Drawing Songbirds At The Zoo

timor sparrow sketch

Timor sparrow sketch

Hi there, how are you?

This year we wanted to draw more animals so we have bought zoo passes again. It’s still cold outside so in weather like this we like to go into the houses and see any of the tropical birds and animals. They keep it toasty warm in there.

In one such house we came across some tiny songbirds, so books and pencils out, we drew birds. Birds don’t like people, particularly the ones that stand and stare at them for ages; they get nervous and fly around.

If you look at the picture above and think Oooh…., well, that’s not the level of drawing I can do from living beings.

The kinds of things I draw at the zoo are tatty little things like the picture below. If you look carefully all of the information is there, I jot down little notes to remind me of the colours or any other distinguishing marks, their names and if possible I draw them from different angles.

bird reserch sketches drawn at the zoo

Bird research sketches drawn at the zoo.

Once home I decided to do a little home work and look up the birds I had drawn to try and do a better job of capturing a likeness. I’m hoping this will help me, 1) learn to draw and 2) fix in my brain how they really look so next time I go out drawing birds (or anything else for that matter.) I will have a better understanding of how they are put together.

zebra finch sketch

Zebra finch sketch

I haven’t looked up the superior fruit dove (what a name) yet, I didn’t have time to write down any notes on colours etc so I’ll go back next time and have another look. I could just find photo’s on the internet but I’ll probably learn more and get a better idea of the real colours by checking for myself. We have passes so we can go back every day if we want, we probably won’t, but we could hehehe.

If anybody has any useful tips for drawing live animals I would be very interested.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x


Sketching Jellyfish

jellyfish draw with a fountain pen

Jellyfish draw with a fountain pen.

Hi there, how are you?
I have been thinking about jellyfish, I’m not sure why I find them so fascinating at the moment but they’re in my head so I’ve drawn them in my sketchbook.

Above are some jellyfish I drew with a preppy fountain pen, it still has Quink ink inside so I’ve brushed the lines out with a water brush (not that is shows up). It’s a bit scrappy but I was just trying to get the idea of how they’re put together.

pink and blue jellyfish sketch

Pink and blue jellyfish sketch.

one blue jellyfish sketch

Blue jellyfish sketch.

long jellyfish sketch

Long jellyfish sketch the blue one was outlined with a brush pen.

It’s hard when you look at them to see where one part ends and the next part begins.

I’ve tried to let lots of paper show through to make them appear transparent. They’re all drawn with pencil and coloured with watercolour. The blue one was outlined with a pentel brush pen because i didn’t like the way it turned out.

I think I need to practise drawing lots frilly things so I can do a better job of the arms (Is that what they’re called?)

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x


Newts, Testing De Atramentis Ink

sketch of two newts

We took pictures of this newt at the aquarium, unfortunately I didn’t write the name down so I’m not sure what it’s called. They looked quite gray because the lighting was low and very blue.

Hi there, how are you?

For my birthday this year I was given some waterproof ink (so lucky). De Atramentis Document ink to be precise.

I use quink ink in my preppy fountain pen and I can get some cool washy effects with it but it leaks into the watercolour so it’s best for pen and wash or straight line work.

To test it out I drew a little newt and once the ink was dry I washed some watercolour over it. It worked no movement at all.

I found an old fountain pen; the ink inside it had dried out so it needed cleaning. (Note to self, do not take a pair of pliers to your fountain pen when trying to take the nib out! The pen still works but it didn’t do the nib any good.) I am using this for the De Atramentis ink. I now have two fountain pens to draw with hehe, I may have to sort out of my pencil-case soon before it gets too heavy to carry.

two californian newt sketch

These newts are Californian newts.

I like the look of the gray newts, they’re quite sweet. The Californian newts look more salamander-ish to me, maybe it’s the way I drew them. I like the colour of the top newt and the shadow in the bottom newt, it worked out much better than I thought it would.

I really like De Atramentis Document ink, especially for use with watercolour; I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to use.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x



Sketching Poppy Seed Heads In The Garden

poppy plant sketch

This was the last poppies; it was drawn with a fountain pen.

Hi there, how are you?

I’ve been out in the garden again drawing. The poppies are coming to an end so the seed pods have caught my attention. There are poppy seed heads in various stages of decay dotted around the garden, so I take my tiny fold up stool outside and sketch a little whenever there’s time (weather permitting of course)

poppy seedhead sketch

A quick sketch drawn with a brush pen.

I made a real find this week, Usually the seed heads age, dry out, drop their seeds and then blow away in the wind, this year however two of them dropped down amongst the leaves and carried on decaying, leaving me with some poppy seed head skeletons!

skeleton poppy seed head photo

I’ve only seen pictures of these before so to actually hold them in my hand is amazing.

I pulled out my brush pen and drew them from a few different angles. Then I just washed some watercolour over the whole page and picked the lines out with some yellow ochre.

skeleton seedheads sketch & watercolour

I’m not sure whether it’s the colour or the scrappy line work but this one makes me happy.

In other news, we had the great day of cast removal (ooofff) the bones had set beautifully, unfortunately so had all of the stringy bits inside my arm (technical term) due to lack of movement. I spent the last few days bending my wrist back and forth like a rusty hinge trying to get some movement back.

Of course the best form of exercise is just to use it so I did some more drawing hehe.

Ageing poppy seed heads, micron pen and watercolour.

Ageing poppy seed heads, micron pen and watercolour. Getting a better grasp of the brush with my fingers.

skeleton poppy seed head sketch 2

Skeleton poppy seed head drawn from different angles.

These two were pencilled in first and drawn over with a micron pen. I did a better job of colouring these last two in, probably due to the fact I could actually move my fingers to hold a brush properly.

All in all another interesting week.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x


Wild Flower Studies

wild poppy in a pot

Poppies and wild flowers hanging over the edge of a pot

Hi there, how are you?

I planted loads of wild flowers in the garden this year, they didn’t grow, except for one small pot. It’s doing quite well though. There are poppies and some yellow ones that didn’t last very long but were very pretty, also something with lots of little clusters of white lowers. (My extensive knowledge of flower names hehe.)

They were hanging on the side of the pot and I liked the straggly shapes of the stalks with the bottom flower hanging down over the side so I sat in the garden in-between rail showers and drew a little sketch.

Both of these sketches were drawn with a fountain pen and I was worried the ink would smudge all over the place so I kept the watercolour away from the edges as much as possible.

honesty sketch

A sketch of some honesty seed pods

In the car park near the supermarket I spotted some honesty. I love the papery seed pods of honesty; I took a small stalk and brought it home. Don’t worry it has many seeds to reproduce itself and make new plants next year and I’m thinking since growing flowers is not my thing maybe I’ll plant some weeds. Hopefully the slugs won’t find them so tasty!


honesty seedpod instagram

Click on the picture and it will take you to my instagram page. Swipe for the other images.

I took a few pictures and realised they are so colourful, not just brown but yellows, reds, greys and greens.

My little sketch doesn’t really do it justice but I have it in a jar on the windowsill so I’ll have another go and maybe see if I can do a little watercolour.

There’s always beauty to be found when you least expect it.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x


Drawing Flowers

fallen poppy

This little poppy had fallen in the wind but it was hanging on as best as it could.

Hi there, how are you?

We still have some poppies in the garden at the moment. I actually planted whole swathes of wild flowers this year hoping for a lovely garden full of colour. The slugs thanked me for the feast by eating them as they came through!

I still have a few poppy plants left so I decided to draw some of the flowers to celebrate their dedication and perseverance he he.

I’ve drawn the first one with a pentel brush pen with my right hand (things are improving) it’s loosely coloured in with watercolour.

tall thin poppies

This one is me just flicking paint onto the page with a brush. The one on the left was a bit wind-blown and did really look like that.

daisy line drawing

We saw some tall wild daisies on a walk down a country lane.

I love the simplicity of daisies but can be difficult to work out all the petals sometimes. I didn’t colour them in because they were drawn with a fountain pen and the ink runs with water.

I like to draw with pens because it stops me getting too fussy. If I start outlining things in pencil first I seem to spent most of my time rubbing out and trying to perfect things, with a pen the line is down and I just have to move on.

I’ve been using the brush pen quite a bit lately. The lines seem to flow beautifully and can produce a lovely variety of lines.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x



Sketching Collected Treasures

pine cone sketches

Pine cones, drawn with a fountain pen. The ink was pulled out with a water brush.

fir cones sketches

Fir cones drawn with a micron pen and coloured with watercolour.

Hi there, how are you?

Sometimes when I go out walking in the woods I find some small thing and bring it home.
In the autumn I had collected some pine cones and fir cones I decided to have a go at drawing them.

I drew the shapes loosely with a pencil then refined the lines with a micron / fountain pen.

Not the easiest of things to draw but I do love a challenge.

Thanks for stopping by. Till next time, have fun x


Cyclamen Studies

cyclamen plant

This was drawn lightly in pencil and painted with watercolour. I liked the way the patterns on the leaves worked out in this one

Hi there, how are you?

Sitting on my window sill is a cyclamen plant. It’s had so many near death experiences, but it’s a fighter and just when I think “that’s it I’ve finished another plant off”, back it comes.

I’ve been looking at it for a while trying to work out where I should start, in the end I just picked a shape and worked everything out from there.

Cyclamen flowers are a little strange because the flowers seem to be inside out and upside down. I think the best way to see them is by looking at them as abstract shapes and literally drawing what you see without thinking petals etc.

Some are drawn with a micron pen others with a fountain pen smudging the ink out with a water blush. For some I tried to make the shapes with watercolour and a brush to see if I could figure the shapes out.

cyclamen sketch

A quick sketch in watercolour just trying to work out the shapes with colour.


I started off trying to paint in the shapes. I realised it was going nowhere and switched to a fountain pen which worked a lot better.


The flower heads were drawn with a micron pen (possibly an 0.8 the numbers have worn off!) and coloured in with watercolour.

There are only about four flowers on the plant, I turned the pot around to see them from different angles. Some worked better than others but they are fascinating to draw and when the next wave of flowers come through I will have another go at drawing them.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x