The Charcoal Series: Draw Realistic Birds Part One | Chena | Skillshare

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The Charcoal Series: Draw Realistic Birds Part One

teacher avatar Chena, Artist

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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

9 Lessons (1h 18m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials and Class Project

    • 3. Sketching your Reference

    • 4. Laying the Darkest Values

    • 5. Laying the Midtone Values and Blending

    • 6. Working the Background

    • 7. Refining your Drawing Part 1

    • 8. Refining your Drawing Part 2

    • 9. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Welcome to the second class in the Charcoal Series!

As always, this series is all about learning how to have fun with charcoal pencils and using them to create beautiful drawings! In this class, we shall be focused on creating a realistic bird using charcoal pencils.


Join me as I take you through my process of laying down the sketch just by observing the reference image, laying down the values, and finally bringing it all together to a final, striking piece of work.


This class may be geared more towards those with some experience in sketching. However, my previous class on how to sketch and draw a puppy in charcoal may be a good starting point in figuring out a simpler sketching method before advancing to the methods used in this class.

Keep an eye out for part two where we shall tackle another bird using a different approach!


Meet Your Teacher

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Hi! My name is Chena, also known as LechenArt. I'm based in Nairobi, Kenya and I'd say I'm pretty much a jack-of-all-trades. My background is in Civil Engineering, but art has always been my passion.

I wouldn't say that I am a self-taught artist as I have learned so much through the years from various resources and hours of practice (with lots of mess-ups!). That's why I know that my students can be able to learn and improve on their art, no matter their age or background.



I love exploring different mediums and subjec... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, and welcome to another class in the charcoal series. I'm Jenna. And in this class we'll be learning how to draw abide in charcoal. This is only part one, so stay tuned for part two. I'll take you through the entire process of how I select my reference image. High laid down the sketch. I lay down their darkest values, midtone values, background, and how I blend it all together. After that, I'll show you how I bring out all the details using my pencil and marries her. So I hope you're ready. And let's get into the class. Mm-hm. 2. Materials and Class Project: So, which materials will you need for this class? Passed off? You'll need some PIPA. As usual. I still recommend the cans on paper, which has 180 GSM, bright white. But you can also use any other people as long as it's quite heavy. You'll also need your pencil over here museum, a mechanical pencil, as well as an assortment of different shackled pencils which have different hardness. Although f from a to which two assets be I use my 6B pencil a lot. So that's why you can see that it's really shot. You also need appointed erisa. Tumble Mona. Lisa. Doesn't need I needed erisa, which can be used to pick up some satellites in the background or even for the feathers of the bad. You'll also need a blending stump. I'm using a tiny one because I only use it to blend in the small areas, as well as a fluffy brush to blend in the larger areas. To sharpen your pencils, you can either use areas are I also need a blank sheet of paper. Finally, you need some masking tape to create the clean. But as, as I said before, this is only part twine of how to draw a BAD. I selected two different references that I liked a lot. And over here we're going to start with one of the references. I'm going to go ultra realistic with this one. So I'm sure you know the process of how to change your colored photos into a grayscale. I showed the procedure in my previous video of how to draw a Chaco puppy. We're going to draw this Maco. In this video. I really liked the details are on the beach. And we're also going to find ways to bring out the details of the feathers on its body and then the wings. For your class project. I encourage you to download the reference image in their class project section and follow along with the videos. I can't wait to see the drink that you mean by pulling along the video. Please don't forget to post your finish creations in the class project section. In the next class, we will tackle this other beautiful drawing. 3. Sketching your Reference: Now we are into the process of how to lay down our sketch. It's a much more involved process than the one that we used when I was drained the puppy. First of all, start by looking at Cherry friends image and try to find the center of the image. Over here you can see that my center lies somewhere around at the bottom of the beak. So I'm laying down their center lane on my paper. And I'm also looking at this piece above the head of the bed and trying to lay down that section. And also just lean and down either any other distinct features that I can't see. With time under practiced I, you learn how to just see the measurements and copy them directly onto your paper. When sketching, I like to use short strokes with my pencil. And sometimes they can drove up section multiple times just so that IBM and I can drop out the lines that I do not need of a sketch. So I'm starting out with the meek and going up towards the head. Try to Boston will draw the whole thing without erasing. Then later on in the end we shall areas out their lines that we do not need. All the append cell towards the end so that you can draw loosely. I can see the small section between the mic, but you can see the background behind the bad. So I'm including that sexual. And during my bad to be a little bit bigger than the trends as I wanted to fill up the page. But blocking out their distinct doc sections and they're distinct highlights. If you make a mistake and lay down a line at a place that you don't think that line should be. And just draw the line at the case where you think it should be that are unusual, end up erasing the previous line that you draw. As you can see, I am keeping on defining the lines that I'm drawing. I'm measuring the height at which the wings of the bad guy. And I'm trying to line them up. But some tiny details about the beak. And I'm trying to lead them down to this section and that kind of looks like a hat. And I'm laying down the approximately where I think it should be. And I'm just going to lay them down lightly with my pencil and put them down. Now I'm outlining the highlighted area and putting down the small markings. They don't have to be exactly match something Clausius. And keep on looking between my drawing, some of the shadows of the body. But you don't really need to do that because we are still going to mean that doc sections and doing and the bright sections are doing. You can see the feathers. And so that's what I'm trying to show you. I seemed to be overlapping. So as you can see, we're pretty much done with laying down the sketch. The excess lines that you can either use you can use your acquainted erisa. I prefer to use my point today is and you'll see me talk in a second. This is exactly where I think that they should be. You can see multiple lines on the side of the bad space. Or the lines that don't show the proportions of the bag. Keep going with this process until you remove all the lines that you're going to need. This is our sketch looks at everything that you've done. You can see it looks pretty close to the way the bad locks. The next step is optional, but you can use to pick up some excess graphite and make the sketch a bit later. It's especially necessary to be using different mediums such as. But when it comes to Chaco, it's not really necessary. 4. Laying the Darkest Values: Moving on to the lesson on how to lay down the dark as values. For these spots. You can use a barrier for me, charcoal pencil, Ola 6B charcoal pencil. I'm starting off with my 4B charcoal pencil, but I'll quickly switch over to my 6B charcoal pencil. Since they're charcoal on it is much softer and the procedure goes a lot faster. Remember to use your spare piece of paper so that you do not end up smudging diver areas overdrawing once you've laid down the charcoal. I'm starting off with a mic which is really dark. And I'm trained to drive around the areas where I can see a little bit of a highlight. You might end up losing that highlight once we blend it all together, but it will still bring it back in the end. Once we blend. I'm just going to go all around the beak. Since this is a really dark section. You can use short strokes with your pencil or a circular motions if you'd like. Now moving on to the lower section of the beak. And still during this process, as I said before, you can try to live out some of the areas that seem a little bit lighter due to there being a little bit of a highlight. At this section around the eye and the beak are used really shots motions with my pencil to put in some jagged lines that show the motion of the feathers growing around the sexual. There seems to be a bad head. Section 6B pencil. So that's using less pressure. Does, but remember that this blending. So this trucks are the thetas that you can see me laying down right now. Well, not completely blend outreach later on. I'd like to leave them in there to show some texture. May fix me. Pencil became quite blunt, so I just moved onto my 4B pencil. I'm now laying down the markings around the eye. Again using short jacket motions expressed. Try to make the image are going right now. There are also some dogma I'm using. Right now. Moving onto this section to the right of the bad. If you look closely, you'll see that there is a dark shadow. And so it becomes blunt. Just take a pause. And now moving on to the other when taking Canada to lay down my palm on the section enrich apparati drone. I'm starting with a dark shadow close to the body. The outer section of the ring has large dark patches. So that's what I'm putting in a fast I'm trying to get the outline of the highlighted area close to the body so that afterwards I can now lay down the dark section to the left. Take your time with all these processes. Don't trash to try and finish their drained quickly. If you feel yourself getting tick oppose and come back to sections. Later on. We'll come back and make it next to a be, laying down the midterm values. 5. Laying the Midtone Values and Blending: Now I'm moving on to how to lay down the minton values, as well as how we are going to blend the fast layer all together. For you as you are to be charcoal pencil. Use light pressure as you're laying down the midterm values. I'm starting with the top of the head. You can see that there are some light gray looking favors. I'm using short strokes with my 2B pencil. And as you can see, I'm holding it towards the center, not right at the base of the pencil. This enables me to lay it down using soft pressure. You can see some few feathers close to the mean. And that's what I'm laying down. Some areas that we left pretty right. Now laying down. You can see you at the paper which I'm resting my palm, picked up some of their chocolate and transport it to the area close to the mic. I'm still going to end up erasing that sexual. So it's not much of a problem. And now you can see why it's really important to lay down your palm on something. Because if it wasn't for the paper, I'm laying down some of the light gray values on their age. We're still using light pressure. As much as the inner section of the looks to be really light, right? There. Still some shadows within there when I'm using sunlight pressure to lay down those shadows were intensify those shadows. I'm nodding some texture on the bad. This section is a little bit in shadow. So I don't mind. With my mum practice, guys be able to identify the different values immediately once you tend to make peace of people. And you're blending, don't be afraid to go. Left as white. And I'm going to continually blow in the Chaco. Does that accumulates on the paper? As you can see in some areas, I'm going a little bit over the line. As long as I still see the proportions of my bad. Later on common clean up those lines. I'm going to bring that Chaco dust into the air sections of the paper that had left white, like this section around the beak. Now moving on to the buddy up. With my brush. I'm bringing that chocolate dust into the breakaway TGS that had left untouched. Ending the eye as well as just blend the entire area. The more you blend. Blending in the direction that the Fed strokes of the brush still live. Blending in the direction that grain is beneficial in creating the illusion of just over the entire area. You can see that that area will need to go much, much darker. Now on to the other side of the body. Starting by blending the shadow close to the body, then bending the white area that we left on the, when. We move one to the section on the alto. Now we're pretty much done at the drain looks. So we still have a lot of work to do. So in the next video, I'm going to show you how to draw the background. So that one sees touch during the Theta's. They may stand out against the background. 6. Working the Background: Now I'm moving on to the background. And I'm going to lay down in the exact same way as a reference image looks much agreeing to create different patterns using our adapt pencil as well as I needed areas are one thing that I'd like you to notice and to practice as he leaned on your background, is to try to meet the areas of the background that are close to dark sections of the bad, brighter, into mic areas that are close to late sections and the bad Dukkha. Unless treat as we move along. Amusing May sixth, pencil to lay down their dark sections in different patterns. For example, the beak is really dark. Some way to make the background section close to the beak a lot lighter so they can stand out. And then when you look at the head towards the right, you can see that the feathers there, I really late. So I'm going to make that section of the background close to that area, really dark over the feathers can stand out. How to get back up. I'd like to put in some bread white feathers and try and make that stand out. The right side of the head. Left Behind once you lay down the strokes with your pencil. Ip-based, quite rough. So you can still notice a lot of the strokes that were left behind by the charcoal pencil. This is how it looks at this stage. And you can see a lot of that texture I was talking about. So next we're going to try and remove that texture by making those sections a lot darker. That even make the bad pop. Mom finally sharpened my 6B pencil. So I am using it to lay down the sections. You'll notice once we blend out these areas again, the texture of the pencil ylab is appeared. You can see how smooth it is now. This is why I like using masking tape to make my board as an aside note, don't need a blank piece of paper on which I've scribbled on using your 6B are 4B pencil so that we can use that dust that has accumulated on the paper to pick it up. I laid down on some sections of the bad. Still a God making the sections of the background Dhaka. And another side note, if you see a pencils are getting really shot and at becoming uncomfortable to hold. And by something that is called a pencil extender. And use that to enable you to use your pencil. Right down to the, I'll show it in my next video. You can see me making this section close to the head. I like Dhaka. Now I'm blending all the sections together. The sections are DAC related, create McCrea interesting patterns in the background. If you have a chocolate dock, dock, dock sections are much easier as well. Just remember to die. Now, I was pretty much the DAC sections to the background. So next, I'll use my needed to make some few more patterns in the background. And putting different patterns into the background. Just dab lightly against the paper. Yes. You feel like you had lifted up too much Chaco. Just use your brush to spread out to meet them. Blend in a little bit more. You can see me doubling down. Let your creativity. As you're doing these parts. You can decide to go as detailed or as big as you want when you drain the backgrounds. And now again it drained the background. Now moving on to the most time-consuming sec, which is B are the details of our drying. 7. Refining your Drawing Part 1: Now, until refining our drain, this section is quite long, so I've divided it into two parts. So in the previous video, I mentioned how I'd like the sections of the background that are close to dark sections of my bud to be quite late. So I'm starting out by making some of those sections a little bit later using my areas or in general, in this part, we'll need our to hedge pencil. For me are 6B charcoal pencil, kneaded eraser and are appointed areas or I wanted to make the highlight around the early MIT could stand out. I'm setting out by bringing out the highlight in the background close to the mic so that the beak may standout. I'm doing that by using my pointed erisa as well as many did area cell. And then using my brush to dial down the highlight. Once I feel like it's too bright, then I'm using my thumb B2C or pencil to make them even dot-com. Like having a lot of contrast in my drawings. See how making the background much brighter, automatically mix the beak standout even without us adding more doc values onto the beach. And the beach itself. You can see a highlight on the outer section. So I'm using my point today is that to add this highlight. And there's another less bright highlights on the inside part. So we shall end up dialing down this highlight later on. We add dulling it down using our brush. Continually look between your drawing and girlfriends image to see where you need to put him some highlights and dry. You don't you will see me constantly switch between the different tools that I mentioned. The area on top of the beak is pretty bright. So I use possible MY pointed area set to meet the area quite bright. Then I use me to hedge pencil to add some light feathers, to add the edge. Make it stand out. And using my pen. You see the lightest section at the center of the beak is still part of the background in our reference image. So I'm trying to make it the same value as the background around the beak. And then I'll claiming the inner section where I can see a little bit of a highlight switch between your needed aerosol and you're pointed areas are as needed. I'm pretty much going to be alternating a lot between my erisa and my pencil. So just follow along our slow down the video if you need to. And follow along to the actions that I'm taking. Then again, your drain may need different rectification runs. So try and see where you need to go brighter and see where you need to go down and take the appropriate action. And wanted to meet the area that top of the head. A little bit of a highlight. And that's why in the previous video of the background, ME that sexual knowledge Dhaka. Now you can see how it's standing out against a dark background. That also gives a line of demarcation between the body of the bad and the background. Cherry ISA becomes clogged up with a lot of Chaco dust, just rabbit against a clean piece of paper. And missing my point in areas or to make an illusion. At the same time. But a tiny sections that are best to use. We're going to use my brain drain squiggly lines, standing out, I guess. Yes. Now using my charcoal pencil to put down some dark lines at the bright red meat. Here's light pressure. And now making the markings as for the eye and make the outline of the AI a lot darker than a make the section around the pupil a little bit lighter. And I didn't some markings using my hide to hedge pencil. This brings out some patterns within the I. You can put a little bit of a shadow at the top part of the eye, underneath the eyelid to give the eye a little bit more depth. Here's my brush to pick up some of the dust. The illusion of petals using my eraser. But going to occur we slowly down the body of the bide as the adding the highlights and make some of the areas of Dhaka. Now this is the end of patois drain mean, but today we finish up refining the details. 8. Refining your Drawing Part 2: Moving line with the procedure of adding the highlights to be much, much darker. So I brought my 6B Chaco. I'm going over the whole area, making it a lot data. You see how a daily twice before compared to how it looks now, after I've added the six meet charcoal pencil, and use my brush to blend this area. But going very carefully not to take the dust into the areas above the head wherever it deleted my patterns and continually blowing away the charcoal dust. Keep on jumping from section to section. You can do the same. I finish up in one area before you move on to the next. There's a strip of highlights at the head and the body. If you don't have appointed erisa, they'll find some instructions in the class project section on which you can use. Instead. I'd really recommend having such a bad idea to put in some larger looking feathers. But that's why section look much larger compared to the ones to the right. When it comes to the body, just use shut strokes in the direction that some feathers are longer than others. So make sure that you vary the length of the stroke. Drain is also coming together at this point. Feel free to take some progress shots as you continue to see your process. I also wanted to add in some areas of shadow, even the lighter looking feathers. So that's why I'm using my two hedge pencil to add in those areas. The section to the left of the bads body. It had to have a little bit more shadow, some adding it back in. You see the contrast between the highlights that we had added before and the shadows that are putting it right now. Now after this section to be alot daka dum, using my pencil to the shadow. As I said in my previous class on how to draw Papi. Yeah, pencils are pretty much interchangeable and you can get through drain the entire drawing just by having two pencils. For example, a hedge pencil, as well as a hobby. To be honest, 6B. As long as you have 100 pencil and one soft pencil, you're defined as along the wind to be much darker, shadow. He also enter this bottom section to be a large Dhaka. Some music, a lot more pressure. And I'm going to use some of the Chaco dust on the paper to make the wing I love Dhaka. Or they need to do is to squiggly a brush in the Chaco dust and bring that dust over to the section that you want to make it darker. We use this procedure in our previous class on how to draw Papi as well. I can see some highlights on the wing, sum, adding them back in using my eraser. I'm also using short strokes to show the illusion of remembering to go in the direction that the Fed has within the ring. Bringing in a little bit of a highlight on the wing. Now back to refining the body. In order to bring the illusion of feathers on the body of the bad, amusing. To create the outline of those petals. Remember the overlapping the bottom part of the body also needed to be allowed to bring in that shadow. After putting the light shadow. To put a little bit of parts of the body. Continually look between your drain image. I use my pencil to bring some light, dark lines that go in the direction that the grain just in the same way as we used to put in some bright white lines. Now we're going to move on to the other when there's a bright highlight to adds the edge of the wing. So I'm using a lot of pressure with my research putting that highlight. There are also small highlighted areas on the wing. And now we are putting that down. The section where the wind drained the body. It did have a lot. My shadow, though we are putting back that shadow with our usual process using light pressure in this section because the weight is not too bright of a highlight. Just a light gray color. If you go to a great, just gives you a brush to bring back. Yes. You can use your high charcoal pencil to bring in some more shadow and putting some texture. Now we keep on putting the highlight. This section needs a bright highlight them using a lot of pressure. You see how the rain kind of blend with the background. And that was deliberate. It's why we made that section of the background I loved doing now kind of blend with the background. And now we are actually done with our drawing. It's easy to walk and go. I didn't highlight over and over again. As soon as you feel satisfied in their drawing. And drawing also looks phenomena and has a nice contrast of dark and bright highlights. The end that you can see the features of the subject really well. And we're finally done with drain carbide. This is how my drain looks. How does he has looked at this point? Please post in the project section. In the final video, will be peeling off the tip of my drawing. 9. Final Thoughts: And now we've come to the end of our class. All you have left to do is to carefully peel off the masking tip that you used to meet your edges. I find it to be a really satisfying fields. As you can see, all the clean edges that are left behind. It's a good idea to use some kind of fixative spray on your drain so that you may avoid my dream on the beautiful drain that she took so much time on. I will link some good fixative sprays in the Class Resources section. Keep an eye out for patch to be tackling a different bad, but using a different process. So that you may know in a post to the next class, don't forget to sign your drawing. And it'll be a lot of fun following along. And please post your project in the class project section. See you in the next class.