knee joints) leg brace, so I told you about the steps of my inner art process instead of showing the drawing steps. I request that you use your imaginations to fill in the visual blanks of this tutorial, please.

Thank you, and keep those pencils moving no matter what big things are weighting you down, or sweet nothings you’re tempted to take a bite of.

Draw on!
Carol

Images To Download

Blue Jay Photo

Blue Jay Photo

Simplified Blue Jay

Simplified Blue Jay

Grid Over Blue Jay

Grid Over Blue Jay

Grid

Grid

A Simplified Grid Drawing Plan

•On the paper, draw the same sized gird that’s drawn on the bird. (Use a window as a back-light to see the grid through the paper.)
•Start with the largest shapes, and then add smaller ones later. Use the lines as landmarks to draw them in the right positions, and at the right sizes.

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About Carol

I'm an artist, an accidental author, and lover of life. I grew up in Yorktown, Indiana, and I've been writing this website since 1999.
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