Line Drawing: A Three-Step Approach (And a Five-Day Birdacious Bootcamp) | Catherine Jennifer Charnock | Skillshare

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Line Drawing: A Three-Step Approach (And a Five-Day Birdacious Bootcamp)

teacher avatar Catherine Jennifer Charnock, Artist, Surface Pattern Designer

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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 32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Day 1 Blue Footed Boobies

    • 5. Day 2 Puffins

    • 6. Day 3 Ibis

    • 7. Day 4 Ducks

    • 8. Day 5 Owls


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About This Class

This class teaches a simple three-step approach that makes line drawing accessible to anyone. You will learn how to do blind contour (step 1), semi-blind contour (step 2),  and then how to take these techniques and use them to draw in your own style and rhythms (step 3).

If you want to learn how to draw, this class is for you. If you already draw but you want a refresher, or to push yourself to practise more, this class is for you, too.


The foundation of drawing is LOOKING and PRACTISING – and this three-step technique is a human-friendly way to get over your fear and start practising each day.

To get you started, you are cordially invited to join me for five days, each day we will use the three-step process and draw a different type of bird. I’ll bring the method, you bring the coffee.


Feeling unsure? Don’t. Because the first step is completely fail-safe. Shall I say that a bit louder? COMPLETELY FAIL-SAFE! With blind contour, there’s no such thing as a bad drawing. In fact, the worse it looks on the page, the better, because it means you were TOTALLY not looking at your page. Take that, Fear.


And the juicy part is... although the class focuses on drawing birds, if you keep practising these techniques, you'll soon be able to draw ANYTHING. Because the skills you learn are transferrable... to any subject-matter.

I recommend you have an ipad or phone so you can draw from the reference photos provided. Apart from that, all you need is a pen and paper.

Ready to say ‘yes’ to yourself and draw some amazing birds? Let’s go!



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Catherine Jennifer Charnock

Artist, Surface Pattern Designer

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1. Introduction: Line drawing can feel like flying, when you're in the zone, focus but free. The results can be surprising, amusing, unexpectedly charming, and the best thing of all is that it's such an easy art form to learn. I'm Catherine Jennifer, an artist and surface designer living in Oxford, UK. In this class, we will focus on drawing birds, and I will show you a three-step approach to get into line drawing. The beauty of it is that the first step, blind contour drawing, is completely fail-safe, you can't do a bad drawing. The second step, semi-blind contour, is a little more flexible so you feel a little bit more in control, and the third step is where you just fly, go with the flow, develop your own style and rhythms, and have fun. Being able to capture the essence of something just using line is incredibly rewarding. I find that the discipline of looking and of focusing intently on the connection between eye and hand helps to mitigate anxiety and makes me feel calmer. It's an easy way that you can carve out 10 minutes for yourself and get into a state of flow. Once you've got a body of line drawings, you can use them to create fun products for yourself like this, and you can sell them online. Once you know the method, the secret is to practice. In this class, I'm inviting you to join me on a five-day birdacious bootcamp. Each day, we will draw for about 20 minutes using the three-step approach, focusing on one type of bird. I really hope you'll join me on this journey into pen on paper, into flow, and into the magical world of line drawing. 2. Project: The project for this class is to join me on a five-day boot camp doing line drawings of birds. Each day we will draw for about 20 minutes using the three-step approach. I've designed the day so that the subjects get progressively harder as you gain confidence in your skills. We will start with blue-footed boobies my favorite, and then move through puffins, ibises, runner ducks, and finally owls. If you look in the class resources, you will find images of each type of bird to work from. I've also put in there some examples of each type of bird drawn using the three-step approach. Your finished projects should contains six types of birds and the three-step approach for each type. You're welcome to share all your drawings in the project gallery if you want to, or just choose a few, it's up to you. I'd really love to see what you come up with and to hear any thoughts you have about the approach and whether it was useful to you. In the next section, we'll talk about materials. See you there. 3. Materials: You can use any type of pen to practice line drawing and any type of paper. I would recommend that you use pen rather than pencil. Because with pencil, there's always the temptation to want to erase any mistake lines. In line drawing, mistake lines actually add character and interests to the drawings. Here's an example where this mistake line actually adds to the finished piece. This is obviously a face and not a bird. But I'm showing you this because I discovered quite to my astonishment that after spending a long time working on bird drawings, all of a sudden, I was able to draw faces, nobody was more surprised than me. If you learn this approach, you can then take that skill and apply it to anything that you want to draw. It works. Later on, I will show you some of my bad drawings so that you can see the journey and the progression and that practicing really does pay off. I will be demonstrating using these Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. There are about six pens in this box, and they all have different weights. The one I use the most is the 0.3, but you don't need this pen. You can use whatever you've got, whether it's a ballpoint pen, a fine liner, or a felt tip, whatever. Just avoid anything that has a tendency to smudge. If you want to, you can also have a go with dip pen and ink. I will demonstrate a bit of that later in the class. These Pitt Artist Pens are water and fade proof, and they are pigment ink. For line drawing, you can use any paper. I have found that using these pins with standard printer paper, the ink does tend to bleed a little bit into the paper. I will be demonstrating using marker paper. This is gold line, A4 marker pad. I've also got Daler Rowney. They're both 70 gram paper, so it's very thin, but they're also very smooth and white and bleed proof. Because I know that I will be scanning my drawings in and working on them digitally, the thickness of the paper doesn't matter. I've put details about the paper and the pens that I'm using in the class resources, but we really don't need anything special. You can draw on a cereal box if that's all that comes to hand. Grab a cup of coffee, and I'll see you in the next lesson, which is our first go at blind contour drawing. 4. Day 1 Blue Footed Boobies: Welcome to Day 1. Today, I'm going to demonstrate the three-step approach using blue-footed boobies as subject matter. I love blue-footed boobies because they are really easy to draw and they have so much character. I've gathered some images from royalty free sites such as Pixabay and Unsplash, which I've put into the class resources folder and you can work from these as well. When you're ready to start drawing, either print out the source images or put them on your iPad and work from them directly on screen. I prefer to work from images on the iPad because my printer doesn't give great color and loses a lot of the details, so I usually work from source images on an iPad. Before we start, I just give a quick overview of the three steps. The first step is blind contour drawing. This is where you keep your eyes focused completely on the subject matter and you don't look down at your page at all. Step 2 is semi-blind contour. This is where you keep your eyes on the subject most of the time, I'd say about 95 percent of the time. Occasionally, you can look down at your page simply to find your reference point. Step 3, I call, go with the flow. This is because by the time you've done Step 1 and Step 2, you should be warmed up, you should have your eye in, and you should be ready to draw more naturally and to enter a state of flow. Let's start with Step 1, blind contour drawing. As I said in the intro, blind contour drawing is 100 percent fail-safe. There's no such thing as a bad blind contour drawing. The purpose of the exercise is purely to focus your eyes on the subject and to train your hand to follow your eye. There are two things to keep in mind with blind contour drawing. The first thing is, it's all about pace. Usually, your hand wants to go a lot faster than your eyes. Your brain thinks it knows what something looks like. Brains are a bit arrogant like that. But actually, you don't know what it looks like. You don't know every curve, every angle. You don't know the distance from one thing to the next and the relative proportions. Actually, you have to really allow your eyes to follow the shape of the subject, noticing every change in direction, every dent, and train your hand to work at the same pace as your eyes. I recommend to set the pace to as slow as possible. This might seem frustrating or uncomfortable at first, but the more you practice it, the easier it gets. The second thing to keep in mind is that it doesn't matter if your lines don't join up at the end. In fact, just don't even expect them to join up. If you look at this page of drawings, you can see that they are a bit all over the place. Actually, the best drawing on the page is this one where the lines don't meet up at the end. But look at what delicious negative space has happened here. You can see that I started here just to the side of the beak and follow the shapes with one smooth line. This section of line here should have come around and join at the top. But actually, I love that it didn't join. I love that it's just white space over here and your brain magically finishes that line for you. Well, my brain does. This is the magic of line drawing. It surprises you, it delights. Number 1, pace. Match your hand to the pace of your eyes and keep it as slow as possible. Number 2, don't expect your lines to join up. Now I'm going to demonstrate the first step of blind contour with the source images of blue-footed boobies. Here I have a folder full of images of blue boobies. I'm going to start with this one. Now, I am completely not warmed up. I haven't done a single drawing yet today. This is exactly as it would be when you start and you have your first attempt at blind contour. I'm going to keep my eyes completely on the bird at all times. I can see the page in my peripheral vision. But apart from looking at where I'm starting and roughly thinking about the size at which I'm going to draw the bird. After that, I'm only going to look at the screen. Here we go. Now, the thing with line drawing is you keep your pen on the paper all the time because you're not looking at the page. If you were to lift your pen up from the page, you will not know where to put it down next time. Because of that, you sometimes have to double back on yourself. Now, I can see my page and my pen in my peripheral vision, but I'm not looking directly at it. I'm just letting my eyes wonder over the bird, following the lines. I'm trying to slow myself down. You can see I've started quite fast and I need to remind myself to slow down, slow down my eyes, slow down my hands. I'm just going up to the top of the head. Now, I'm going to stop there and I'm going to have a look. There we go. Line drawing Step 1, blind contour. Now, I'm going to do it again. This time, I'm going to start at the same place and I'm going to be a lot slower. I want to put the wing in this time and follow the wing down. Now I know there's a body going up there, but I've got to come back down again with my pen. Now I'm going to put the leg in and I'm still feeling quite tense. I'm aware that I'm holding the pen quite tightly, so I want to try and relax my grip a little bit. I know already that I've missed out a whole bunch of things, so my eye's going back over it. Sometimes it helps to take a deep breath and just remind yourself that this is just about looking, about slowing down, there's a little indent there, just forgetting everything else, and just getting your pen in time with your eyes. That's all this is about. Curve there. A useful thing to do is to try and relax your pencil grip, your grip on your pen. When you are nervous and tense, you tend to start griping it way too tightly. Then the line that comes out is really quite stiff. I'm going to just go back here, which isn't something I would normally do, but I want to have an attempt at putting the beak in. Then with blind contour because you don't lift your pen, there's no way I can get to that eye over here because there's nothing that joins the eye. I'm actually just going to leave it out and I'm going to look down. That's better than that. The observation is starting to fall into place. Now I'm going to do Step 2, which is semi-blind contour and that was pretty quick and it can be as quick as that, or you can spend time doing 3, 4, 5 blind contour drawings, just whatever feels comfortable to you. I'm going to start at the same place. I'm going even slower than I was before. I'm going to put in the side of this guy. Line drawing is a lot to do with the pace. Although I've said slow down as much as possible, it's about finding the sweet spot, not too fast, not too slow, just what feels right to you to capture the quality of the subject. I had a quick look down there. I know that I'm working on this wing and now again, I can see it in my peripheral vision. But I'm not actually looking. I'm still not looking. I'm going to put the little tail feathers in there. Now, I've come to the edge of the wing, so I'm going to look, I'm going to lift my pen up. I'm going to find my reference point back here and I'm going to keep going. Now I'm looking at again at the bird and I'm so tempted to look down at my page, but I'm not going to, not yet. Now I'm doing the little eye and the more you practice this, the more you come to trust your own hand to follow your eye. I'm going to stop there because I got to that point and I know I've already drawn that bit. Although it doesn't quite match, that's fine, doesn't matter. Now, to find my reference point again, I'm going to start up here. Again, now I'm back looking at the screen. I'm not looking at my page and I'm coming down. I'm very tempted to look at my page. I'm going to have a quick look. Now I'm looking back at my screen. Again, I'm not trying to go for a perfect drawing here. I am trying to relax, relax my shoulders, relax my arms. I'm trying to just get into the feel of the pen on the paper. Get into the discipline of looking. Some wrinkles at the claw. The less you can look at your page, the better I find. Then the foot and then up here. That's quite nice. Again, I've lifted my pen. Now, I want to put that eye in. The first thing I can see is that this line looks a bit low and it's probably because I haven't finished the beak. I'm going to plant there and then just finish the beak. It's not perfect, but that's fine. That creates the space for the eye, that's a very wonky circle. But there we go. Then I can see that this line is now too high because it should actually join on there. Am I going to fix it? Yeah, I'm going to give it a try. Go in, but then of course the neck is wrong. This is where mistake lines start to actually add the character that you're looking for. I've left out the wing, so I'm going to look, I'm going to plant my pen, and then I'm going to keep my eyes on the screen down and around. That's step 2. Step 2, semi-blind contour. What I'm going to do now is choose a different image. Let me have a look, this is a nice one. Zoom in a bit. Let's give this one a go. I'm going to do semi-blind again. I usually find that two drawings in blind contour, two drawings in semi-blind, and then I'm usually ready to have a go at step 3. I'm going to plant my pen there. I'm going to follow the line around, and I can now feel that I'm a bit more relaxed. I'm not quite so scared of the paper. I'm just letting my pen follow where my eyes want to go like that, tail feathers. I still haven't looked at my page, so I still don't know if I'm in the right place. Now I'm looking down. Not bad, almost in the right place. I'm going to lift because I lost where I was. I'm going to come down and do those legs, so plant the pen and then keep looking at the subject. I can see my page in my peripheral vision, but I'm not actually looking at where I am. I'm going to have a quick look. Good, keep going. Quick look. I'm just going to join that up, lovely. Now I'm going to go like that. I'm going to pop this leg in into its socket about there. I had a quick look there. The reason why I don't look at my page is because as soon as you do, you lose where you are. I only look when I've run out of something to draw. I've arrived at this position there. I don't know what to do, so I'm going to lift, and actually that's fine. Now I'm going to pop this wing in over here like that. I looked for that. Now I'm coming back to this chest. I'm going to start there, have a little bit in. Again, I'm just keeping my eyes on the subject. Little face popping in there a little bit, now I'm having a quick look on my page to join there. Let's plant there, and if we go again, I'm only looking at my screen. I'm really trying to slow down my eyes and the back. I'm going to have a quick look. Yeah. Not too bad at all. Let's pop a little eye in. I got the little eyes. Let's give him a little bit of a mouth. Let's put him on a rock. Let's give him a few tail feathers because it's showing. There we go. It's not exactly right, but it's not bad actually as a step 2, semi-blind. What you can see from this is that I'm now ready to draw step 3, which is go with the flow. I'm going to choose a different bird to work from. Let's have a look. Quite like him. Him, he's the one. I'm going to make him as big as I can. This way that they hold up the feet is classic blue-footed booby style. This is going to be step 3. Go with the flow where I'm just going in my own style. Now again, it really doesn't matter if it goes wrong. Some drawings go beautifully, some drawings go wrong. It's all fine. I'm going to start up here. I will start there. I'm very conscious of relaxing my hand. I'm also very conscious of trying not to look at my page too much. Every now and then I'm looking just to check that the relative proportions are more or less correct. Already I can see that I drew the body much too short. That's okay, it doesn't matter. The curve of the head there. Great. Now we're going to pop in this leg. It's got a little bit of foreshortening going on. I'm trying to be quite free with my pen, you get quite a flowing line going. Pop this leg in there. Great. Now I'm actually just really having fun and enjoying doing this. It's got a great little foot. This part of his foot is hidden by the rock, so I'm going to flow that line into the rock. You can see a tiny bit around about there. Then we're good to go, legs in there. I'm going to pop his face in now, put a little up, down, and give him a little eye. Sometimes for the eye, I want to take a smaller thinner one. This is excess, extra small. This gives me a nice circle. I'm going to give him a little bit of a smile. Then all he needs is that, a little wing. Sometimes I like to add a few lines to the wing just to indicate a bit of darkness. But as a general rule with line-drawing, you don't draw the shadows, you just ignore them. I'm just going to put something in there. There we go. I'm going to just give him a bit of a hairstyle. Maybe a few little dots down there. I think he's good to go. Maybe a bit of shape there. The more you do line-drawing, the more you will develop your own vocabulary of marks. I quite like using little dotted marks. Sometimes they make it look like stitches like that have been sown, which I quite like. There we have it. Step 3, go with the flow. That is your beautiful blue-footed booby. I always say that in a 20 minute drawing session, if I've done one good drawing, I'm happy. I hope you found that useful. Have a go, get your pens out. Just dive straight in, do some blind contour, do some semi-blind. Have a go at step 3. Don't worry if it doesn't work out. The more you practice, the better you get. I'll see you tomorrow for day 2 where we'll be drawing puffins. 5. Day 2 Puffins: Welcome to day 2. I hope you enjoyed having a go at blue-footed boobies, and I can't wait to see what you came up with. Today, we're going to practice the three-step approach using puffins as subject matter. I love drawing puffins because they are so full of character. They just make me smile. I love their red feet. The drawings make for really great monochromatic patterns, which is lovely for putting on products. Let's get started with some source images of puffins. This is my folder with puffin images. I'm going to scroll through until I find something that looks fairly easy. The ones where they're flying with wings outstretched are quite difficult, so I will leave those for when I'm more warmed up. That's quite a classic pose, but the fish looks a bit tricky. That's a fairly classic pose. Here we go. I'm going to zoom in a little bit. I'm going to start with a blind contour drawing. I always put my pen lid on the back of my pen because it gives extra length, and it adds to the weight of the pen. It just feels better that way. Just something to think about whether that works for you or not. Blind contour. I'm just going to start my pen there, I'm going to absolutely keep my eyes on the bird. I'm going to take a deep breath. Once again, I can see the page in my peripheral vision, but I'm not actually actively looking at the page. I'm just following the lines around with my pen. I can already feel I'm going a little too fast, but that's okay because I feel more relaxed today than I felt yesterday. That's good. I'm going at the leg here, and then there's this long uphill for the tummy and the chest, and the neck, and this lovely and quite strange beak. There we go. Now, I'm going to just go in a bit there. I'm going to draw that little bit and have a go at the head shape, come in, put the eye in a little bit and stop, and have a look. You will notice that that was all one continuous line. I didn't take my pen off the page at all. Let's just write step 1: blind contour. Now, I want to find a different image to work from. That's very nice. I'll leave that for the next step. Lovely wings. Let's see. This little guy is quite cute. Let's have a go with him. For the blind contour drawings, I'm using the most classic puffin poses that I can find, and I'm looking for the easiest and simplest form to draw. Once again, I'm going to plant my pen there, and I'm going to start on the shoulder of the bird. I like to start somewhere in the middle. That's a good starting point. This got some little fluffy feathers going on there. Take a deep breath. Make sure my feet are planted comfortably flat on the ground. Make sure my posture in my chair is good. Once again, I'm reminding myself not to grip the pen too tightly. Go around the face, then they've got this little beak. I'm like putting a few of those details and then go for that little orange thing. Now I've run out of things to draw, so that is the end of my blind contour drawing. I quite like what happened here with the feet, I can see some good observation. The line feels free and relaxed. That's actually quite good as a blind contour drawing. Now, I'm going to draw the same bird. This time, I'm going to do step 2, which is semi-blind. I'm going to plant my pen in the same place, I'm slowing down a little bit. I'm going to put this part in there. Now because this is semi-blind, I didn't mind going across the body. I'm going to have a quick look down. I know it's already wrong, but I'm not really worried. I'm just going to put the beak in there. What I'm really looking for is a nice flowing line that is quite interesting. Now I've lifted my pen, so I'm going to decide where to plant it. I'm going to plant it here. I'm going to go out for this wing, and in and go back up. Now, I've got a problem because I've already drawn the black beak going across. I'm going to retrace my steps. It doesn't matter if you go over the same bit twice. That's not a problem. But the purpose of the exercise is to get your eye and your hand working together at the same pace. Coming up. As you can see, I'm really not looking very much at my page. It's quite tempting to look, but for the flow and the concentration, it's better if I don't look. Now I'm looking. Now I'm going up the leg. I just checked where I was. Now I'm looking again, and now my eyes are back on the bird. I've landed here at the junction of the black and white. That is an endpoint. I'm going to stop there. I'm going to plant my pen there and I'm going to draw in the wing. I'm having a quick look, and it's like that. I think here look better if we add an eye. I'm looking, I'm planting my pen, I'm going up. For this detail, it's better if I look at the page. I'm going to come across there. For this bit, I'm looking quite a lot at the page just to get that angle right. I'll just put that foot in there. I think that's enough for step 2. Let's write it down, step 2: semi-blind. I'm going to look for another image that I can do another semi-blind on because I don't feel ready yet to go into the third step. I still feel like I'm warming up. Let's see. That's quite nice. Look at that. He's cute. We're going to draw this chap. When I choose my images, I always try to choose ones where I can see as much of the bird's body as possible and where it's not too obscured by plants or rocks. This is another semi-blind. I'm going to plant my pen on the shoulder of the bird again. I'm much more relaxed this time. I'm going to come back down. I can't see the whole of the foot, so I'm just going to draw what I can see. That's fine. I'm going to leave out the detail on the ring on his leg. Have a quick look. Yeah, I like that. Going down, going up. I can already feel it's gone a little bit wrong, but I'm not worrying about that because it is just practice exercises. I'm trying to get my eye to slow down and my pen to work at the same pace as my eye. I have a quick look. Yeah, I like that. I'm going to come back down for the little wing. Great. Now, I could have lifted my pen there and planted it again, but I decided for the sake of flow and continuity not to do that. I'm going to put in his head. After I've realized that I've gripped my pen really tightly again, so I'm relaxing my hold a little bit. Now I'm alternating between looking at the bird and looking at my drawing. I know that this bit of neck is too long, but that's okay. I put that part in there. I'm going to pop his eye in here. They've got such weird triangular-shaped eyes. Something like that. Let's put the detail in here. The head shape is a bit wrong here, so I'm just correcting it, which is actually absolutely fine. Something like that. Great. I think I'm going to have another go at this wing just to, that's better. What else am I going to do? I think that's enough. That was semi-blind again. Brilliant. Now I'm ready to dive into step 3, which is go with the flow. What I have done by doing step 1 and step 2. Step 1, I've got over my tension, I've got over my fear. I've jumped through the zone of fear. With step 2, I've gone through the zone of tension where I'm still tense, I'm still not relaxed. Now I'm ready with step 3 to be in zone 3, which is the zone of freedom where I'm relaxed and I really get into a state of flow. If this makes no sense to you, please go back and watch my very first class, which is called, Drawing Without Fear. I explained the three zones of the creative process as I see it. This three step approach very much fits with those three zones of creativity. Yesterday we talked about pace, slowing down and getting your hand to work at the same pace as your eye moves along the subject matter. We talked about not worrying if your lines don't join up, not worrying if you get a scribbled mess all over the page that's part of blind contour and semi-blind contour. We also touched on the fact that with line drawing, you generally avoid trying to capture shadows and tones. You can just leave them out. We talked about negative space, as in the examples of those ducks. I just wanted to show you another example of negative space in line drawing. In the case of this portrait, with the hand, I didn't draw the fingers. It was enough simply to draw the nails. Full disclosure. I'm frightened of drawing hands, and that's still on my "to conquer" list. But in the case of this drawing, actually living out the fingers and letting the fingers just be done as negative space worked really well and the fingernails draw the viewer's eye in and up to the eyes, which is the focal point of the drawing. I'm going to do step 3 now. I've chosen this bird to draw for a number of reasons. First of all, it's got the wings out, which is really nice because they have a lot of interesting shapes that I want to capture with really flowing lines. But the wings are not symmetrical. There's no imperative to get the measurements exactly right. This is a good one to choose. I'm going to start leaving enough space for the wings. I'm going to roughly fill out where I want things to be. I think I'm going to start the head there. Now I'm just reminding myself that if this fails, if this turns out to be a terrible drawing, it really doesn't matter. I'm just getting in tune with my hand, with my eyes. I'm letting the pen flow around. Have a quick look. Okay, so far, so good, I'm going reasonably fast with this because I want to achieve a flowing line. I can feel that my eyes are impatient today. I need to relax my arm right from the shoulder. Right down, relax my hand, loosen my pencil grip. Have a quick look. I am mostly keeping my eyes on the subject matter. When it comes to feathers, I find that it's often enough to indicate some feathers without having to draw every single feather, which frankly would be too dull and too difficult. Comes back to what you can leave out and still end up with a drawing that's cohesive. I like the little black toenails. Now, I'm not massively keen on the beak that I've drawn. But if I do that, I can get away with it. Now I'm doing a combination of looking at the subject and looking at my page. Now here I'm going into an area of shadow. The rule is not generally to draw shadow. Hence, I'm ending my line there. I'm going to put some of these eyes in there. It's got a lovely little black hairdo. Indicate the eye. Quite happy with that actually. I think that's pretty much enough. made to pop in little detail into the foot. I don't want too much. Sometimes it's enough just to suggest, rather than indicate, I'm going to pop in just a few lines here to tell the viewer that these are feathers. Quite often the trick with line drawing is that less is more and to stop before it gets too convoluted. Something I like to do with puffins is add a tiny splash of red to the feet. I'm using a Tombow marker here. I'm just going to pop a little bit in. This makes for really groovy two color patterns. Tombow is already useful because of the double tips. I'm going to just indicate a bit of red there and a tiny bit there. They also have a bit of red under their eyes, but I'm not going to do that. That was step 3 of drawing puffins. I hope you enjoyed it. Get out your pens, have a go. Don't worry if it doesn't work out because you can always do another drawing. I'll see you tomorrow for day 3, where we'll be drawing Ibis. 6. Day 3 Ibis: Welcome to Day 3. I've got my cup of tea with my pattern zone. Today we're going to practice the three-step approach using ibises as subject matter. I really love drawing white ibises and scarlet ibises, especially when they're in flight. They have beautiful wings and sticky out legs and long curving beaks, and when you are doing step 3 and you're drawing in the state of flow, you can really get into a lovely rhythm, especially when you draw the wings. Let's start with step 1. The first thing I'm going to do is select an image for the blind contour. This is your classic side on pose. This is quite a difficult one which I'll save for pose redoing in step 3. This one I'll save because this here is quite an interesting shape, but quite difficult. Also difficult. Let's have a look, that's really lovely. These are just beautiful, and I'll do those in step 3. That's nice one for blind contour. Those are beautiful. Look at him I think he is the one. I'm going to draw this one as blind contour. For this chapter, I'm going to start at the top of the back, and I'm just going to go round. As usual, I'm a little bit tense, but I'm ready just concentrating on looking at each bit of the shape of the subject on the screen and I'm letting my hand follow along and I'm trying to slow down my eye, just let my eye rest on each bit of the bird and not get too worried. As I've explained before, it's all a question of timing. There's a shadow falling on his neck there which we are absolutely going to ignore. As I draw, I'm thinking about the angles of the lines. Mentally, thinking about relative proportions, how long one bit of line is compared to the next bit, and I can feel I went wrong there, but I'm still not looking. That's soft I've got back to here, which is beyond where I started and I've run out of tips of bird to draw, so I'm stopping there and I'm going to have a look. Definitely a blind contour. That's fine. I like him and I might come back to him again for semi blind, but in the meantime, I'm going to choose something else. I'm going to choose this one. I'm going to do another quick blind contour. This time, I'm going to start at the end of the beak. There's no hard and fast rule about where to start. You can just pick wherever feels natural to you as a starting point. Often I choose a point on the body as the starting point somewhere more or less central. Sometimes you might look down at your page by accident and don't worry, I did that just now and I immediately thought, I shouldn't have looked. But this is a fun exercise if it's not an exercise intended to create stress. Now, let's have a look. That obviously doesn't look like a bird. But there's some good observation going on here and here, and we can choose either to keep going with this, to start again. In fact, let's just do that, we'll plot hope in there and we'll start again because I didn't plan and very well how I was going to get around the whole thing. This time I'm going to go up here and I'm going to go down to the second leg. As I said, I can see my page in my peripheral vision, but I'm not actually looking at what I'm doing on there. There's a few nice little feathers in there. That's enough for that one, and let's just give it a label. Brilliant. That's enough for blind contour. I'm going to move on to step 2, which is semi blind. For this, I'm looking for something else I can draw. That is so nice, let's have a go at that one. I'm going to start here on the wing, and this is semi blind, so it's still not expecting it to look any good. I'm still just thinking about relaxing my arm, all the way from my shoulder, planting my feet flat on the ground. Take a deep breath, just forget about everything except the shape of this line, follow down with my eyes and just let my hand come along for the ride. It's almost a form of meditation through slow looking. Just take your pen for a little walk, basically along the page. I'm going to have a quick look. The head is way too high compared to the wing, and I can feel immediately there I should have done more beak. I'm just going to stop, draw a bit more beak, and then go again, and not be too worried. Every now and then I'm going to glance down just to see what we've got going on. Now, I've looked, I've stopped, so I'm going to plot my pen here and go here. Now I'm keeping my eyes on the subject again. It's got these. Now my hand is tense, so I'm purposefully relaxing it. I have a quick look, I know this isn't a great drawing, but that's okay. It's just something fun and it's beautiful bird. I'm going to stop there because I've run out of bird. I'm going to plant my pen here again and go down, at down there and have a quick look nice thin leg going up. It looks like he's running away from us, that's quite nice, that's an example of the surprising nature of it. Let's accentuate that by giving him a bit of ground to stand on. Let's give him a quick eye. Because this is semi blind, I can do this, I can look at a few details. Give him a bit of a mouth. This is where you can just play around and where you're not trying to recreate the photograph so you can add whatever details you want to add and give your birds a bit of personality. Now, I am considering the feathers, do I want to do anything, I think I might practice a little bit with the feathers because I know that in the next step, I'm going to be doing one in flight, and I want to just get the freedom of feathers going. That's quite fun. As I said, you don't want to have to put too much in, because frankly, life's too short. You just want to get some of these nice lines going. I think that's enough, I'm going to write step 2, semi blind, brilliant. Now I'm ready to go on to step 3. I'm purposefully going a bit quicker with this because it's important that you spend your precious time practicing your drawing rather than watching me draw. Now I'm looking for a drawing to use for step 3. I know that I want to draw them in flight. I love this picture. I'm going to choose that one. I'm going to start at the curve of the wing, and if you feel nervous at this point, just remind yourself that it really doesn't matter, if your drawing doesn't work out. Line-drawing you do a lot of bad drawings, and then every now and then you do a really awesome drawing and it feels so good. I'm trying to relax my hand and just let the pen flow. I'm aware that I'm going a bit wrong with my shapes here and see if I can crawl it back. Not get too worried. Now I'm pausing here because we have relative proportions. There is a line coming down here and this wing ends about there. Mentally, I'm drawing a little line to join to make sure this has ended up in the right place. That's the kind of thing you can do with your eyes as you go along. The more you try, the easier it gets. Again, I'm just going to pause there because with this wing joins there is roughly the deepest part of the body. I know that I must start coming up here, with this wing joins there, is more or less where that needs to start becoming neck, so I'm going to change my direction. Now I'm going to do the curve of the beak. I should not have lifted my pen there. You want to try and keep your pen down and only lift it at strategic points where you need to start a new movement. That's not too bad. What are we going to do with the wings? I'm going to indicate some of this, and I'm going to use a continuous line just for that, because line drawing is very much about flow and I don't want to stop start all the time. I'm going to bring a line down from here, and then there's quite a few little-ish feathers here and then there are some of these bigger ones. I quite enjoy doing these large loopy lines. He's got a bone there which I think I'm just going to do like that. This area here is in shadow and as I've explained before, you don't include shadows, but in this case, there's actually also a structural element of the bird because there's the shoulder here. I'm going to put a line in just to capture that. I'm going to come down, put a line in there, maybe something like that. I want to remind myself that less is more, I don't want to put too much in, just enough to capture the essence of this magnificent creature. Give it an eye, I'm going to use my extra thin pen, it looks like so. I think that's enough, I would like just add a little scribble there and a little bit of detail there, and that is step 3. Go with the flow ibis. That was step 3, I hope you enjoyed it. Now it's your turn to have a go. Just grab your pens and start. Before you let the fear get to you, just jump right in, have fun with it, and I'll see you tomorrow for Day 4 and we will be doing Indian Runner ducks. 7. Day 4 Ducks: Welcome to day 4. Today we're going to practice the three-step approach using ducks as subject matter. In the last video, I said run a duck's, but I've actually expanded it to any ducks because who doesn't love a duck. I'm just going to browse through my collection of images. That's a lovely one for a blind contour. It's a classic run a duck pose. Those are quite good. This one isn't obviously the full body of the dark, but isn't he cute? He'd make a great greetings card. That's a lovely classic pose. That's a little more tricky, but could be quite full of character. That's a bit harder but could make for an interesting drawing. That's a lovely one to do in step 3. That's some lovely wing detail in there, and that would make another lovely drawing for step 3. For my first blind contour, I'm going to start with this one. The thing about ducks, especially the Indian runner ducks is that they are deceptively difficult to draw, and that's because the shape of the body, it's lumpy and a bit strange. It's very easy to end up with a bit of an odd shaped blob on your page, if that's what you get, don't worry about it, it comes right with practice. Blind contour, take a deep breath, plant my feet nicely on the ground and off we go, just looking at the subject nice and slow. Let all the other case of the day disappear, the rush of the morning, getting the kids to school, just let it all go and just focusing on the direction of the lines. Each section of the bird that I'm following. I'm not even seeing it as a whole bird anymore, all I'm seeing it as is a line with a specific angle and a specific length. Clearing the mind, slowing everything down. I've arrived back at where I hope I started. I'm going to have a quick look. Yeah, not bad for a blind contour. Strictly speaking, I should stop there because blind contour means you're not looking. Let's write that down, because that went quite well and by now you've got a good grip of this process, I'm going to go straight on to step 2, which is semi-blind. I'm going to draw the same duck this time using the semi-blind technique. I'm going to plant my pen there. I find it's always useful to do a very purposeful plant of your pin when you start it just gets you going in a good strong way. Immediately as I started that I felt that I was pressing too hard on the page, and that's something I haven't talked about yet. Now it's semi blind and I've arrived at this point on the body where there's nothing else to draw. I'm going to stop, pick up, have a look. I'm going to go back to this leg here and start again. I'm trying to keep the discipline of looking just at the subject. I'm going to have a quick look. I know I'm too far out, the leg is thinner, so I'm going to correct that, come in a bit and that allows me to do the top bit beautiful. Now again, I've lifted up, I've stopped, I've had a look because we're allowed to do this in semi-blind. I'm going to start here. I'm going to again, just look at the picture. Trust that my hand is following my eye at the correct pace. As I look I'm judging distances, I'm working out angles. I need to relax, I've got all stiff again, relax my hand, relax my arm right up from the shoulder down. I'm going to have a quick look, not too bad keep going. I'm looking again at the duck, at the photograph. Now I'm doing the beak. Now I need to decide whether to go up and finish the head or down and do the beak. I'm going to go down, I want to have a quick look yes, look back at my screen, look at my paper, finish the line. It was a little bit too thin. But let's not worry about that for now. I'm going to plant my pen there and I go up, finish the head, glance down, back at the screen, down. Now I've got that shape wrong in the beginning, that's okay. I'm going to try, that might be better. I think this is too short, this is too fat, but it doesn't matter. I'm going to just thicken this beak a little bit like that and put in that dot of detail, lovely. Put in that, I'm really looking now, which I'm allowed to do because this is semi-blind. I just want a thinner pen to put in a little more eye detail there, that's enough. Don't forget less is more. Definitely not a long enough neck. I think I'm going to leave that one there and start another one. I'm just going to do the same one again, semi blind. Let's go, down. Now this time I'm relaxing my arm more, my pencil grip is looser, pencil I mean pen. I want to get it more flowing. I'm trying to only look at the screen. Yeah, this feels better already. It's a little bit faster, it's more flowing. I've got to stop there because I've run out of bird to draw. I'm going to lift, look, I like this, this is feeling better. Come down here I'm going to put this leg in. I went out too soon. I'll just go back to there, correct it, that's fine, it doesn't matter. Put the foot in. There we go. Coming up. There we go. Now, I'm back with my eyes on the screen. Tail feathers. Have a quick look. It's fine. Keep going with my eyes on the screen. Now, this neck angle is quite important. When it's really important bit, you need to slow down. Beak. Slow down, eyes, slow down, hand. This is way too big. Lift. Come back to here. If you want to get rid of mistake lines, you can do that in Photoshop. Along the head, down here. On the neck. I feel I've lost my flow a bit here. Never mind, I'm keeping on going. I can feel that I'm gripping my pen a little too hard. That's not too bad. Because it's semi-blind, let's put the eye in. A little bit of detail. Little detail there. Anything else I want to add? Yes. I want to add his little jumper. I know it's not a jumper. It's quite a crucial part of his beauty. A little bit of that. There we go. That's not bad. One last thing I want to add is this foot. I put a little bit of detail in there. I made that out of it. It's fine. Now this is where I am in danger of doing too much. I'm stopping. I'm going to say, step 2, semi-blind. I'd say that I probably looked at the page more than I should have, in that instance, but that's fine as well. It's just remembering to try to keep your eyes on the subject, as much as you can. Now we're going to go on to step 3, which is, go with the flow. We are going to have a look for something cute to draw. I love it when they have their feet up, but that's not the one I want to do. He's a fine specimen. We could do him, or him. I'll pick this one. Before I start, I'm just reminding myself to have my feet flat on the floor. Have my weight evenly distributed on the chair, I'm not leaning over. I'm not drawing with one shoulder up near my ear. I'm just nice and relaxed. Relax my arms, relax my fingers, have a relaxed grip on the pen. I'm going to start on his neck, and just come down. This is a classic example of bird that could become a blob. Very easily. Never mind. Let's just start again there, going up, and scope some interesting wings there. Now, because this is step 3, and I'm doing the go with the flow technique, I'm allowed to stop and look, lift my pen up, that kind of thing. I'm near the top of the wing. I'm going to start here, and get this shape in. I'm not getting too fast about all these feathers. They are really lovely. I'm just going for the general shape of them. As you can see, I'm using one long flowing line. There we go. This is looking good. It's nice and clean. There's a mistake there, but I'm not worried about that. Now, visually, I'm seeing these lines come up there and I need to start the neck about there. It's a little bit in. Is that right? Maybe not quite so much there. It's got something weird going on with his neck feathers, which I'm actually going to ignore. Because I think that'll make my drawing look weird. The beak. My hand has gone stiff, so I need to relax more. As usual, I've got the neck in the wrong place. That's okay. I can see the difference, that line is thick and that line is thin. The thick line is where I was gripping too tight. It's that line quality is what you are trying to achieve with line drawing. That super relaxed, beautiful, effortless line quality is what we are seeking. Little bit of an eye. Pop a few dots in there. This is going fine. Pop a leg in here. Can't actually see his feet. Just going to do that. That's fine. He doesn't have to be a completely finished example. There we go. I think I'm actually happy with that. I'm going to put here step 3, duck. There you have it. Now, it's your turn. Have a look at the images that I've provided on ducks. Choose one, dive right in, and I can't wait to see what you come up with. I'll see you tomorrow for day 5, which is owls. I'm going to demonstrate with dip pen. I'll see you then. 8. Day 5 Owls: Welcome to Day 5. Today's the last day of our birdacious bootcamp. I hope you've enjoyed it. Today, we're going to practice the three-step approach using owls as subject matter. I've put owls at the end because they are such strange, otherworldly creatures and they are definitely not cute. They are not comical, but they are interesting to draw. I'm going to start this section using the normal Pitt artist pen. But for step 3, I'm going to use dip pen and ink. I'm doing it this way because you can't use the pen and ink for blind contour because as you're not looking at your page, you don't see when the ink runs out, so it doesn't work. When you come to step 3 if you have a dip pen and you want to give it a go, go for it. It's really fun and it's quite a different feel when you do the drawing. If you don't have a dip pen, don't worry just keep practicing with your regular pen. Let's start with step 1. The first thing I'm going to do is scroll through my images of owls and see which ones I want to do as blind contour. That's one, it's got a really interesting shape and could make for lovely flowing lines. That's a nice one, quite simple. That one's more difficult. He's a cutie. But I think he would look like a really strange creature if we were to draw him. I just couldn't resist putting him in the folder. I'm going to do a blind contour drawing of this fine fellow. It's a barn owl, I believe. Now I'm just taking a breath. Exhale, just trying to slow myself down. Slowing down is such a big part of line-drawing. It's a bit like artist form of yoga. Slowing down my eye, remembering to relax my hand. I can feel and I can see in my peripheral vision that I'm probably way out of where I should be with this guy, but I'm just going to keep going. Now I'm circling around the body. I've made up a few joints because I want to get the head in and there wasn't any way to get there without lifting my pen, so I just created it myself. I'm going to have to lift my pen now because I've got nowhere else to go. That's not too bad. There's quite a nice line quality. The wings are not bad, pretty equal, pretty even, and there's a lovely flow going on there. That wasn't too bad actually for a first go. I'm going to find another one. Let's have a go at this one. I'm going to start here this time and I'm going to go in the opposite direction to what I usually go. I normally go clockwise. No, I normally go anticlockwise. It just feels more natural, but I'm quite curious to see if I go this way, how that feels. It doesn't feel quite as natural to me. I'm making up a little joint there because there is no way to get there, so I just made it up. I'm just getting into these wings. Another deep breath, plot my feet. I'm so tempted to look at my page, but I'm keeping my discipline coming down. Of course, I can see it in my peripheral vision, but I'm not directly looking at my page. Now I'm going to look. Again, not bad. The wings are equally spaced. This one should be a little longer of course. But as a blind contour drawing, as a warm-up, that's not bad. Now I'm going to move on to step 2, semi-blind. He's beautiful, isn't he? The tricky thing about this one is the length of the wings. He's really beautiful. I'm going to do him for step 3. What I might do is practice on him in step 2. Here we go, step 2. This time I'm going to start up here at the wing. I'm going to flow down now. I'm really reminding myself to slow down and just get into a lovely, calm bit of drawing. Just looking at the shapes, trusting my hand to judge the distances correctly. I'm still not looking. I have a tail out here. Once again, it really doesn't matter if this doesn't work. You can do hundreds of these. They're not all going to work. I've come to a stop there, so I'm going to take my pen up. That's not too bad. I think to restart, I'm going to go here. I know we don't do shadows, but that's also a structural, that there. That's why I'm putting it in. Let's go out to this wing. Because I'm doing this in my semi-blind practice, I'm just getting to know the shapes, the angles, so that when I do it in the next round I'm a little more familiar. Coming down to this little round barrel of a body. I'm purposefully going pretty fast with this. That's pretty far out. That's okay. I'll just label it for what it is. Now if I wanted to, I would probably do this again as semi-blind. But you've seen a lot of that already, so I'm going to skip over that and go straight on to dip pen and step 3. I've got three colors of ink. I've got pit brown, cobalt, and black. Just for fun, I might just use two colors. I think I'm going to use the brown and the black. I've got this pen, it was given to me. It's got a really beautiful glass handle and it's got a fine calligraphy tip. What should I start with? I'll start with black. Now again, just telling yourself it really doesn't matter if this doesn't work. One of the beautiful things about dip pen is how sensitive the tip is. You can get thin and thick just so easily. You also get blobs. But that's part of the charm I think left. Dip. I want to keep him symmetrical if I can. You have to keep an eye on what's happening on your page because at any moment your ink could run out. If you can, it's always good to try and be strategic about where your thicks are and your thins, it's not always possible though. Let's see, if I go up here then I want a thin here, so I'm actually using the pen slightly margin angle to create that thin line. Then I want to go up there. I don't like these breaks, so I'm going to give that a little fix. I can already see that, I think the proportions are wrong, but it's okay, let's just keep going. There's a bit of a blob that I hadn't intended, but that's okay. You can also still get this type of broken mark, but you have to be a little more deliberate to get it, it doesn't always work. That foot came out a lot thicker than I was hoping for, but that's just part of this medium. I'm going to rinse my pen just to get rid of the excess ink, rub it with a little bit of tissue and change to brown. I'm going to come down and try and create some flow in the sense of the feathers even though they don't actually look like that, but don't mind. This is definitely more technical than drawing with the other pen, but it's nice to try new things, it's very easy to smudge. I just want to get a sense of these feathers coming in here, lovely. I'm going to try and get a bit of symmetry. I'm pretty happy with that, this is way taller, but it's okay, it doesn't look too bad. I'm going to stay in the brown and just put in the tail feathers, that one starts higher up like that, that's quite nice. I'm going to indicate a few little [inaudible]. I think with the face, I'm going to start in brown because the nose is really pretty brown, like that and I'm just going to go straight into my black art and put a little eye in there. Then we have Step 3, go with the flow. I'm going to have one go on the dip pen technique and I'm going to try drawing this magnificent owl. I'm going to use just one color for this because I want to keep it simple, I want to get a real flow in my lines, so I just want to enjoy this and see what happens. I think with dip pen an ink, one of the tricks is to get as much line out of each dip as you can, quite a lot from this one. He's got an amazing tail coming out there. What I'm doing here is just drawing naturally. I'm looking at my page quite a lot, but thankfully, my eye is in tune with my hand now because of the exercises that we did in the first two steps. Remind myself to relax. It's so easy to tense up and reminding yourself to relax makes all the difference to your line quality. That's not too bad. I want to keep this as minimal as I can, so I'm going to plant my pen there and draw the head and some nice big eyes, there we go. He's got a bit of a eyebrow going on here. As with the other drawings, the trick is deciding what to put in and what to leave out. I'm not sure if this line was a good idea, maybe it was better without that last circle, never mind. We come down here, and do the same thing there. Now, I'm just deciding, I want to put some of these gorgeous swoopy-swoops in. Let's do it. Just to indicate that these are feathers, I may regret, but let's see. That's quite nice. Let's do the same thing this side, except this is now opposite direction. I focus really in getting some quite thin lines. I'm contemplating whether to put more detail in here, I think I'm going to stop before I overwork it, there we go. I hope you have enjoyed that, it's time for you to have a go, let me know how it goes. I'd really love to see the drawings you come up with. In the next video, we'll just remind ourselves of the steps and the important things to remember with line-drawing. See you there. 9. CONCLUSION: That's it. I really hope you have enjoyed this class, and given the three-step approach or try. Step 1 was blind contour drawing, where you keep your eyes on the subject all the time and don't look at your paper at all, it's 100 percent fail-safe. It's all about pace, you want to go as slowly as possible and you shouldn't worry about what it looks like in the end. Don't worry if your lines don't join up, even if it's a big mess on the page. It's about the looking and the connection between eye and hand. Step 2, was semi-blind contour, where you mostly keep your eyes on the subject matter, and occasionally you look down at your page to find your reference point. Remember that mistake lines, add charm and character to your drawing, so don't be tempted to erase any lines. Step 3 is, go with the flow. Draw to your heart's content, have fun and find your own rhythms and pace, and the more you do it, the more you will find the type of marks that you like to make. Think about what to include and what to leave out. Avoid trying to capture tones and shadows. You want to capture the essence of the subject in as few lines and marks as possible, and don't forget that negative space can play an important role. If you're going start meet your expectations yet, please don't be discouraged. To cheer you up and cheer you on, I'm going to give you a quick tour through some of my early drawings from the ones that were really didn't work through to the better ones. So you can see for yourself that practice really does pay off, it's absolutely a skill that you can learn. Here we go. There we go. I hope you enjoyed seeing the good, the bad, the downright ugly, and I hope you've enjoyed watching this class as much as I've enjoyed making it. I'd really love to see some of your drawing, so please don't forget to share some of your work in the project gallery. I'd particularly be interested to see how you did the three-step approach and to find out whether it has been useful to you. If you found this class helpful, then I'd be really grateful if you could leave a review on Skillshare and also tell your friends about it on Instagram. Please use the hashtag Skillshare by Catherine Jennifer. You can also just say hello on Instagram, I am @CatherineJenniferdesigns, and I nearly forgot to say, if you enjoyed this class and you would like three more techniques to use with line-drawing. Then take out my other class, which is called secrets of drawing. Three easy ways to improve your line drawings. It's a 10 minute power class, so super-quick. Thank you for watching. See you next time.