By Thomas Maxwell
To celebrate the month of May, we will be focusing on the upcoming Bird Migratory Day. Bird Migratory Day promotes the preservation of migratory bird habitats across the world. Gibraltar and the straits are an important geographical location for migrating birds, due to the winds and distance from Africa. One of the many birds that use Gibraltar as a ‘pit stop’ before migrating further, is the Eurasian Sparrowhawk. The Eurasian Sparrowhawk is a bird that often migrates from Morocco through Gibraltar to northern Europe. Today, I will be showing you how to draw this bird in five steps.
Find the centre of the page and draw a line down. Use your HB pencil to draw a 15cm2 square in the centre of your paper; this is where the bird will fit into. Next, draw a 5cm diameter circle in the centre of the page; this will form the bird’s head. Draw the eyes just above the centre of the circle and draw out the brow of the Hawk just above the left eye. This will be the general outline of the bird.
Use the reference piece to map out the major areas of the face. This includes the brow, the eyes and the beak (TOP TIP: If you are struggling to map out the outlines of the bird, use your ruler to help space the facial features). Once you have drawn the facial features, start separating the feather areas of the face. It is important not to press too hard on the pencil, as this would leave marks on the paper, which will be very hard to get rid of later down the line.
When drawing, there is an important term called ‘blocking’. Blocking is when you shade the darker areas of the picture and map out the sketch. For this, you will need to keep using your HB pencil. It is very important to not use the darker pencils so early. This is because you want your shading to build up, so if you have any problems, it is easier to change it. Find the darker areas of the photo and lightly shaded them with your pencil. This is mostly the top of the head, the eyes and the feathers. Don’t forget to use your brush to lightly brush over the graphite from the pencil. This smudges the image slightly but not too hard. Try not to smudge the image with your finger as your finger can leave marks.
Now start going over the darker areas with the 2B pencil. This will make the shadows darker, so you can shade the lighter areas with the HB pencil. For the feathers you want to use your eraser to very lightly remove some of the shading; this is what creates the light feathers. Don’t worry about being super detailed on the feathers as this can be quite time consuming and a lot of birds have simple feathers, no details!
Once you’ve got to Step 5, this is where you can put in some detail. Use your 6B pencil to darken further areas of the image (use the darker pencil near the lighter areas to give a better tonal range). Don’t forget to keep erasing out the feather areas as you go further and blend the areas using the brush. Now, erase out any out lines and you are finished!