Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Illustration Friday: Tribal

Well, that was a nice deviation from my usual art. Tried to make a bunny look like a Papuan mask.

Watercolor Birds #29: Common Gallinule

I've never heard of these birds before, but I might have seen them somewhere and mistaken them for coots. They're found pretty much all over the world, so their name is appropriate. I love how large their legs are.

The shape of the bird could have been better, but that's the risk when you paint directly, without drawing first. I'm pretty pleased with the painting itself, though the right leg could use some improvements.  

Animal Alphabets: J is for Jackalope

Monday, May 30, 2016

Watercolor Birds #28: Crows

These are actually two species of crows. The Hooded Crow, a European species, is on the left, and the American Crow seems a little upset. I still used the simplified technique here, but added a few details. I'm pretty pleased with the way they both came out.

Then I thought it needs a bit more color, so added some background digitally:


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Watercolor Birds #27: Black-Billed Cuckoo

I don't think I've ever seen these birds, or heard them. But they fit nicely into my experimentation with this simplified method.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Watercolor Birds #26: White Wagtail

I am continuing with the simplified technique I started with the Carolina Wren. Today I tried it with the White Wagtail, a bird that signifies the coming of Fall in Israel, as it migrates from Europe to spend the winter in warmer climates.

Aside from a few slips and some blobbiness on the left bird, I think I am getting better. It's nice to be able to paint a couple of birds in a short time, and to do it without drawing first.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Illustration Friday: Wheels

This one was tough. The bunny was fine, but the background took me such a long time. I need to learn more about backgrounds. They're much harder than it seems. Well, at least for me.

Watercolor birds #25: Eastern Kingbird

Today I continued trying my hand at simplified birds. I believe it went a little better today.

Still not perfect, but at least I didn't overwork it too much.
I also tried one with a bird in flight.

What can I say. I obviously have much to learn, but this was quite fun, as it doesn't take as long when you're not paying too much attention to details. Need more practice. Luckily, there are 25 more birds that I need to paint. Woo-hoo! Half way through!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Watercolor Birds #24: Carolina Wren

I thought I'd try something a little different today. I saw this watercolor video and figured I'd give it a go. I really appreciate people who post tutorials online. It's so helpful to see what techniques different people use, especially when you're trying to learn on your own, as opposed to in a class. I also like this guy's tutorials. 

Anyway, the idea is to keep it simple, using just a few brush strokes to create a bird.

As you can see, it didn't work all that well for me. I need to gain more control on my brush strokes and not overwork it. But it's good practice, so I'll keep trying.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Watercolor Birds #23: Northern Cardinal

Surprise! This Northern Cardinal is not bright red! That's because it's a juvenile.

I got me some new brushes, one very very fine (size 3/0, whatever that means) and the other really big (size 8). With these new brushes I could do feather details and smudgy background. But I still need to practice backgrounds, as well as background-foreground interactions. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Animal Alphabets: I is for Imp

This is my first #AnimalAlphabets entry. I just learned about it recently.
I'm looking forward for more, because the animals seem to be mostly magical.

Watercolor Birds #22: Laughing Gull

Laughing gulls do not simply laugh, they laugh at you. Meanly. They are so funny.
I first saw these birds just a few weeks ago, on Amelia Island, Florida. The shores are crowded with people scanning the waterline for shark teeth. We did that too, and I'm sure the gulls were laughing at us, because we didn't find a single tooth.

This poor gull's bill is so much bigger than it should be, it almost looks like a pelican.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Watercolor Birds #21: Common Grackle

This one is best looked at from a distance...

I experimented again with letting go of control. This bird has so many details, it was daunting just to think about drawing them all. So I smeared and lightly swooshed the brush for the feather effect. I think it worked, especially if you stand about 50 feet away and squint :) Also, didn't consider the long tail when I started drawing, so about half of it is cut off.

But it was quite fun, painting this way, despite the ants that invaded my desk and had me hold the sketchbook on my lap while painting. That's alright, I have them feast on some sugary borax solution. They will not come back for more. This is how I thank them for reminding me to clean my office/studio every now and then.

May 23rd update:
The upper back feathers looked like a weird shoulder, so I tried to fix it. Also, the light in which I took the picture is different, which produces different, more accurate, colors. (It was rainy and dark, so I had the lights on the day I first painted this grackle.)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Watercolor Birds #20: Rock Pigeon

Aren't pigeons cute? Whenever I look at one - and I admit, it happens quite often - my heart melts a little bit. They're just so adorable. I especially like the way they walk, with their head moving back and forth.

I tried to let go of some control here, allowing the watercolor run a bit more than I usually do. Also, had to figure out how to make the iridescence on the neck. It didn't work all that well. I'll try to find some watercolor videos to see how others do it. Also, I didn't mean for the pot to look like it has a dip. I guess it's a combination of too much dark paint and too much water making the paper cave in a bit. Oh, well. Overall, I'm fairly pleased with the result.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dream Birds

If you've ever wondered what a person who draws birds and cartoons all day, and counts penguins the rest of her time, dreams about at night - and I won't blame you if you hadn't - here's the answer:

I dreamed about the penguin a few nights ago, and about the blue-parrot-with-duck-bill the night after. In both dreams the birds didn't like me. I tried to understand why, and came up with this wonderful excuse: I had petted a weasel before (at least that was the excuse for the parrot, I don't remember the one I dreamed for the penguin).

But obviously they know the real reason.

Watercolor Birds #19: Pileated Woodpecker

I'm pretty sure I saw this guy in the woods. It's the only woodpecker, besides the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, that has this nice red crest. The other red-headed one don't have a crest (is crest the right word for it?).

I think I'm pretty pleased with the result, considering I didn't spend too much time on it. It helps when there aren't too many speckles!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Watercolor Birds #18: Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebes are a type of flycatcher, so I learned that today. We heard them while walking in the forest in Northern Georgia, and wondered what they were. Since I didn't get a good glimpse of one, I had to figure that out by song alone, which is always hard to do.

I wanted to make up for yesterday's bird so I found a Phoebe picture with the wing feathers distinct like that, and decided to try and do a better job at defining those feathers. I think I managed, but it did take me longer than I allot for this project. Oh well, I'm doing this to learn, am I not?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Watercolor Birds #17: Barn Swallow

For today's bird I decided to draw one that we saw yesterday, flying over the Chattahoochee River. They fly so fast! I'm amazed someone managed to get such a great photo of them. Also, rather than sitting, I figured I should try my hand at drawing a flying bird, since that's what these birds seem to do most of the time.

A conversation with myself at the completion of the painting:

Me: There are so many things wrong with this Barn Swallow, I don't know where to start.
Myself: Hey this is my first flying bird, give me a break!
Me: Yes, but putting the leg in the wrong place has nothing to do with it!
Myself: Well, sure it does. Leg position in flying's not the same as standing.
Me: And what about the crappy feathers?
Myself: Oh, There were too many of them with those open wings.
Me: Fine. As long as you use this experience to learn from your mistakes!
Myself (looking down, ashamed, mumbling): Of course I will. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Illustration Friday: Nostalgia

When I hear the word Nostalgia, I immediately think of the cartoons in Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer. So I decided to make one of my Design 100 Somethings bunnies into a Victorian Bunny.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Watercolor Birds #16: Cactus Wren

For today's bird I decided to go with a bird from the area where I spent 7 and a half years of my life. I figured I can work on the local wren some other day, as they are also very cute.

This one was difficult! It took me more than an hour an a half... But I guess I did have to do the cactus, as well. All those speckles are hard, though, and all those different colors together - black, brown, white. Okay, enough complaining.

Fun fact: The Cactus Wren is the largest wren in North America!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Watercolor Birds #15: Eastern Bluebird

Need to improve my fluff-rendering skills...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Watercolor Birds #14: Field Sparrow

There's a bird that looks like a sparrow and sings a beautiful song, and the song doesn't compare to any of the sparrow songs I've heard on-line. The only one that comes close is this one, which is of a Field Sparrow. Field sparrow populations, according to AllAboutBirds.org, are declining due to their difficulty nesting in suburban habitats. I can't think of anywhere more suburban than where I live. Strip mall galore! Yet, I hear these guys all the time. My inability to find an exact match for their song, and the information about their nesting preference, made me doubt my ID skills. But as varied as Field Sparrow song is - and it is extremely varied: every song you listen to is different! - all the songs I've heard have a common pattern: 3 or 4 notes followed by a trill. I think the song I hear here is the most beautiful :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Watercolor Birds #13: Common Potoo

This is a bird that I've never seen, and I wish I had. Isn't it the most adorable thing? It has multiple adorable positions, but I wanted one that shows how lizard-like it is. It may not be the best to show it, because the ones that really look like lizards have their eyes closed. But I also wanted one with open eyes. I'm sure this is not the last potoo I draw.

This bird lives in Central and South America, and is related to frogmouths and nightjars. Below is a digital drawing I made of a Papuan Frogmouth, another adorable bird:

Monday, May 9, 2016

Watercolor Birds #12: House Finch

Also known as Birdie Sanders

Today's bird is the very common House Finch. It is a male, and probably a bit redder than it should be. I like the finches, even though they're not as spectacular as some other birds, and their song is not quite as pretty as that of the Field Sparrow, the Eastern Towhee, or the Carolina Chickadee. 
Here's what AllAboutBirds.org has to say about the House Finch:
The House Finch is a recent introduction from western into eastern North America (and Hawaii), but it has received a warmer reception than other arrivals like the European Starling and House Sparrow. That’s partly due to the cheerful red head and breast of males, and to the bird’s long, twittering song, which can now be heard in most of the neighborhoods of the continent. If you haven’t seen one recently, chances are you can find one at the next bird feeder you come across.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

SCBWI Draw This: Borrow

Alvin "borrowed" a couple of feathers from Mike

This month's SCBWI's DrawThis is Borrow, and immediately I thought of a bird "borrowing" feathers from a "prettier" bird. Getting the wings folded like that took some figuring out, but I like the way Alvin turned out, all smug and cute. It's not that he doesn't appreciate his own looks, he's just pleased that he managed to get his wings on a few of Mike's treasured feathers, so he can make a little fun of his friend's cockiness. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Illustration Friday: Tattoo

This is the Thug Bunny, from my Design 100 Somethings (#100somethings) project, bunny #14. Just colored it and added the carrot tattoo.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Watercolor Birds #11: Hoopoe

Hoopoe is a bird I used to see all the time, growing up in Israel. Though I enjoyed seeing it, I took it for granted. Now I never see it anymore. Even when I go visit, it seems so rare. I think I might have seen it twice in all the times I've visited. I wonder what happened. Is it just my perception, or did they decide to move to different habitats? I don't know. I guess I could research it. ***[Doing some research.]***  Okay, did some quick research. Found nothing, other than the former president of Israel lamenting that some birds have become rarer in Israel than they used to be. Here are some other facts about hoopoes, if you're interested.

Edit: Just noticed that the tail is too short! Dammit! Here's the hoopoe with a longer tail:

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Watercolor Birds #10: Brown Thrasher

Bird number 10! Woohoo!
Fun fact: Brown Thrashers have a variety of songs, sort of like the Northern Mockingbirds. The difference between them is that the thrashers repeat their syllables twice, while the mockingbirds do it three times or more. Here's a link to this info and more.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Watercolor Birds #9: Carolina Chickadee

I'm pretty pleased with how this little bird came out, though the branch could have been better.
These chickadees are so cute, and so is their song

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Watercolor Birds #8: Pine Warbler

I intended to paint a Carolina chickadee, but then I noticed this yellow bird on my morning walk, so decided to ID it and paint it. I'm not 100% sure the bird I saw was a pine warbler, but it's a fair possibility.
Anyway, I had some major problems with the feet. As you can see, I had to resort to defining them with a pen. Also had problems with the wing, which I hadn't made wide enough and had to enlarge. One must draw well before painting! Forty two birds to go!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Watercolor Birds: Flycatcher

Great crested flycatcher

Boy, do I suck at backgrounds...

This is bird number 7 of my project. The idea is to watercolor a bird every weekday. But I realized that I didn't put a limit to it, which is necessary. Without it, it would be a never-ending project, without a complete product. So I therefore decide that the end would be when I travel away, as it is unlikely I'd get a bird painted on the plane or even have much time to do this when I get there. This gives me 42 more weekdays, which should add up to 49 birds. But 49, though the square of 7, is not a round number. I guess I'll have to draw two birds in one of those days to make it a nice round number of 50. There you go. Fifty watercolor birds it is.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Illustration Friday: Smoke #2

This is another one of my 100 bunny designs (#100somethings).