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Field sketching and illustration

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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 00:52   #1
ABCY 1
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Field sketching and illustration

Hi all. After spending over 20 years illustrating Australian birds for identification (Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Australian Bird Guide) I am now trying to find my way back to painting birds in their habitats and relying more on field sketching as well as photo references. My background is as a field biologist and I'm largely self-taught as an artist, though I was lucky to have W. T (Bill) Cooper as a mentor.
I'm interested to see how many Birdforum artists still use field sketching in their practice even in these days of digital photography; like most illustrators i use photo references a lot but still value that special connection that comes with seeing your subject in the field. If you are a practicing bird artist I'd be interested to hear how you work.

To get the ball rolling I've attached some of my artwork and welcome any feedback:
first is a plate from the recent Australian Bird Guide (Fieldwrens and Heathwrens)
next is an old field sketch of a Scarlet-rumped Trogon, recently worked up in watercolour with access to photo references
last is a picture of a bird in its habitat, a Back and yellow Broadbill I saw in Sabah, again based on field sketches and photo references

Cheers, Peter
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Name:	Heathwrens and Fieldwrens crop.jpg
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ID:	727870  Click image for larger version

Name:	Scarlet-rumped Trogon field sketch_edited-1.jpg
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Name:	Scarlet-rumped Trogon watercolour_edited-1.jpg
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Size:	101.0 KB
ID:	727872  Click image for larger version

Name:	B&Y Broadbill copy.jpg
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Size:	161.2 KB
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 01:47   #2
KC Foggin
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Beautiful pieces of artwork! The Broadbill image is my favorite
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 03:37   #3
RafaelMatias
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I love all of them, many thanks for sharing!!
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 20:00   #4
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KC, Rafael, thanks for your kind words. Do you have any thoughts on the value of field sketching vs photography for bird art and illustration?
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 20:16   #5
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Sorry, I can't help you out on that ABCY 1
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 20:59   #6
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Beautiful set of work, thanks for showing.
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 06:54   #7
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Thanks Mark. I’ve had a look at your website, some nice artwork - loved the Merlin. Do you have access to falconers’ birds? A very long time ago I used to train raptors, and l’m a big fan of David Reid-Henry’s raptor portraits
Cheers, Peter
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Old Thursday 9th July 2020, 16:23   #8
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A little late to the party but, I do it every weekend in my backyard. I have my swaros on my tripod. And just draw. Sometimes they stay long enogh to get a good drawing but mostly just speed drawing. Pen sketchbook watercolors. I've leaenes alot more about behaviour. I really am not on my computer much anymore, may try to post some sketches.my drawing skills have gone up since starting this.
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Old Thursday 9th July 2020, 19:03   #9
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Beautiful pictures :)
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 23:15   #10
ABCY 1
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Thank you Jurek, and to Swampy Sam - please do post some of your sketches. Good to know about about birders sketching from life; it’s a process that really helps in being observant.
Cheers, Peter
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Old Monday 13th July 2020, 15:53   #11
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Great to know others do it as well Peter. I think if more people tried it they would be hooked. Even if they are not great artists you have to start somewhere. I may even post some photos of my first sketches for a good laugh and compare to recent ones. That might get a few motivated to start.
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Old Monday 13th July 2020, 16:49   #12
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I think there is an opportunity for you here....teach others. Have classes....For now it has to be 'Aussie's only' but perhaps once virus lets up you have an opportunity to combine birding + the artsy element that goes with it. A nice talent you have...
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