The Feather – In Progress

I took several photos of the small feather during my drawing process. As I mentioned before, this was a fairly quick drawing (spent maybe a 1/2 hour, interrupted several times by the kids!), so it definitely could have been done more carefully. I was so excited to find it that I didn’t want to let the opportunity to draw it pass, so I accomplished what I could in the time I had.

My initial graphite sketch. 
This looks more delicate and perhaps I should have stayed with a graphite drawing to capture the downy aspects at the bottom of the feather.
Ink drawing.

You can see I got a little messy with the pen work on the dark spot on the left. I should have stopped further from the center shaft. I used a 3×0 (.25) Rapidograph pen (the smallest size I have) and it still looks too heavy to me.

Perhaps I should have put less lines down and just hinted at the structure more rather than trying to draw all of it in. It’s a learning process!

 Final colored pencil drawing.

You can tell this photo was taken in natural light by the window. The feather looks much whiter at the bottom. In person, that area is more gray and the photos of the previous stages above are more accurate, I think.

I used my Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils: walnut brown for the dark spots, raw umber and burnt sienna for the lighter brown areas, layered with some warm grey V and warm grey II.
Have you ever had done any feather drawings? How do you keep the delicate nature of the drawing intact, even when using ink? I would love to hear about your experiences!

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4 comments

  1. Despite your words, I think it turned out beautifully! Feathers are challenging to me because there is such a contrast between the delicate downy feathers and the stiffer shaft. The feathers I've done have been in either watercolor pencil or watercolor paint, but you started me thinking! I used to have some very fine pointed Micron Pigma pens that would be great for the downy bits. I find it hard to have a light touch with ink uness the pen is light itself. I personally think your feather looks great!

  2. Thanks, Elizabeth! I really appreciate your comments. Your work is so wonderful! I haven't done much with paint – a bit intimidated by watercolor 🙂 Plus, I am just completely in love with ink! Something about finalizing a beautiful curve or detail in a dark line fascinates me. I still want to try drawing that larger feather I found a few months ago in ink just to see what I can do with it. I would love to see your experiments if you try the Micron pens!Carol

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