Happy Thursday! A sneaky look at my new piece today. I am experimenting. I know it doesn't look like it, but l am. The thing is, l just haven't been happy with my parrot feathers! I know if you are not a bird lover it seems a feather is a feather. Seen one, seen them all - if you can draw one you can draw them all? So not true! There are so many variations on feathers, little fluffy feathers, great big sleak feathers, little iridescent discs, feathers with strands..... and Parrot feathers! Parrot feathers when you look at them have blunt, almost straight edges and they are really hard to recreate. My last attempt was the Love Birds that l drew, and l am not happy with them because they look too clumpy and clumsy and well...just not feathery enough! The trick is to get a fairly blunt edge whilst still keeping a light and feathery look. I keep looking at those Love Birds and finding myself frowning. There is only one thing for it. If you can't do something, keep trying until you can. One thing l do believe, if you keep trying, eventually you WILL. So l decided to draw this picture of a pair of Sun Conures. I have had the reference photo sitting around for a while and even better both birds are showing all their chest, so lots of room for practise on those feathers! Plus they are all yellow and l really wanted another go at working in yellow because it is so hard to create depth without ending up with sludge. Yellow turns to sludge so easily. You think you are adding a nice bit of shade or shadow and next thing you know the yellow has vanished and been replaced with khaki!
So, this time l took a different approach to the feathers (and l am quite excited to share it with you as there is a definite improvement, you probably can't see so well here but when it gets to the chest you can hopefully tell, that will probably be next week on Instagram). I found that my Faber Castell Polychromos were the most useful to me here as l can get the finest lines with them, but even these are getting a fair amount of point breakage because of the heavy pressure l have been using. (I probably haven't mentioned this before, but sometimes l like to use a heavier pressure for the bit of texture it creates). I am still in the middle of working these feathers as l write this, but l am taking photos of each step and there will be a new guide to drawing them on my tips page next week. I can't wait to share it with you. For me this is the excitement of drawing, constantly finding a new way to do something or the challenge of a new shape, color or texture. In the meantime l do have other feather step by step guides you can look at and l will pop the link below.
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