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The secret of the early bird

Hello classmates.

First, thank for this great class, Christine. I really enjoyed listening to all of your tips, tricks and advice. It was great the way you used all these motivating and teaching quotes. Good job! Hope I will do mine just as well.


To find a theme what it's woth to be interepeted by an illustration I asked myself questions like

  • Did you ever asked yourself why/how/how many/ how often..?
  • Do you know the  difference between?
  • ...

With these questions and the help of one of th most boring quiz shows ever I finally decided on one theme:


This topic is about a study that found out, that birds at the same body size but with bigger eyes than their flying friends start to sing much earlier. The reason for this is, because of the bigger eyes they can see better in low lights and so they are "safe" from enemies which will be attracted by the singing.

While the research team studied on 57 birds I will only choose 3 of those - a early, a mid and a late bird. I also tried to choose birds with interesting colors or other special "add-ons".

  • The Early One: European Robin (50 minutes before dawn)
  • The Just-in-Time One: Eurasian Blue Tit (5 minutes before dawn)
  • The Late One: Eurasian Blackcap (5 minutes AFTER dawn) or Greenfinch (30 minutes AFTER dawn)

I put some reference images on my pinterest board:


I'm made some progress! After putting together my references I started to do some sketches from it. Never really did this before, but I'll integrated regularly into my creative process from now on. It's amazing how many details you recognize by research your theme by drawing it from reference. It works just like a magnifier.

See my sketches here:


After doing these reference sketches I first did some composition sketches without focusing on the "cartoon" version of the birds. 

I really like the "Bird Clock" sketch in the top left corner - maybe I'll combine it with the musical scale right beneath it. The sun clock in the right bottom corner is my second favorite. I'll see what my further sketching results in.


Finally, I found some time to do a more detailed sketch of my favourite. I decided to go the "sun clock"-way which resulted into this pre-final-sketch:


Voila! This is my final sketch. I did the outlines in Adobe Illustrator, because that's my regular process. Usually I create outlines just to color the solids but this time I'll try to use them as what they are: outlines. :)


Corrected the position of the robin (right) and sketched some values. Can't wait to put some colors on this tiny birds.


It's much harder to find the right colours for this illustration than i thought. These are the two versions I like the most. I will play around with some textures to simulate shadow and light and will see which one works better.




I decided on the second color version and added a watercolor texture with some noise-effects. I really like where this going. Time for some lettering!


I'm pretty happy to announce, that I finished the project to the satisfaction of myself. :) Hope you like it, too.



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