Vendor Voices

Artistic Bird Study with Faber-Castell

Create an artistic bird study using Faber-Castell color pencils and watercolors!


Begin by choosing a bird of interest for your project. You will need to do some research on this, choosing a bird that is visually appealing and has some fun and interesting habits to draw and describe. There are many books about ornithologist John Audubon that are perfect references for this. 

Next, begin by designing a rough layout on tissue paper or basic sketch paper. This is the basic map of how to position all of the elements for an interesting piece of art. Begin by doing a loose sketch of the bird in the center of the paper, larger then the other images–this is the focal point of the layout, and will be later done in color. Then make smaller sketches around the focal point, of interesting things that you have researched about the bird; nesting habits, behaviors, etc.

Consider space for the amount of body copy you want to include as well, indicating it loosely as shown. This rough layout can all be drawn very loosely but thoughtfully, and used as a point of reference throughout the project.

Begin by redrawing just the center focal point bird into position onto the watercolor paper. Here you will draw with more detail and accuracy.

Next, paint the bird with a light watery wash of base color. Let the paint dry.

Continue by sketching in more detail and darker areas with graphite pencil. Enhance wash with more colored pencil detail. 

Finally, sketch in the habitat of their bird. Doing this in graphite pencil adds a nice contrast to the painted bird, allowing it to stand out more.

In this step, sketch smaller images into place onto the watercolor paper, carefully considering enough space for your copy. Create simple sketches with a sharp pencil. You may want to practice the sketch a bit on scrap paper before proceeding with the final drawing.

For the bird’s name, rule out lightly drawn guidelines for your lettering. This is done by using a triangle aligned with the edge of the paper, ensuring that the lines are straight and even. If a triangle is not available, a ruler will do. Write their bird name in a sketchy manner with graphite pencil, so as to tie in with the rest of the art. 

For the body copy, rag your text to create irregular or uneven margins, allowing the copy to form around the contours of the drawings. 

Your study is complete! 

Lesson plan by Janis Doukakis

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