Birds blog

Birds (A5 mixed media on a Moleskine sketchbook 2016)

Something pretty grim must have taken place in our garden in the early hours of Saturday morning.

When we went outside to breakfast in the pale sunshine of an English summer morning, we found a perfect young female blackbird dead on the lawn. A few metres away were the scattered feathers of a male with more under the mulberry tree. Who was responsible for this carnage? A sparrowhawk? One of the evil cats that stalk our quiet road?

For me the blackbird’s song is the sound of summer. That melodic trilling they do when seeking a mate is so evocative of warm summer evenings, of peace after a long day, of lying in bed as a child while it’s still light outside. To see a dead blackbird with its song forever stilled is heart-breaking.

Here’s my contribution to Draw-a-Bird Day, which happens every month on the 8th. One month I’ll draw a ‘proper’ bird – mine always seem unconvincing, like they’re made out of painted concrete or something – but here are some that I did to test a Moleskine storyboard notebook.

‘Angry crow’ is almost tautologous: have you ever seen a crow that isn’t highly annoyed about something or other? The Scribble Bird was drawn with one of those multi-coloured pencils you see in museums (Quentin Blake actually does beautiful drawings with those things). Road Kill is self-explanatory and the Gulls owe something to my new hero, Felix Scheinberger, who wrote a whole textbook on illustration in German themed around birds.

I hope you’re as happy as a seagull with a stolen chip.



22 thoughts on “Birds

  1. Love your birds! But the horror of your story: yikes. Picked up “The Art of Richard Thompson” on your recommendation. It’s a wonder. I love hearing the voices of these other artists describing his art! I’ll be taking a close look to see how he develops his ideas so clearly. Thanks, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You made me grin eith your dead one, despite the awful origins of the idea. But your drawing was funny! I love my kohinoor Magic pencils, which are probably what Quentin has. Are those what you have? Lynne Chapman (co uk) uses them a lot in urban sketching and they are a real boon.

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  3. I’ve seen hawks with other birds and rodents in beak and claw and the scattered feathers sounds like their handiwork. The dead animals the local cats leave (rodents are much more common as “gifts” than birds) are never ripped up. But what a sad sight for the morning! (K)

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  4. This gave me a flash back to when I was in primary school an the head teacher took our class for the day and drew loads of birds in a cartoon kind of style on the blackboard. It was, for me, such a memorable lesson. Love this style and your handwriting!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: August Artwork (Draw a Bird Day Roundup) – Create art every day

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