Thursday, May 08, 2008

Lilac Breasted Roller

lilac breasted rollers colored pencil drawingWhile I was researching the rhinoceros, I came across one of the most beautiful bird species I have ever seen. I knew at once I had to draw it. This bird is called the lilac breasted roller, so named for the lilac-colored breast feathers and for the rolling action they do in flight while trying to impress a potential mate. These birds are so unique that I couldn't find one position to show off all their colors well enough, so I put two into my drawing.

I typically try to avoid drawing wing feathers because they are so complicated. I much prefer fur. But I have decided that colored pencils are best for colorful birds, so to make my drawings more interesting, I've taken to drawing bird wings. I have a book on scientific illustration (which I will review at some point) that shows the pattern of wing feathers on the top and underside, with a count of each type of feather. Using this as a guide in addition to my reference photos, I believe I was able to reconstruct an accurate wing.

The two birds took about 9 hours total. A good amount of time was spent trying to figure out the right color combinations, and there are a lot of colors. The branches and leaves took another 4.5 hours, and the background yet another 6.5 hours. But I screwed it up so I spent another 2 hours in Photoshop fixing it (as a result, the original won't be for sale).

I did this drawing for several reasons. First, as I mentioned, the birds are just too beautiful NOT to draw them. Second, I do like colored pencils and need some practice, especially in backgrounds. And third, I want to get into color-mode for my reef project.

As usual, I have prints ready.

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