How to draw an owl: learn to draw with graphite | Roxane Strijdom | Skillshare

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How to draw an owl: learn to draw with graphite

teacher avatar Roxane Strijdom

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Basic drawing

    • 3. The eyes

    • 4. Beak, head, ears

    • 5. Finishing the face and head

    • 6. Rest of the body

    • 7. Final result

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About This Class

Hi, in this class I will be teaching you how to draw an owl from scratch. I will show you how to complete an entire realistic drawing using only 3 tools. 

You will be learning how to blend, shade, and highlight using some of my favorite techniques. I will  also be showing you a simple and easy way of creating realistic, thick layered feathers. A technique that can be used on many other animal drawings as well.  

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Roxanne and I'm a freelance graphic designer and digital artist. In this course, I'll be showing you how to create an hour drawing using only graphite mechanical pencil. I will show you all the steps for drawing an owl from the eyes, the highlights and even the feathers, and how to create a very realistic layered feathered look. I'll also be showing you all of the techniques that I use to create highlights and shadows, as well as how to use a blending stump to blend your graphite together and also using an eraser to create highlights and like feathers. These techniques can be used on any kind of animal, whether it has feathers for hair. So stay tuned and follow this course along with me. Grab yourself a pencil and paper, and let's start drawing. 2. Basic drawing: So before we get started, I'm just going to share what I'll be using to create this drawing. So first off, I'm using a mechanical pencil with an HB lead. You can use any kind of pencil or graphite pencil that you prefer. But I do recommend HB or to be laid. And then also you'll be needing an eraser and something to sharpen the edge of it with or a small piece of eraser that you can create lines with. And then also a blending stump. If you don't have a blending stump, you can also just use a regular piece of tissue paper or you can use your finger as well. I also used a ruler to create some guidelines before I got started with my drawing. And you don't have to do this step if you don't want to, but I do recommend it as it does help with figuring out the proportions and figuring out where the eyes and the beak and so on should be. So the first thing I drew was a vertical line just to help me out with this symmetry and kind of figuring out where the middle of the face would be. And then I drew a horizontal line which will help me align the eyes. Okay, so after drawing my guidelines, I moved on to the eyes and the first thing I drew was a eyebrows. I think you can call them that. And they are basically just diagonal lines going over the eyes. So these lines do you connect into the ears? So they go from basically from the top of the beak of the eye and then they form the year. So the top part of this line should be the points of the ears. So you'll figure that out later and maybe adjust them a bit as you go on. And then after that I'm going to draw the eyes. So the eyes are almost completely circular but with a flat line on top. And as you can see, I did draw them first circular and then I erased some of that eyebrow area and lowered it a bit so it came over I a bit more. So the width of the eyes, the eyes should be about 1.5 I with apart from each other. So another thing I want to mention is that when you start drawing the beak and also when you refine that eyebrows, and you will see that the bottom part of the eyebrows and the top of the beak are in alignment with the bottom of the eyes. So now I moved on to the beak, and it's much easier to draw the beak when you already have that vertical line there to show you where the middle of it should be. And the shape of the beak is almost kind of like the shape of an alignment. So after I've drawn the beak, I'm going to move on to deciding where I want all of my feathers to be. So around the eyes, there's going to be a bunch of feathers going in a circular motion around the eyes, almost like the owl is wearing glosses or is using binoculars. So that kind of shape. And then also underneath the eyes and above the beak, there is going to be some failures over there That's going to basically create kind of like a mustache. And then after we've done that, I'm going to move on to figuring out the body. So I'm going to add a wing. And I've actually decided to put the wing on the right side and states, I erase that since the face of the owl is a bit more to the left of the page. I'm going to wing on the right side of the page. Sends it'll give me a bit more space to put that in there. Okay, so now I'm going to just kind of figure out the rest of the ears. And I'm just going to draw in the bottom part first, which will be the inside of the ears. And this is kind of a very fluffy area. So when we draw that, there's gonna be a lot of hair and stuff that's going to be added extra so you don't have to worry about that too much. But for the top part of the ear, you want that line to kind of curve down into like where the top of the head is going to be. And the ear should be pretty pointy. And then we're just going to extend that line a bit so we can figure out where the middle is. And then the top of the head is going to kind of bow out from the middle to the ears. So once I've done that, I'm going to define the mustache area, but that I talked about earlier and I'm going to figure out where I'm going to put the highlights in the eyes pupils. So once I've added these highlights to my pupil, so we are basically done with our basic drawing. And we can go in with her pencil and start adding all of those feathers and details. 3. The eyes: Okay, so now let's add some details and bring this owl to live. So I started by adding a dark outline to the underside of the eye, and then I added that dark shading to the pupil as well. But I made sure to leave that highlight. I think highlights in the eye are very important because they help bring your drawing to life. So once I'm done with the pupil, I'm going to move on to shading the iris as well. And you also want to make sure that you leave a bit of a highlight there and that you have a darker shading where the eye begins like on the top of the eye and where the brow goes over the eye, going to be a darker area because at browse going to be costing a bit of a shadow. So once I've done that, I moved on to adding some shadow to the ridge of the eye. And I also left a white feathers underneath the eye. So from here on out, I started shading the eye and adding those feathers, tweeting the I kind of like as the center and drawing the feathers outwards from the eye. And for this, I used quick sharp strokes to create that layered effect. And you want to make sure that the feathers go from dark to light. Also, don't forget that that straight line on top of the eye is kind of like a little eyebrow. So you'll want to make sure that that is stolen light and that you do add some dark strokes there to just define that. I also use my blending stump to blend the feathers in a bit. So they're not just a bunch of sharp lines that I actually do seem to be smooth and that they come together. So another tip for drawing feathers as that feathers are always moving so you don't have to focus so much on the placement of every single feather. You just want to kind of losing your grip on the pencil. Andrea's create false sharp strokes as long as I go in the same direction, that's all good. But you don't want to focus too much on every single little stroke that you make. Another thing I love doing when drawing feathers or hair or anything on animals is when I draw these feathers. And there is a dark area, for instance, and I want some lighter feathers or lighter hairs to go over that. I just take a sharp piece of my eraser, small enough to create a hair-like stroke. And I just create some strokes with my eraser, which is going to erase the graphite and basically creates a white stroke indicating that there is maybe a wide tear or a white feather going over the rest of the darker feathers. And this is actually a great way to add some layering. So for instance, if you have some darker graphite layer and you use your eraser to add some white feathers and then go over that with graphite again and then again with the eraser, it's going to add a very deep layered effect. So it's going to look very realistic. So as you can see, I do use this technique quite a lot, especially with the little eyebrows. And later on with the rest of the feathers. I'm going to use those as well. 4. Beak, head, ears: So the next step is going to be shading the beak. And because there's going to be a lot of feathers going on behind the beak where going to shaded darker in the middle of the beak and then leave some whites on the side of the beak so to help it stand out against the background of feathers. So basically almost like we're leaving, I highlight on the side of the beak, as well as a highlight in the middle of the beak to indicate that the beak has a curve on top. So ensembles done sharing my beak, I moved onto the, basically the mustache of the owl and started adding in those feathers and creating some highlighted areas and some shaded areas. And the main area of feathers on this mustache is going to be white feathers. So they're going to be very light and you're not going to be adding a lot of detail to it. But then the underneath side of those are going to be a bit darker. As it indicates that the white feathers of the mesh dash is going over some darker feathers that is basically like at the bottom part of the owl speak. Okay, so now that we are basically done with the face area of the owl, we can move on to adding some feathers on the forehead. As you can see in this example, I'm building up layers of feathers in kind of a speckled pattern. And then I used my blending stump to kind of blend in between these layers to create a nice feathery layered look, starting from the beak and going upwards towards the top of the head. So I'm going to start from the beak going upwards. And the more you get to the back of the head, the less you have to focus on detail because we kind of want that area to be kind of blurred out. So the focus is on the front of the head where the eyes and the facial features are. And again, you can see me using my eraser here to add some white feathers in between those dark areas just to create an extra layer of feathers. So moving onto the eyebrow areas on top of where the eyes are, you'll see that there are some dark feathers coming out on the edges and then there's some light failure is coming out from where the layered feathers are on top of the head. So you want to leave that kind of whitish. You can add some details to make it look feathery. And then as you move along upwards towards the ears, the feathers are going to become much darker and it's eventually going to blend into that dark feathers of the inside of the ear. So moving onto the inside of the ER, as I said, those Docker outer lines of the eyebrows are going to blend into the inside of the ears. So you're going to just create some very dark lines that are going to represent the inside of the ear and the feathers coming out there. So again, you don't have to plan every single line. These are going to be very rough lines. So it creates kind of a messy look. So the feathers are going to go in all kinds of different directions. And like I said previously, you don't have to plan every single line because feathers are always moving and they don't always go in the same direction. So as you draw these feathers, you want to make sure that the closer they are to the browse, the darker the shading should be. So and we move on to finishing the rest of the ears and we draw the top part of the ear. Remember that there is dark feathers coming out from the top of the head and going into lighter feathers, which is going to eventually reach the points of the ears. The reason that the top of the ears are a bit lighter is because there is obviously coming light from above shining onto the owl's head. So this is going to create that bit of a highlight on top of the ears. 5. Finishing the face and head : Okay, so now that we're done with the ears, I'm going to go back to the eye area. And I'm just going to create a dark shading of feathers around the eyes. So I'm going to start from the top and I'm going to work my way down and around towards the beak area. And I'm just going to create some dark feathers and then gradually blend them in with the rest of the lighter feathers. So because this is a very dark patch of feathers, I'm going to repeat this tape multiple times. So as you can see, I've blended it once and then I went over it again, this time creating feathers that go more inwards towards the eye to create that illusion that a couple of white feathers is kind of blending into this darker feathers. And then once I've blended that, I'm going to repeat the same process, but this time with the feathers going outwards from the eyes. Okay. So once I'm happy with the eye area of the hour, I'm going to move on to the rest of the body and the head area. And I'm going to create that same speckled feather pattern that I did on the hours forehead. And I'm going to take my blending stump. And again, I'm just going to blend that in to create that speckled feather look. So after I've taken my blending stump and blended in these feathers, I'm going to go back to the dark feathered area around the owl's eyes. And I'm just going to add some extra feathers going outwards just to blend that in a bit more and creates a realistic feel. And again, I'm going to use my eraser. And we're just going to create some white feathers again, going over those dark areas. And again, this is just to create some depth in our drawing. And adding some highlights on sunlight or feathers is going to add another layer of feathers, which is going to make this drawing look a bit more 3D and a bit more realistic. So I'm going to continue this process on both sides of the owl's face and a little bit coming down towards the side as well as underneath the peak. And then after that we are going to create the body feathers Here. Okay. So as you can see, when I'm doing the ALS mustache, I'm doing the same thing as I did with the eyes. I'm starting with a darker shade of feathers then blending that from the bottom upwards into the mustache area. And then I'm taking my eraser after I've blended these feathers and I'm just creating a layer of white feathers that is going over top of the darker feathers, shade. 6. Rest of the body : So moving onto the feathers of the body, I'm going to basically create that same speckled effect that I did for the rest of the body, except this is going to be much larger and much closer together. And we're going to start off by creating some really dark areas of speckles. And we are going to blend that in with our blending stump. And then we are creating some more feathers using our pencil to kind of blend those in some more. And the very top layer of feathers are going to be long strides. So you should blend them in from the bottom and from above. And the middle part should be a bit lighter since there is going to be a slight highlight on those feathers. So as you can see, I'm kind of creating layers of feathers going over top of each other. So you're going to create a layer and then underneath another layer and another, and another, and the distances shouldn't all be the exact same. Because again, feathers down always go in the same direction and they're always moving. And there's also going to be some feathers that are shorter or longer than other feathers since they do fall out and re-grow. And also when you go onto the wing, we are going to use that same speckled effect that we did for the forehead. We're going to use that to create the feathers on the wing. So as you can see here, I'm starting off quite dark and then blending that in to go a bit lighter. And then going over that again, blending and again, and then going over it again and then again. You can also use your eraser to create some more white strokes over that. When you are done with this. Here it is. Here. Hello. Here. Here. For the year Here, Here. Here. So once you're completely done with the feathers and the body, and you're basically done with the entire drawing. You can go over and just finish up by adding some extra little details here and there, maybe adding some darkness or highlight wherever it's needed. But after that you're basically done. The only thing you would have to do now is take our eraser and just clean up these bottom strokes to just kind of finish off this drawing really nice and smoothly. And then you can sign your name and you are done with your owl drawing. 7. Final result: So here we have our finished drawing. I really hope that you enjoyed this video and that it was easy to follow along and follow the steps that I showed you. I really hope that you learned something valuable and that you can use this in the future to draw some amazing more hours. And even other birds, remember that these feather techniques doesn't just work for hours. You can use them on any kind of bird. It's just a simple technique of creating speckled feather patterns and blending them together. Anyway. Thank you so much for watching my course and I hope to see you in the next one. Bye.