My first project

I’m excited about doing some colored drawings and birds have always been a go-to to draw. A friend took some pictures that I’m drawing. First I scanned them, then made B/W jpg’s to draw up a version to look at tones. My challenges were getting detail in a small drawing with graphite pencil (grid is 1"). I found that after I took the side by side picture I noticed some shading issues that needed to be fixed for shaping so that was helpful (things I missed in observation during the initial drawing…)

Paper is Bachmore 68lb smooth. Used Sanford Design drawing 3800 2B and 6B pencils and the Blackwing 602 (which Matt is right, it is sweet to draw with). I also used a blending stump in some areas since the shading was very subtle in B/W.
The grid overlay was added using MS Visio (a gift to myself when I retired in June 2022). The color photo with grid overlay is printed on std paper with a Canon MX920 which results in shading bands but it’s purpose is just to show where reference points are to get the initial sketch right…


Very nice! That Blackwing 602 does give a good dark area

Great job! Cant wait to see more!

Thanks wren07! I’m enjoying this :smiley:

Thank you, we’ll see how the colored pencil version comes together.

Wow - that is great! Smart using the grid, grids are very helpful.

Welcome @DaveK ! A very pretty piece, way to enter the community! :wink: Thank you for sharing! Jesus loves you!!!

Thanks @TheMustardSeedLife, nice username :smiley:. I’ve been a member of this site for a few months now and am starting to break through that fear threshold of creating art. It’s really satisfying putting pencil to paper and making images grow from nothing.

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Thanks @junenez , I’ve actually used the grid method for a long while, but have received comments at times from people who believe “pure” art should be Freeform. Personally, I think that’s pure baloney. I draw because I love to draw. I also want it to have the correct shape, the love is in shading to build form.


Dave your absolutely right…some people get caught up in this idea that there is only one way to do art, this “purist” thing.
I say art is art and how a person gets there is their own journey to enjoy. Keep up the amazing work…its awesome!

Looks great! I’d call that a medium sized drawing, but I make small stuff so it looks better at a distance to hide my imeptitude. :stuck_out_tongue:

Haha! I love your sense of humor.

I finished my colored pencil and pan pastel piece today. I’d really appreciate any feedback from this group, there’s a lot of skilled artists on this forum, I know the things I struggled with but I’d like to hear from you who have been working at this longer than I. The subject is a cedar waxwing.

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Without messy tape :+1:t2:


Hi David, thank you so much for sharing your artwork.

OMG, OMG, OMG…what a dreamlike piece this is….

Humans cannot fly, so in many works of fiction, people have picked up birds as the symbol of freedom that humans cannot attain. In this sense birds have always been an object of admiration for humans and I think that this artwork conveys such admiration. I don’t know specifically how this has been achieved, but probably thanks to the combination of classy navy in the background and the elegant yellow gradation?

You know, many different approaches can be possible when drawing/painting birds, but I really love your approach because it shows the respect that birds deserve. Congratulations on the success of your first project!

If you need any suggestions for improvement, I would draw this piece in this way if it were my project:

This image has been created using photoshop: added the same flowers on the lower right corner considering the balance of the overall composition, pushed the values to emphasize the round shape of the bird’s body, and added the branches here and there to avoid the static composition and create some movement in the scene.

And I couldn’t help but try my favorite framing simulator with your work…how are these framing ideas? Hope there is something that matches your taste.

Thanks @Maki! I don’t use Photoshop but do have other software as graphic tools. Thanks for the feedback on composition, some good ideas. The framing simulator is just cool :smiley:. I have a 72 color prismacolor premier color pencil set, a 12 pencil derwent pencil set, and just received a selection of pan pastels and found additional applicators. I’ve always loved drawing and painting birds.
The pan pastels were tricky applying to the background. Once I started applying it a bit heavier things worked better. Building up color then trying to add highlights is a challenge because it’s difficult to get the highlights over the burnished wax from the pencils. I also made a few more fixes and improvements:

I am feeling much more confident with colored pencil now. I definitely like the derwent pencils! The pan pastels add a new dimension to blending background, so I’ll be using that a lot. They are a little pricey though…
Again, thanks for your kind words and ideas!!

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Wow DaveK, This is amazing! I too love drawing birds, but free style I suppose, just by observation but, I too use the grid and anyone saying that a grid, transfer, or tracing is cheating is not worth listening to. We all create art with our own process, and it is our expression of art. I agree, it is a bunch of baloney. I wish I had the ability to technically work out my preparation stage but, I just do not have the technical ability to create as you do. You gave a great demonstration.

What Maki did with the simulator looks amazing, especially with the dark blue/white matt. It really pops. I always appreciate her suggestions. They have really helped me over the past 1 1/2 years as a member here.

I like drawing with colored pencils too. My favorites are the Faber-Castel Polychromes. I have wanted to try the Derwent lightfast colored pencils but as you say, Derwent products are pricy. Maybe one day.

I look forward to seeing more of your artwork. I hope that you submitted your piece and process to the member’s minute.

thank you for sharing,


Teri (TLP),
I’m not sure what the ‘members minute’ is? I looked into a simple frame today and had sticker shock at prices locally and online. Most of the online shops provide only acrylic where I thought glass was the way to go?? Any feedback from this site would be appreciated on that topic. And yes, Maki seems like an awesome person and her feedback is really helpful, uplifting and appreciated!! Oh, and yes I also liked the dark blue mat best :smiley:
Thanks for your feedback and it’s nice to meet you!


Hi @Maki,

Sorry it’s taken so long to respond, but thanks for all your kind words and thoughtful ideas!! Where did you find that nifty frame simulator (if you don’t mind me asking?) I haven’t been able to find one that either doesn’t charge an arm and a leg to add that frames you’d actually like or material not marketed to a teen :smiley:


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Hello David,
Thank you for your reply.
The framing simulator is provided by a framing company in Japan. They are very authentic company, they’ve been in business since 1928 :smiley:
You can try the simulator freely, but the problem is that they offer the instructions for use in Japanese.
I’ve shared the English translations of the instructions here.
Hope this helps, and hope you enjoy virtual framing experiences for your future works just as I do! :tada: :+1: :cat: