Bitter Grounds Magazine

espresso fueled ramblings

Written by catpaw

October 25, 2020

A pencil sketch of a captivating little songbird

Still whiling away the Covid hours, this time with a little songbird pencil sketch. I’ve pottered around with the camera a bit, but nothing seems to pop out saying “post me”. Plus, it’s something to do with the relentless gloom.

I started on another street scene, but I’m struggling with the basics. The perspective is almost there, but something is off kilter. It’s difficult to pin down. To fight the frustration, I switched gears back to my old feathered friends.  After flipping through a couple books, I settled on a lovely little winter sparrow. It’s also called an American Sparrow.

Start of a songbird pencil sketch

Pencil sketch of a winter sparrow - first draft

Start of a little songbird sketch

I thought about the lessons I learned over the last few years and applied them. First thing I did was layout the entire scene. In the past, I focused too much on one small area and work out from there. I sketched the outline of the bird. Then I traced in the branches and then the leaves. Working on the entire image, rather one small spot, made it easier to flesh the scene out. It was also a lot more fun. Working back and forth, laying in the basics then the shading was more challenging and interesting.

One of the other skills I worked on through the years is filling in the small details that create a full scene. Like the veins in the leaves and the shape of the fruit on the branches. I practiced drawing things like spheres and shading them, over and over. I have pages filled with them. The practice paid off. I finally got the shape and the shadows down. This in turn has created a better pencil sketch. Instead of an isolated little bird, I’ve begun to craft a scene.

The finished winter sparrow

Completed songbird sketch showing a little winter sparrow on a branch

A finished winter sparrow

The leg is a little too big and some of the feathers along the back of the sparrow are angled the wrong way. But the branches and fruit make the picture. I need to work on the leaves more. They are too static. I can feel a leaf binge coming on. I also need to work on a stronger sense of movement in the bird itself. Not sure how yet. That baffles me still. The pencil sketch is good but lacks a sense of realism. The bird isn’t lively enough. That too will come with time.

 

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