Category Archives: bird

one sketch, many outcomes

I was considering what to write about this week . I had just scanned a page from my December sketchbook and it struck me how one sketch can have so many purposes.

This is a sketch of  objects Mum has left out for the Satin bower bird to collect .



29Dec15 bower bird cropped

The simple and quick act of sketching these objects allowed me to

  • document an occurrence from Mums house in a sketch.


  • have a conversation with my mother about the Satin Bower Bird visits. The visits  started recently and I really didn’t know much about it , apart from the fact that it visited. I was able to ask lots of questions and make notes. It will also have more meaning  when she talks about him in the future.


  • bring back memories of a camping trip to O’Reilly’s  National Park when I was about 12. This is the only other time I had seen Satin and Golden Bower Birds. You could feed them and the rainbow lorikeets in the campgrounds. I never thought that one day there would be one in a backyard !


  • fill in 15 minutes while waiting for a taxi to arrive to take us to the bus stop. I have always been an impatient person But since I started sketching I have never had this problem. I sketch and the time flies by.
  • practice sketching . I sketch daily and any sketch is an opportunity to observe, measure, make judgments on colour etc

And here is my finished sketchbook page.

29Dec15 bower bird

a visit to the waterbird habitat

This past week of Christmas holidays has been very busy and I have filled many pages of my sketchbook.  For this blog I decided to share one little series of sketches from a  morning walk.

28Dec15 ducks cropped

My mother and I had promised my nephew (age 9) that we would visit the local waterbird habitat and sketch the ducks. He had been there recently and videoed them. On the video he bravely started to name the ducks and then decided they were all called Geoffrey. (They are Australian Wood Ducks)


28Dec15 ducks2cropped 3

Unfortunately when Mum & I visited, there were hardly any ducks in sight. We sketched what we could. The ducks in the above sketch may be Geoffrey 5, Geoffrey 27 and Geoffrey 341.

28Dec15 sketcher

After a while I gave up and sketched the sketcher. Mum stayed still for ages !

28Dec15 ducks3

Then a family arrived with bread and the ducks came out of nowhere but moved a lot.  Sketches completed, the day was warming up, so we headed home.

Below are some links to more duck and nature pages I have previously sketched

I enjoy drawing nature and you can view some more of my Nature Drawing on my Flickr site

I have sketched and written about another  duck . The Pacific Black Duck

some previous step by step drawing blogposts on drawing feathers and nests

Drawing a Tawny Frogmouth feather

Drawing feathers

Drawing a small nest

and of course, Greeting cards featuring my feather and nest drawings are available to purchase on my Etsy online store


New cards on Etsy

I am very excited to announce a new set of eight Greeting Cards on my Etsy shop featuring my feather and nest drawings. I have had a busy and productive day today putting the images online.

These follow on from my first venture of Library books and shelves Greeting Cards that were printed in March.

all cards for log

Those who know me will be well aware of how much I enjoy drawing feathers and nests. I am continually amazed by the delicacy, fragility and strength of nature. I love to try and capture the patterns and colours of feathers and the complexity and intricacy of nests. I have chosen eight drawings that I hope convey this. They are printed on cream 300 gsm card and come with a cream envelope  and are beautiful to send with (or as) gift or to keep and frame for yourself!

Printing these cards provides me with an opportunity to share my love of drawing and nature.ibistwo7

This adventure into the world of greeting cards has been exciting and challenging. I am on a learning curve about printing, websites, Etsy and marketing.

Please visit my Etsy Shop to view my drawings on my Greeting cards and spread the word.



drawing a feather step by step

This post is about drawing the feather of a tawny frogmouth. I have quite a few of these feathers in my collection. I am not sure why I have so many, as you don’t see that very many tawny frogmouth birds about. This is probably because they blend in so well with the tree branches they are on and they are nocturnal. However I still think that there appears to be a disproportionate amount of feathers compared to birds you see everyday, such as magpies. Tawny frogmouths are one of my favourite birds (I seem to have a few)
Tawny frogmouths. Photo: Keith Smith Photography

The Tawny Frogmouth is found throughout Australia. They are about 35–50 cm and can be seen in almost any habitat type except the denser rainforests and treeless deserts. Frogmouths are often confused with owls, but are actually more closely related to the nightjars. This feather was collected off the ground in Toowoomba, Queensland.

I often draw feathers, but they are usually simple and one or two colours. And I complete them over an evening or two. See them here . In this post I wanted to share my love of watercolour pencils and what can be achieved using this medium

The tawny frogmouth feather was more of a challenge as their feathers are highly patterned. This is the second time I have attempted to draw one and I am still figuring out how to do it. I was halfway through this one when I discovered that Derwent Inktense Bark watercolour pencil is the perfect colour for the tawny frogmouth feather. The pencils I was using were too brown or too grey and I was trying to blend them.
This time I remembered to take these photographs along the way to try to show my work in progress. It shows the real feather at the top and my drawing next to it. I started it in February this year and then put the drawing aside for about two weeks between the last two images.


in detail
Drawn on Arches 300gsm Smooth Watercolour paper.
main Colours
Bark – Derwent Inktense
Walnut Brown – Faber Castell Albrecht Durer
Burnt Umber- Faber Castell Albrecht Durer
Ivory – Faber Castell Albrecht Durer
Raw Umber – Derwent
I have found that the Derwent pencils are too soft for the finer “feathery” details of the feather (the “afterfeather”) as you can see the texture of the pencil on the paper. Faber Castells are harder and give a finer line, which can also be dissolved beautifully to give the fluffy look. This is the area I love to draw.  This particular feather was a bit of an experiment. I am very pleased with the final result, and have learnt a lot along the way. NEXT TIME I need to figure out a way to achieve the dark colour patterns and the fine lines of the feather (I think these are called the barbs). I feel that it is a little heavy handed and muddy in this one. However, I am not looking for a photorealistic drawing of feathers. My drawings are more about the impression of detail, rather then actual detail.

Tawny frogmouth and chick drawn from photo, 2010