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Old Thursday 12th June 2014, 16:59   #1
Andy Hurley
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Getting the curved flight feathers right

Hi,

as you can see I have just taken up sketching birds. I use lead and pastel pencils. I draw images that I have photographed. This red kite was flying in a strong wind and the lower wing tips were not fully visible in the photo, but curved back away from the viewer. I have tried to reproduce that but they come across as being short and flat. Does anyone have any advice of how to make them appear like they did in the photo? There are quite a few other things wrong, I know, like proportion, depth etc, I'm still figuring out who to get that right.

Your help is much appreciated.
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Old Thursday 12th June 2014, 18:08   #2
coal tit
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Smile Getting the curved flight feathers right

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hurley View Post
Hi,

as you can see I have just taken up sketching birds. I use lead and pastel pencils. I draw images that I have photographed. This red kite was flying in a strong wind and the lower wing tips were not fully visible in the photo, but curved back away from the viewer. I have tried to reproduce that but they come across as being short and flat. Does anyone have any advice of how to make them appear like they did in the photo? There are quite a few other things wrong, I know, like proportion, depth etc, I'm still figuring out who to get that right.

Your help is much appreciated.
The one word I was searching In
My mind for was Composition If you can master that your as good as
There in Mastering the Art of being a Artist, proportion, depth all come
Into It, Myself I felt more Comfortable doing small sketches Head and
Shoulders of Small birds like Finches or Thrushes and adding some colour
Through water colour Pencils or just light pencil for shadeing in areas
Composition plays apart In those Sketches but a lot more in the bigger
Ones like your red kite I can admire and appreciate a good artist because
It is a skilled art along with concentration skills which you will already
Know about are you attending art lessons or going it alone It depends
What suits you best you can perhaps pick up some useful tips from
Books to, If you find the bigger sketches are hard work try some smaller
Sketches you might stay with them for a while or longer If like me but
Whatever you find more enjoyable in the long term Its a great hobby
Always nice to find something new.
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Old Thursday 12th June 2014, 19:54   #3
Andy Hurley
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Thanks Coal Tit,
I am going it alone just now, perhaps if I improve sufficiently enough I might do an evening class or go on a drawing holiday. For just now though its the very beginning and that is my first attempt at doing anything bigger than on A5 paper. I used an A3 block of 190g/m and that felt ok. I've only drawn 12 sketches before this, 11 of birds and 1 elephant.
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Old Thursday 12th June 2014, 21:56   #4
coal tit
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Hi Andy

Well done If you have the passion for it give it a go just before I left school I took cse in art and my subject
Was a print of a swallow by basil ede on the front of a RSPB christmas or birthday card He Had done other
Sketches for the RSPB too His work was quite popular I loved the detail In his work I had never seen such
Work captured like that before by a artist and it inspired me Perhaps you have seen his work well worth
Seeing.
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Old Friday 13th June 2014, 02:29   #5
Andy Hurley
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Hi Coal Tit,
I have a terrible memory for names, but I looked him up. His work is incredibly beautiful and very finely detailed. Very inspirational. In 1992 I had a stroke which paralysed my left side and although I got some function back in my left hand, not enough to do anything except hold things. I had to learn to use my right hand to write, so I know what he went through, although it was probably easier learning to use my right hand because everything is made for right handed people anyway. Necessity is a quick teacher and my hand writing is probably better with my write hand because that was what was taught in school, left handers like me never got shown how to form letters left handed and had to teach ourselves. I remember always being marked down because my hand writing was poor. Art was similar, the teacher couldn't show me how to do things properly and so he never bothered. Nobody did art at O grade level, so in senior school it wasn't taught beyond the 2nd form.
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Old Friday 13th June 2014, 16:55   #6
coal tit
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Smile Getting the curved flight feathers right

Hi Andy


Thanks for shareing with me I,ve always been a plodder in life I,ve
Always been able to handle things better like that but life or the
Pace of it occasionally catches up with you the best way of
Describeing it is its like sitting on a Island and watching the
World go by minding your own buisness and not going out
To the world but one day it comeing out to you but "more"
In real terms realistically more of late to me I,m not one
Much for "changes" in life but life will do that to you just
By minding your own buisness (It must be the Internet age)
Nothing stays the same for ever and Its how we handle It
In life, for you to climb above your disability and get on
With life will no doubt have made you a stronger person
Inside we all share the same or similar passions on this
Site and its nice to share here I don,t find that a Easy
Thing to do off this site unless in the right company
but I,ll always share here.
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Old Friday 13th June 2014, 20:37   #7
Andy Hurley
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I drew this one today, also from a photo does it resemble a Meadow Pipit?
I photographed it with flash so it might be a bit pale.
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Old Saturday 14th June 2014, 22:11   #8
coal tit
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Smile meadow pipit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hurley View Post
I drew this one today, also from a photo does it resemble a Meadow Pipit?
I photographed it with flash so it might be a bit pale.
I think you
Have put some thought into your sketch and beginging to feel confident In
What you are doing now you can only capture on paper whatever you
Are doing In stages basically, but more Importantly Enjoy what you are
Doing thats Important but If you feel a need that your going the Extra
Mile to get anywhere sit back and admire what you have done Normally
For me at this stage My concentration that I built up leaves me along
With my desire to carry on I think when you are better at your subject
Of what your drawing your concentration will be stronger I used to get
Tired because of sleep like reading a book it would often fall on the
Floor when dropping off reading with drawing the former happened
To me and another big mistake is not to rush what your doing to get
It finished haveing spent hours doing a small sketch I tryed to rush It
And found that was a big mistake along with feeling tired I realised
I should have stopped and come back later, while your sketching and
Achieveing your own Personal aim of a nice sketch and you can Feel
Your own concentration levels are holding along with your desire It
Is a very rewarding thing to feel while they Last but like Everything
Else they will be tested while your sketching It depends how long
You can hold on to them for they will be key in Everything you do
I know I have mine somewhere Its pumping them up to the Surface
But I do like to enjoy myself while sketching for me there,s no point
Otherwise because nothing else comes into play.
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Old Saturday 14th June 2014, 23:02   #9
Andy Hurley
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Thanks for the advice and also your honest reply in #6 Coal Tit. I do enjoy it, but I understand what you say about tiredness and concentration and the desire to get it finished, it is very tempting to press on, even when tomorrow would be a better time to finish. Just by attempting something I am learning loads. Also for bird watching, because I am attempting to draw a bird acurately, I'm seeing more detail than I might have seen otherwise. So at the very least, it will make me a better birder.
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Old Saturday 28th June 2014, 21:28   #10
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Hi Andy

Love your sketches, it definitely looks like a meadow pipit! Re the red kite, you might want to check the relative size of the wings - the lower wing in the photo is at an angle to the viewer so looks much much shorter than the far wing. Clues like this will help the viewer decode the rest of the drawing and your wing tip feathers will look more in place, I think.

Hope this is helpful, I'm far from a good drawer of birds!

ps I know exactly what you mean about seeing more because you're looking with a sketcher's eye, can't be bad, eh?

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Old Thursday 3rd July 2014, 20:10   #11
Jackie Garner
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Hi Andy,

Glad to see you've taken up drawing birds.

You mentioned proportions in your first post, so you might find this helpful. When you've sketched your subject out lightly in pencil, check how different parts of the drawing relate to each other. Do this by choosing one measurement (eg the width of the red kite's wing at a given point) and comparing it to other parts of the drawing. You might find it's the same as the tail length, for example. Check how many times the width of the wing would fit into the length of the wing. Check the width of the tail at the base and at the tip. Are they the same or different? You might decide that the width of the tail at the tip is about half the width of the wing, so then you can work out the width of the tail at the base. Look at how many times the wing width would fit into the overall length from beak to tail, and from wing tip to wing tip. Keep checking the proportions all over the drawing.

If you see that the proportions on your reference photo don't match those of your drawing, then you know something needs adjusting and you can make that correction. Once you have the proportions right, you can go on to add tone, texture, colour and detail.

With practice, you'll find that you naturally get the proportions right, but in the beginning checking one length against another is beneficial.

Hope that helps.
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Old Sunday 27th July 2014, 09:29   #12
Andy Hurley
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Hi Jackie,
sorry I haven't replied before now, I was in Iceland, then sorting the photos from there, etc. Thanks for the good advice, I'll try it out in my next sketch.
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Old Sunday 27th July 2014, 09:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abbotalefan View Post
Hi Andy

Love your sketches, it definitely looks like a meadow pipit! Re the red kite, you might want to check the relative size of the wings - the lower wing in the photo is at an angle to the viewer so looks much much shorter than the far wing. Clues like this will help the viewer decode the rest of the drawing and your wing tip feathers will look more in place, I think.

Hope this is helpful, I'm far from a good drawer of birds!

ps I know exactly what you mean about seeing more because you're looking with a sketcher's eye, can't be bad, eh?
Thank you for your encouragement abbotalefan!
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Old Friday 1st August 2014, 14:54   #14
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For the red kite, the main thing is to get the length of the left wing correct. That gives the viewer important information about the relative angle of the wings, i.e. that the right wing is not stubby, just foreshortened.

Another interesting effect visible in the photo is that the tip of the right wing is a bit blurry. I think this is due to focal depth, though I suppose it could be from motion (flutter). Either way, it makes the photo seem less "flat". You should be able to mimic the effect by using a softer touch with your pencils.
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