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How to draw a bird?

ArticleBird AdviceWednesday 19 October 2011
There are only a few common themes even children often attempt to draw almost instinctively. Bird is among them.
Once you know the basics - the “recipe” - it may surprise you how simple it is.
On the other hand an entirely different thing is if you attempt to draw a real bird or to make a real bird drawing from photo, which you want to draw realistic.
There you simply should be as exact as possible and capture every important feature.
First how to draw a bird – in general, simple approach
Before drawing an outline, try to observe the bird’s body proportions on the picture you have. Do not watch the feather layer or similar details - yet.
Simply see how big is the head in comparison to the trunk, how long is the tail…and, that the beak is directed slightly upward.
Every bird – as we all perceive it – has a beak, a head, a trunk (body), two legs and a tail.



In logical order, someone may start drawing bird from the trunk and someone else from the head.
Some people start to draw birds from the head, while at the same time intensely observing the proportions of both; head and trunk. These two body parts must be in good balance when you draw a bird from the very rough beginning if you want to be satisfied with your finalized drawing.
Nevertheless, it is very difficult to say which way is the correct one to start with. It is individual and it also depends on your drawing skill level.
Try to use your intuition a little, because drawing is a creative activity and you often cannot make it simply by following a prescribed manual.




Generally, a bird’s trunk is almost always a teardrop-shaped fuselage. When you draw a bird always keep in mind that bird, in fact, is a small living airplane.
As always, use tilted pencil, loose grip and your lines will be much stable and exact.
Now you can join the head circle and the body fuselage together by gentle curves that will create the bird’s neck. At this stage, the drawing – sketching, is still very rough so make as many pencil lines as necessary.
Add the tail, mark out the wigs – just approximately, outline the beak and draw the legs.
While drawing and sketching these basic body parts, always keep your eye on the good balance and proportions of the entire drawing.
At this stage you have a basic body outline of a bird.


You can erase the excess pencil lines and slowly get closer to the real shape. If possible start from the head, which naturally leads you to draw the beak.


Observe once more the ready bird drawing on the top and pay special attention to the position of the eye.
Note, that the eye is closer to the beak, so outline the eye first only by a weak pencil line, very gently.



Bird’s tail serves as a supporter when sitting and it often moves up and down depending on the bird’s position.
The tail consists of several long feathers assembled into a fan-like shape and it actually looks like feathers piled up on each other.


Erase the rest of all unnecessary initial pencil lines and you have a beautiful picture to add to your collection of bird drawings.


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