Connecticut Audbon Society



Sketching Birds for Beginners Weekly Descriptions

Materials Needed for course:

Visual Journal, 140 lb. watercolor, 5.5 by 8-inch, acid free (available from Staples, Amazon or any art store)
#2 pencil
A set of colored pencils
Black pen
Bird ID book Sibley or Peterson (optional)


Week 1 – April 26 : Shape

Birds come in all shapes and sizes! In this session, participants will learn how to sketch birds by using basic shapes to create an outline of the bird and how to identify bird species using body shape as a guide. Session includes learning how to:

  • Use basic shapes to create a rough outline
  • Complete a gestural drawing in under 2 minutes
  • Use size reference to keep an image in proportion

Week 2 – May 3 : Color

How does color help to identify a bird? This week Morgan will show participants how to take a gestural drawing and add color and shading using colored pencil to help define their image and further develop their drawing. Session includes learning how to:

  • Layer colors to create depth
  • Make color swatches to preserve references
  • Using colored pencils to create smooth or rough texture

Week 3 – May 10: Detail

For the final week, participants will focus on adding detail. Morgan will demonstrate how to draw feathers and how we use feathers to identify specific songbirds as well as how to add detail to eyes and beaks.  Session includes learning how to:

  • Incorporate detail into your drawing using ink
  • Draw individual elements such as feathers, eyes, and beak






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