3.5/5 stars. At only 32 pages, this was a fast read, but a worthwhile one. I read the whole thing last night, and I’m glad I did. I did pick up a few tips I can use when drawing the species he includes, and a few techniques that will help me along with other birds as well.
For the most part, though, this is a study of six birds: the Barred Owl, Great Blue Heron, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Gray Parrot, Pileated Woodpecker, and the Black-capped Chickadee. The author gives very detailed, step-by-step instructions of how to draw each bird in graphite, including which pencils he uses for each step. It makes for pretty boring reading, actually, but if you’re using this book to complete a drawing of a chickadee, for example, then you might find it helpful as a start.
For me, the most useful part of this book is the section on drawing specific bird features, such as the beak, foot, flight feathers, etc.: information you can take to any bird species. I’m not really looking for a paint-by-number approach to a specific bird, as detailed here, but rather a general approach that will give me the confidence to tackle any bird I might come across.
I am finding this book much more useful in that endeavor:
I’ve not read it from cover-to-cover, so I won’t post a review just yet, but browsing the first few pages, I found tons of information that will help you understand bird anatomy, to rough-in basic shapes, explains the importance of understanding the angle of the head, spine and tail, etc. This is good stuff, and I believe it’ll help you produce a more accurate drawing. I highly recommend it. This book actually helped me to create some nice cardinal Christmas cards this year, because without a good underdrawing, you can’t expect a great (or even good) painting. I followed this book’s step-by-step suggestions for drawing the cardinal, and now I’m able to feel more confident drawing almost any bird.
I hope I’ve inspired some of you to try drawing and painting birds. If anyone can suggest any good books that helped them, I’d be thrilled to hear about them, also.