Sunday, February 11, 2007

OT: Bird Drawing

Anyone who has been a birder for a while inevitably develops certain specialties; favorite groups of birds, favorite methods of recording sightings, favorite offshoots of birding... As you can guess from this blog, one of my interests is the history of birds and bird study. Another one is bird art. That's probably unavoidable for someone who has been drawing and doodling since she could hold a writing implement, and who also majored in Art History in college. Bird art ranges from quick sketches made in the field to document sightings to finished artwork in many media by a host of skilled artists.

Even in this day of digiscoping, drawing is an excellent way of observing, documenting and learning birds. Unfortunately, relatively few birders do it. There are various reasons for this, but one is that many of us are taught that art is the province of the talented few. In fact, getting started in field sketching takes one thing: getting started. Talent helps, but just making time and space to practice drawing will take you a long way.

I found this post at Drawing the Motmot via The Birdchaser. It's an approachable recipe for getting started in drawing. This other post at Getting Things Done in Academia expands on the original post, and talks about why drawing is a useful skill for scientists to have. I recommend both posts to anyone who wants to try field sketching.


zeladoniac said...

A good field sketch is an iconic image of the bird and a useful tool for i.d. Your Sabine's gull demonstrates your point perfectly. Lovely job, it's instantly recognizable.

Jennifer Hanson said...

Hi Zeladoniac,

Thanks! Sabine's Gull does help the would-be artist with those big white triangles on the wings; bold markings that are fun to draw.

Thanks for stopping by, and more thanks for your post.