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Barred Owl

The animal and wildlife forum concentrates on drawings of all animals, from domestic pets to wildlife - anything dressed in fur, feathers or scales. The emphasis is on drawing but paintings are also acceptable.

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Barred Owl

Postby Laurene » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:10 pm

I started this a while ago but progress has been slow. My reference is a poor photo I took at a rehabilitation center, but I loved the pose so much that I knew I would use it eventually. I tried several compositions before settling on this one (the final composition will show in a later scan)

size: 16" x 11"
paper: Mellotex
pencils: Staedtler clutch, 2mm, 2H to 2B so far

The eyes need to be much darker and I'm just mapping out the markings on the back right now. I'll have to layer quite a bit to get a smooth effect, but at least I've made a start. :)
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barred owl 01.jpg
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby KrissyNZ » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:59 pm

Looks beautiful so far! I can see why you like the pose, it's very fluid and I love the slightly lower angle looking up. Will be a fantastic portrait when it's done!

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Re: Barred Owl

Postby Garry » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:42 am

Looks like you are off to a good start Laurene.
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby drkangas » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:31 pm

Flawless! Great inspiration☺

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Re: Barred Owl

Postby Laurene » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:48 pm

Thanks Krissy. I have tons of perfectly clear and detailed references of different animals to choose from, but this pose just attracted me even though the reference is quite poor.

Thanks Garry, and thanks for following along with me.

Thanks drkangas (sorry, I don't know your name). I find your work very inspirational too!
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby PogArt » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:21 pm

Well well!
Here we are ;)
I've decided to have a look, if there is some news regarding your new drawing Laurene ;) And I found what I were looking for - beautiful start !!!
I do agree with Krissy, the position of the owl is showing some interest in direction that the bird is looking somewhere behind it ;)
I think it's very good choice Laurene.
There's going to be much detailed work too with feathers, and marks on them ;)
Are you planning to draw some background features as well Laurene?
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby Bev » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:28 pm

"""I have tons of perfectly clear and detailed references of different animals to choose from, but this pose just attracted me even though the reference is quite poor."""

That happens to me a lot too, just something about the animal or the pose that triggers a response.
This is going to be stunning Laurene, please keep going with it, it would be a shame to leave it unfinished.
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby danluc » Sun Dec 11, 2016 9:51 pm

Hi Laurene.
I've never drawn birds.
Thus, your wonderful owl is really a source of inspiration.
How do you achieve dark blacks (in this case for the eyes)? By layering or by "special" pencils (for example I'm going to try "Contè a Paris, Pierre Noir" for really dark blacks)?

I look forward to see your updates.
Ciao
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby PogArt » Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:56 pm

Daniele if I can be of any help...
For very dark blacks I'm using General's Kimberly 9xxb pencil as adviced many times by JD Hillberry, and I've got in use another pencil - Primo Elite Grande 5000 Organic Black... The latest isn't my favourite, because it's more on charcoal side - it's smudging a lot, but advantage is that it can be sharpened to pin point as any other pencil ;)
This is what I use Daniele...
Laurene?
Any advice regarding very black pencils that you could recommend pls ;)
Thank you ;)
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby Laurene » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:36 am

Thanks Arthur. I really enjoy working out feather patterns like this. I won't do a full background, but just enough to suggest a story for the pose.

I'm glad you've had the same experience Bev. Isn't it strange where inspiration can come from sometimes?

Hi Daniele. I think you'd do a great job of drawing birds because you have such a good eye for detail. With birds you have to consider that breast and down feathers are a lot like fur, but flight and tail feathers have more structure and are well defined. The beak can be difficult in some species (not in this owl though). Some beaks are rough and have cracks almost like rocks, some are shiny and some are leathery (like duck beaks). With raptors like owls, eagles and hawks you have to study the talons too.

Thanks for sharing those pencils Arthur. In my case, I just stick to graphite pencils, usually 2H, HB and 2B. Sometimes I use 4B for the darkest darks like eyes. I haven't used 4B yet in this drawing. I do layer a lot though starting with 2B, then going over it with 2H. Because I don't press hard at all, I can keep layering in this pattern over and over again. For the feather patterns on the back I reversed this. I drew parallel lines with 2H, and then went over it with 2B. Where the 2H lines were, the 2B didn't stick as well so I automatically got light and dark striped within each pattern (hope that makes sense).



EDIT: I switched out the image for a clearer one. Yesterday's was faded and blurred! I've gone over the feather patterns that I mapped out last week to darken and detail them, and worked on shadowing and shaping the face. It will take many more layers though to get the feathers looking like I'd like.
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby PogArt » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:53 am

It's very good lesson for me,reading your post Laurene.
I'm planning to draw some birds, and your advices are very pointed and I'll try remember them when the time comes.
Thank you.
I do layering now,like you... first time.
I didn't know that layering has so many advantages.......
Instead of layering I were shading, smudging a lot, trying to achieve the same goal as layering...
It was working at some point, but I felt there's something not just right, and I felt it's not working as I wish.
Watching sometimes tutorials, I've decided to try layering for first time.
My latest drawing is kind of break through for me.
It's first drawing that I'm layering since beginning.
It's working very well, I'm very happy to draw like this, and it's giving me control over detailed shadding then, not like smudging with tortillions, where I wasn't in control and many times it was happening something unpleased and unwanted while smudging...
Now I feel I am in control - first time since I've started my hobby ;)
I know why it's happened to me.
I've been watching a lot of random tutorials, learning from them, and I picked up smudging with tortillions as a good technique for shading?
Using this I've had many times darker, unwanted spots, where too much of graphite were introduced...
I were having bad time trying to mask them over then...
I know it's a bit too late, but at least I know what were wrong, and I can be in control over my shading...
I were pressing hard my pencils too...
I were layering a bit on Shiba (my dog drawing) but not much, just in random small areas...
That's why the grass is bothering me.
Now I know that it could be better done if I only have used layering...
Well, I'm still learning on my faults, and gain some experience, what helps me to discover - what's wright ;)
Thank you Laurene ;)
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby Laurene » Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:07 pm

We all find our own ways of doing things Arthur. Your Shiba drawing was so detailed and intricately done!

I don't think there's only one way to do something because we all have a different "hand". I often don't get my blacks "black enough" just because I hesitate to press too hard!

On these feathers though, I prefer to to use a lighter touch and control the intensity by layering. On the other hand, the talons for example will have to be very black and shiny.
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby PogArt » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:48 pm

I've got no choice but agree with you Laurene ...
I think you right.
It's up to us what we choose and how we use it ;)
Thank you for giving me many credits of Shiba's drawing ;)
I only don't like that grass you know ;)
I think I'd be thankful for some more advice regarding layering please?
You've mentioned Laurene that you've started the eyes with 2B then 2H over it...
I know you've started with darker 2B first to achieve darker eyes colour...
My keen question is whether it's ok to start off first with lighter 2H and then 2B over it?
Could you achieve the same blacks either way pls?
I guess you can't , but I'm concerned what's the advantage of drawing this or oposite way pls?
Why to cover 2B by 2H afterwards...
I'm just starting to focus on layering and I can find some youtube tutorials regarding this subject, but I can't find answers for bothering me question Laurene...
You've mentioned that 2B will leave some 2H marks visible if the 2H was layered first, I understand it.
But if we drawing eyes for example, why to cover firstly layered 2B with lighter 2H but not again and again 2B to get darker blacks please ?
I guess that 2H is blending and smoothering 2B...?
Is it right Laurene?
Sorry for bothering you with questions that many other artists are familiar with...
Thank you ;)
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby Laurene » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:38 pm

Well, the reason you would start with a darker softer grade (like 2B) and go over it with a lighter harder grade (like 2H) is because the harder grade will break up the larger bits of graphite in the softer grade which leave bits of white paper showing through. When those bits are broken up, the paper is more fully covered so the area looks darker.

Graphite pencils are composed of graphite and clay. The harder grades contain more clay and the softer grades contain more graphite. The problem is that graphite consists of bits or plates that lay on the surface of the paper. That's the reason the softer grades that contain more graphite smudge more easily. When you go over them with the harder grade those bits or plates are broken down and cover the paper better. Mike explains it much better than I can in his blog (http://www.sibleyfineart.com/_blog/tag/layering/).

It's sort of the same effect as blending with a tortillion but you have much more control and you don't lose all of the detail that you put down with the softer grade. You can also lift the harder grade with blu tack and still see the detail below, but if you smudge with a tortillion the detail will be lost. In this case, I'm trying to keep as much detail as I can. Other times, it isn't as important. Hope that helps.
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Re: Barred Owl

Postby danluc » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:03 pm

Thanks for your very useful comment Laurene.
I use the same technique for layering (that I learned from Mike's book) but sometimes I'd like to achieve a more dense and dark black.
That's why I'm going to test some new way with other means.
The way you describe how to draw birds and their feathers means that such kind of subjects demands a lot of observation and study.
I look forward to see your owl comes to life.

Ciao
Daniele

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