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How to Draw an Elegant Fantasy Bird with Colored Pencils

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This tutorial shows you how to draw a detailed and elegant bird with a pencil and color pencils. It may look complicated at first, however it's based on simple shapes with further refinement. With just bit of patience, you can do it yourself. Pencils to the ready... let's go!


Tools

Tools

Although I am using Faber Castell color pencils, you can use your own branded pencils. I've mentioned the colors I'll be using through out the coloring portion of this tutorial.


1. Draw the Bird

Step 1

Draw two ellipses for its head and body. One side of the small ellipses is tapered, egg shaped, because we will draw his beak on that side. The space from the small circle and the big circle isn't too far or too short. It's better be around a quarter of the big ellipse.

The sketching stage should always be drawn with light lines to make it easier to remove, so avoid pressing too firmly on the pencil.

2 ellipses

Step 2

Draw basic lines for the beak, three lines for the neck (the middle line will be used as detail later). Sketch out other lines for wings. Try to let your lines flow, try to avoid stiff lines as these are to be flowing, elegant looking wings. Smooth curves will work very well here.

Basic lines

Step 3

Draw three lines for the bird's crest (feathers on the head). Try to have they curves to make they look more "real". Draw curve lines for the tail feathers too. You can have the tail's length as you want but because we are drawing fantasy bird, the longer tail will be the nicer it is.

Add smaller details and curves by drawing the eye and nose. Drawing other curve lines to close the wing shapes.

Basic lines wings & tail

Step 4

Add basic curved triangles for the bottoms of the tail feathers.

Triangle tails

Step 5

Start to add little details for the head feather, wings and main tail. For the wings, draw the bottom row of feathers using your sketched lines as a guide. Try to draw the tail with curved small lines so it will create the look of delicate feathers.

Start working on tails and wings

Step 6

Draw another row/layer of feather just same as what you did before for the wings. Draw another layer of pencil on the head, beak, and a bit of the stomach. These will be thicker and more confident lines.

Highlight basic lines

Step 7

Add the lines towards the end of the wings. Please make sure the ending feather is pointed and has a bit of curve. This will add to it's elegance.

Working on the wing

Step 8

Start to working on the chest of the bird by giving random curve lines to give the impression of feathers.

Basic chest

Step 9

Work on another layer of feathers for the wings, to help build them up. Try and match the same style for both wings so it looks balanced.

Left basic wing

Step 10

Finish the end of wing with pointed feather like you did on the left wing. Don't be afraid to erase any sketch lines you no longer require.

Right basic wing

Step 11

Now let's begin adding further detailing to the body of the bird. I've added further curved lines to the side of the stomach.

Basic lines for stomach

Step 12

Add four curved triangles as you did at the tail, but this time for stomach. As we mention above, don't press the pencil so hard. This time, the stomach needs to be lightly drawn, otherwise it will lose it's soft feather look.

Basic details on stomach

Step 13

I've added small lines at the ends of the triangles on the stomach. This will create a delicate look to them.

Basic details

Step 14

Draw details between two lines on the neck. Make them look like scales as apposed to feathers. Also, add more details on all the triangle feathers.

I'm going to add further detailing to the eyes, including a pupil. Our bird is beginning to come to life!

Basic neck details

Step 15

I'm going to add curves and swirls to the detailing of the wings. This will add to the elegant style. We're aiming for a fantasy bird, so these additions are part of our artistic license. As long as the core structure of the bird is drawn realistically, the detailing can be as elaborate as you wish.

More feather on left wing

Step 16

Touch up more of the details of the left wing.

Left wing details added

Step 17

The left wing still feel a bit of empty, so we should add one more little detail in the empty space. On the right wing, we add three more feathers. You can imagine you are drawing leaves on the tips of these. This is the shape we're aiming for here.

Add details on the neck and add more shadow to the eye to make it stronger.

Start on the right wing

Step 18

Add more feathers to the stomach.

Add feather for stomach

Step 19

Add more lines to make the stomach look more full of feathers. Start to draw a few long lines down from stomach

Finish the stomach

Step 20

Add details to the right wing.

We will start working on the tail now. Add some soft curved lines to give the appearance the long feathers are moving in the wind.

Right wing details and tail basic

Step 21

Draw extra feathers to the opening of the right wing. It will help create a less stiff shape. Remember we want our bird to be elegant and flowing in the wind, so loose curves are the direction we're wanting to go in.

Add feather for right wing

Step 22

Create further lines and curves to push the elegant stance of the bird. This will also help balance the composition.

Extra feathers

Step 22

Repeat step above for left wing. With these extra feathers, draw them smaller compared to other wing because this wing is slightly closed.

Extra feather on left wing

Step 23

Let's finish of the pencil line work of the bird. Add more extra feathers to the tail. I also add a big triangle feather at the end of feather.

Extra feathers for the tail

2. Add Color Using Colored Pencils

Step 1

For the base color, I'll be using No: 349 (blue).

I start to add the base color on the bird. Put the colors in all areas which we will know they will be shadow. For example, under the feathers.

Press the color pencil lightly. If you want the color to look darker, just layer the color again. Applying pressure to the pencil will distort the color, texture and will work against the soft, fantasy look we're aiming for.

Base colors

Step 2

Still use color pencil No: 349 (blue) to color the few areas which you want to stand out, for example the triangle feathers in the tail.

Base, extra layer colors

Step 3

Add this color to a few feather on the left wing and triangle feathers. You can see several parts have stronger colors because I put more layers of the same color blue on them.

Colors pencil 349 added

Step 4

Now with color pencil No: 357 (peacock green). Start to color the whole left wing with a light layer.

Color pencil 357 added

Step 5

Switch back to color pencil No: 349 (blue) and start to color the right wing.

Base colors - 349

Step 6

With color pencil No: 343 (royal blue), use this color to add highlights to a few parts. While I'm using colors of similar shades, it will make a difference later on as the colors will blend better together.

343 added

Step 7

With color pencil No: 362 (emerald), add this color into the empty space of the right wing

362 added

Step 8

With color pencil No: 361 (mint green-blue) use this pencil to add a shadowed area on the right wing.

361 added for the contrast

Step 9

Still using color pencil No: 361 (mint green-blue), add this color to the chest and neck.

Base colors on neck

Step 10

Then add shadow to the tail and the feather on the head with the same pencil.

Shadow for tail

Step 11

Back to using color pencil No: 362 (emerald), add this base color to the extra feathers of right wing.

Base color for extra wing

Step 12

Then back again to color pencil No: 361 (mint green-blue), add highlight for the triangle feathers and other feathers.

Hightlight for tail

Step 13

Let's add another color, No: 341 (violet purple) to add color to the neck, chest and a little on stomach.

Base color for neck, chest

Step 14

Still with No: 341 (violet purple), continue to add this color on the right wing and the additional feathers on it. Touch up a bit on the stomach to make the purple a little more present.

Highlight with 341

Step 15

Let's add a darker green to this with color pencil No: 367 (forest green). Use this color with the other white areas, but not all. Keep some smaller areas to touch up later like on, for example the top of the wing, details circles, etc...

367 added

Step 16

Let's start to use a more yellow tone with color pencil No: 309 (golden yellow). Use this color for the top edge of right wing, neck, head and beak.

309 added

Step 17

Now to introduce a color between the yellow and green tones, color pencil No: 370 (lime green). Add this color to the rest of white space on the right wing.

370 added

Step 18

Back to the yellow, use color pencil No: 309 (golden yellow) to blend slightly on left wing.

Blend colors on left wing

Step 19

Then back to color pencil No: 370 (lime green) to fill the white space and blend the chest and neck.

Neck, chest color touch up

Step 20

Using color pencil No: 361 (mint green-blue), fill the stomach area with a layer of this color. The triangle feathers should have more than one layer of this color to help them stand out.

Stomach color

Step 21

Using color pencil No: 370 (lime green), add plenty of layers of this color to a few parts on stomach to highlight it.

Highlight sotmach

Step 22

With color pencil No: 370 (lime green), use this to highlight the tail.

Highlight for the tail

Step 23

Then with color pencil No: 361 (mint green-blue), fill all details with this color. Don't forget to leave fill spots of white to highlight the raised areas.

Detail colors

Step 24

Let's add some contrast with the darker purple, color pencil No: 341 (violet purple). Add contrast to stomach, wing top edge and tail.

Add contrast

Step 25

Back to the yellow, color pencil No: 309 (golden yellow). Blend this color at the tail and the extra feathers of the wings

Shadow for tail

Step 26

Finally, using color pencil No: 314 (citrus orange), add this at the tail to create a flame like look to the tips of the feathers.

Last step

Wow, She Looks Beautiful. Well Done!

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial on drawing an elegant, fantasy bird and picked up some tips on how to create your own. Working with colored pencils is just a matter of learning to blend the colors well, building up the layers of color rather than forcing color by adding pressure. Have fun with your new creation!

Final image
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