Be Your Own Birder

It’s Draw-a-Bird Day!

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Bird Drawings
Bird Drawings – Images by nickupton

It’s time to pick up a colored pencil, marker, paintbrush or just your favorite pen or pencil – it’s Draw-a-Bird Day! This holiday began in 1943 and is celebrated worldwide by artists and non-artists alike – it’s not about talent, skill, or experience, but about the joy of celebrating the simple things in life, like the fun of drawing, coloring, or sketching and sharing it with others. You might draw your favorite species, a bird you hope to see, your latest lifer, a scene from your backyard feeders, or even an imaginary bird. Whether you doodle in a margin with a nub of a No. 2 pencil or break out the professional supplies and easel, just enjoy bringing the feathers to life through your fingers!

Get Started Drawing Birds

No matter what your artistic skills, there are guides that can help you draw birds better. Need some inspiration or guidance? These resources can help…

  • How to Draw Birds
    This quirky guide offers fast and easy steps for drawing fun cartoon birds of different species and personalities. Suitable for children and adults, this is a great option for simple drawings to let your crazy creativity soar, and is great for making your own fun bird comics or whimsical notes for cards, signs or any drawing occasion.
  • How to Draw Birds
    This slightly more advanced, full-color guide focuses on basic drawing techniques for realistic birds in realistic poses. A variety of bird species are included to sharpen drawing skills, including a flamingo, eagle, woodpecker, parrot, peacock, sparrow, crane and more. The techniques can then be applied to many more bird species.
  • The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds
    A more advanced book for aspiring artists or art students, this guide teaches techniques for proportion, shading and greater detail than more basic books. Easy steps can help any artist refine their bird-drawing skills, and natural history trivia included in the book adds richness and realism to the bird-drawing experience.
  • Draw 50 Birds
    A comprehensive guide with tips for a range of species in appropriate poses and with fun behaviors, the skills and techniques you develop by following this step-by-step instruction book can easily be applied to many more birds than just the 50 featured within its pages, giving you a full flock of great ways to draw even more birds.
  • Draw Over Vintage Bird Sketches
    A more unique approach to developing drawing and illustration skills, this book features a variety of vintage bird sketches you can draw directly over to get the feel for how master artists sketch our feathered friends. This can help you develop the proper movements and hand positions to apply to any new bird drawings you make.
Chickadee Sketch - Photo by Alex Hiam
Chickadee Sketch – Photo by Alex Hiam

How Drawing Birds Helps Birding

As you learn to draw birds, you’ll also find your birding skills improve. Drawing forces you to pay greater attention to details such as a bird’s overall shape and proportions, the exact extent of markings, posture, poses, and other subtleties that can help identify a species.

Furthermore, as your sketches, drawings, and illustrations expand, so will your view and you will notice more about birds’ habitats – the exact plants they prefer, how they interact with those plants, and even what weather conditions or times of day birds are most active. Each of these details can add richness to your drawings, and will enhance your understanding of birds.

You’ll be watching birds more carefully in order to sketch them more accurately, and the more you draw, the more you’ll notice about even the most familiar birds you thought you knew. What better reason to celebrate this holiday, and any day that gives us an excuse to pay more attention to birds!

Colored Pencils - Photo by Nicolas Buffler
Colored Pencils – Photo by Nicolas Buffler

3 thoughts on “It’s Draw-a-Bird Day!

  1. Jayne Wilson

    I’ve never heard of Draw-a-Bird Day – what a great idea. It’s cold, drizzly and yucky outside. What better way to pass the time than drawing birds?

  2. Steve Earsom

    It’s so interesting. This is my first time hearing about bird drawing day. I found this to be an interesting and meaningful activity. We will better understand a certain type of bird when we draw about them. We are broadened our knowledge and can know more types of birds. I will participate in this event next time. Thanks for your sharing.

  3. Janice Steel

    Love this idea.i have always envied people who could draw birds. I want to draw them but i am afraid that i would be any good at it.

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