The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Nature Journaling and Field Sketching Drawing What You See – Upside Down Drawing

Viewing 154 reply threads
    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Was upside-down drawing difficult, or was it fun? Did you view the subject as what it was, or a collection of shapes, lines, or something else?
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Candy
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Candy.schrank
      This exercise requires patience and focus.  I had the most difficulty with the splotchy 20201127_165608belly shapes because they are more irregular and "floating" vs connected by other lines.
      • Candy
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        Candy.schrank
        20201127_170630
      • Candy
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        Candy.schrank

        @Candy I was so , I forgot the tail!

    • Amie
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      windflower3
      20201120_122410At first I really found this lesson enjoyable. But then about halfway through I realized that some of my proportions were really off. I got rather frustrated and and wanted to erase half of what I had done. Then my husband reminded me that this is a learning process and I should just finish it. I can always go back and try it again later, continuing to improve with each try. I stepped away from it for a couple months, then came back and finished it. Overall once I was done I am really happy with the results.
    • Becky
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      rfranks420
      I had fun with this exercise - it forced me to take my time and look at the shapes in relation/proportion to each other - rather than thinking about the whole subject.  It came out better than I thought it would! IMG_5851
    • Bridget
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      rimuridge
      This was challenging and fun! I started out seeing the sparrow but after I will I got so focussed on the drawing I started to see only lines relating to other shapes  or lines. A really helpful exercise. IMG_20201115_162008
    • Alisha
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      alishabirdie
      It was difficult, and I had to keep focused!  I was surprised that when I flipped it around it actually looked much like the bird I was drawing.  The details were hard to do (markings on chest).  I guess that tells me that if you really draw exactly what you see and don't be limited by the overall appearance, you can be accurate :)
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      jenneve58
      Fun and hard. Had to really concentrate on the shapes, not an upside down bird : )imageimage
    • Pat
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Issaquah
      Pat M., October 27, 2020 It was difficult, but a good workout. Bird proportions dicey. Bird upside down
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      LindaWorden
      Upside down drawing I have done this before and it really is amazing.  I did have difficulty keeping my place on the subject.  Good exercise.
    • Deb
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      AZGal01
      This was so hard for me!! I ended up with a headache. No joke. I had a really hard time with proportion and negative space - it was like my mind could not adjust to the image being upside down. While the exercise made me slow down, I found that I started to give up at the end and hurry........this was the hardest so far. IMG_4952
    • Sandra
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      sjessop
      I haven't tried upside down drawing in a very long time, and again, it forced me to slow down, and use all those skills we've learned.  After awhile it just became like doing a puzzle - here's a squiggle, it points at that line, it's halfway down, under the bulby thing, same length as this line.  But wow those islands were tricky. naturejournal_upside down2020
      • Alisha
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        alishabirdie
        Beautiful and very accurate!
    • Beverly
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      BeverlyEvans
      This was quite challenging and I had to work very slowly.  The sparrow turned out better than I anticipated.  The marks on the stomach got a little confusing.Scan_0003
    • Richard
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      rflora5709
      Upside Down Bird 10.13.20Needed more patience and quiet to do it right. Did try to work as shapes but believe I need to draw it larger to see the smaller details
    • Jon
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      jonksoul
      Let death be the moment when I turn the picture of my life over and marvel at the results. This exercise was a real gift to me...trusting, enjoying, and "mov(ing) through" without mental baggage/memory. Thank you.20201010_154518
    • Jean
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      jigoe2
      I found this exercise challenging.  It took awhile. I tried to concentrate on the relationships between shapes, but I never quite disconnected from seeing a bird.  I'm pleased with the results and could keep tweaking it.  IMG_5771
    • Caroline
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      benjaminboies
      Drawing the branch felt easy to start but the closer I got to the head the more challenging it became. I ended up putting my finger on the computer screen to remember where I was. But the more time I spent looking at the lines while drawing, the more accurate the drawing became. I have to say I am super happy with the result. bird
    • Janice
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      JaniceMcDll
      What a great exercise! Very quickly I found that I had to concentrate on the subject, to the point of seeming to do blind contouring drawing. Super fun.image
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      LinElin
      This exercise took quite awhile for me. After three tries starting with the branch end, I found it worked to start with the negative space between the bird and the branch. I am not sure I ever totally disengaged from the fact it was a bird, but as I moved from shape to shape it became easier to concentrate on just the shapes and their placement. I think my result is pretty good, but some of the proportions aren't right. Enjoyed this once I got past the start. unnamed
    • Rhonda
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      rsancibrian
      fullsizeoutput_22d9 This was challenging for me and when I first started drawing I wasn't sure I would be able to do it. I'm pleased with the results in that I did focus on the negative spaces while drawing and got all of my lines and shapes. This exercise made me slow down and really look at shapes and negative spaces. I found I had to print the picture because it was too hard to look back and forth at the computer screen.
    • Lumi
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      lumifox
      Difficult. I saw the sparrow as it was, in the photograph.image The form of my bird was way off, and I’m not sure what went wrong.
    • Adella
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      adellamarie
      It took a long time for me to sketch the Song Sparrow and it was challenging.  I tried to look at the subject as it was. It eventually all came together and I was surprised it turned out as well as it did. It was definitely a fun exercise.  2020-09-04 Drawing What You See2020-09-04 - Drawing What You See (2)
    • Kimmai
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      KimmaiNunnery
      IMG_4086This was difficult !  The longer I drew the more I focused on shapes, lines and portions.
    • Victoria
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      mvrestre
      IMG_3137
    • Emilie
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      PanamaM
      I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get the foto and words in the same submission.... I found drawing the bird upside down excruciatingly slow, and I think I am going to learn patience.  It turned out very good in my opinion, so I'm happy.  I am enjoying this course.IMG_7918
    • diana
      Participant
      Chirps: 49
      ittybittyart
      940BD41F-CD44-4F2C-BF2D-E0B69601257455845CA2-D0AB-4915-BE10-A699443AA612   The upside down drawing was not too hard until I got to the belly, then I did not have a way to make associations and relationships, to label and fit in what I was drawing. I will try understanding the belly feathers again later.
    • Patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      patofvta
      This was kind of fun, although it took me quite a while to complete.  In the beginning, I saw shapes and lines.  I began with a quick very rough outline of the branch and the bird shape so I would have a proportion that approximated the space on my paper.  Then I started with the same part of the branch you did in the video and it was line to the break, then the shape began to have a relationship piece by piece, then it was all about shapes and trying to see beyond the line break how they came together or disappeared in to a new shape.  Next I did the outline of the bird’s body to the beak, I got lost in the cap and the beak.  Had to go down to the right leg up and it was it was shapes, lines and relationships from there to the end. Pat20200818_104147 Upsidedown Song Sparrow
    • Kim
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      KimMeyer
      IMG_20200813_220942 This exercise was hard but also really fun! I didn't realize how much my brain autopilot takes over when things are "the right way up". Looking for shapes and the distances between them helped a lot.
    • Annie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Annie.MW
      I found this to be very interesting and engaging! I found some parts much easier to see as shapes than others, such as the feet vs. the body. I found remembering to pay attention to negative space very helpful, though I actually started to get mixed up about which was negative and which was positive at times when working on the spots on the bird's chest. I found I ran out of space for all the spots on the chest and could see my negative space between the body and the foot disappearing! All in all, very engaging and a good experience to focus on some of the things we have been learning! 20200810_161851
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      susangreta
      This was really difficult as it required super focus, to follow the lines and shapes. I tried not to see it as a sparrow. But I'm pleased with the outcome, although I think I bird upsdide down exerciseused the eraser more than the pencil! I liked the freedom of focusing on the shapes instead of what it was.
    • William
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      RaptorFalconFinch5
      Drawing upside-down was much easier for me than if I tried to draw it right side up.  It was very hard not to view the subject as it was but it was very helpful to draw it piece by piece and line by line.53FF460D-EC73-4F44-BF9C-EB7CB74E3016
    • Jill
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      JFeldkamp
      Yes, it was difficult. Yes, it was fun. I stopped and started working on it because it required concentration. I didn’t view it as a bird, except maybe the eye. I thought a lot about negative space, proportion, and sketchy lines. I’m happy with how he turned out. So ultimately it was fun. Upside Down
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Zutphen
      It was  actually a lot of fun.  I definitely viewed the project as a group of lines to follow, paying attention to the relationships and angles--a real mental getaway. I don't see anywhere else to ask a related question.  What are Chirps?  I see my drawing has one.  And why do each of the submissions have a different number of symbols ( I have 8) under the Chirps?  OH,  maybe we score a chirp each time we submit a drawing or a message.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Zutphen
      B2BD2F0C-9A62-49B4-9F3D-3A3C35A5DEAD_1_105_c
    • Christine
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      archr1
      3A524665-EB62-4912-9348-6C19410E35ED0A318F73-162B-4CFD-8834-DA4DC25EA169 I am accustomed to drawing maps so the exercise felt very familiar and gave me pleasure. The reduction to two-dimensional line image greatly simplified it and I am pleased with the accuracy of the shapes I achieved. This a very good way to detach the mind from the subject and circumvent the automatic filling in from stored images in the brain. I concentrated on reproducing the lines and tried to focus only on that. Yes, it was fun.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Nancr
      This was a bit easier than I thought it would be. 20200707_211659
    • Claudia
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Claudiahosso
      IMG_4252I It was challenging, but very interesting for me to detach from the idea of what I was drawing.
    • John
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Peckalot
      A very interesting approach I found that adding the color pattern helped with the shape. Upside down added concentration details to define shape.IMG_0009 (2)
    • Maria
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      mariacordell
      That was fun...and tedious. :) I actually worked on this over couple of different weekends because I got distracted by the watercolors and experimenting with that. (More on that later!) For now, here's my upside-down sparrow. I think he turned out OK! drawing -- sparrow.001
    • Scott
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      ScottA010
      DSCF1617I was concentrating on the shapes but in sections which I find that I do when I am actually sketching. I found that I was also drifting and drawing what I wanted to draw in my mind and not the picture along with it being a fun learning experience.
    • اليازية
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      Alyazia
      IMG_6684I tried to focus on the shapes and lines. The image of the bird kept on drifting me away from the exercise. It was challenging from that perspective. Apart of that I have enjoyed it - in fact, I was smiling all the way and when I signed it and flipped the notebook I was surprised! Loved it!
    • Val
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      ValWalters
      0227DDD5-3178-4D3D-B2DA-81FEDB9CFABB
      • Val
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        ValWalters
        Such a exercise in patience particularly the markings on the chest but a great exercise in observing and perspective .
    • ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      abirdkidd
      image
    • Adrienne
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      mystierodan
      IMG_5109 This exercise was fun but still challenging. The breast of the bird took a long time to draw! Negative space was particularly helpful in positioning the feet and drawing the space between the beak and tail. It's a really great way to slow down and practice drawing what you're seeing accurately. I've done this type of exercise before, but not in a long time. It's good to revisit techniques like this no matter how long you've been drawing to sharpen your skills.
    • becky
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      bmeldorf
      image That was fun. I do think I’m getting more confident - now to get better.
    • Point Pelee
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      PointPeleeNP
      413F9F68-1555-4977-91AC-455BCA843E5D_1_201_aThis was a great exercise - it help my brain let got a bit and I'm pretty pleased with the result.
    • Les
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Lesbrandt
      Amazing what disorientation will do for drawing ability. IMG_0684
    • Isabel
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      IsabelTroyo
      The upside-down drawing was fun and a good exercise for concentration. I saw the shapes but I didnt get the proportions. Need more practice. IMG_20200602_164043
    • Frances
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      2616Etna
      I found this difficult.  Now I feel that I want to get the whole shape and then add detail.   Drawing upside down
    • Cheryl
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      CPagel49
      I attempted this drawing two ways: in  the first I started with the feet and plant and in the second I started with the shape of the sparrow.  I was much more successful with using the sparrow's body as a reference point for all the rest of the detail.  It demonstrated to me how easy it is to get lost in the detail first which can end in disaster.  When I drew the major shape first I was able to add the detail more accurately.  Fun exercise that made me focus intently on what I was seeing in front of me.
    • adriana
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      adrisnchz
      Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 7.32.51 PM
    • Stefania
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Stefiex22
      upside down drawingWhen I have moved the drawing I have noticed that I have missed something. I wanted to finish earlier and I didn't see very well.
    • Colleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 43
      CBMac7
      0085A12E-B5B8-4300-A938-27B10FB16BBBIronically it was both difficult, challenging, and fun. I had trouble at first deciding where on the subject to begin. Then I really had trouble with seeing the subject as shapes because when I first saw it I recognized it as a Sparrow. My brain wouldn’t let me see it broken up into shapes until I decided to start using the measuring tool technique to keep me focused on perspective, proportions, & accuracy. Once I started doing that then the exercise began getting fun. I’m definitely going to have to add some of this kind of drawing practice in my daily routine more. Thanks Liz for this lesson!
    • Kathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Great Kills Park
      Upside down drawing- nature sketching practice shapes and relationships
    • Kathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Great Kills Park
      At first it was difficult, but very enjoyable. I saw all kinds of shapes and it really forced me to slow down and concentrate in order to be able to connect the various lines- I was afraid that proportion would be bad, but was surprised to find the opposite! Thanks Liz, this was a great exercise and I loved your upside down drawing!
    • Hiromi
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      HiromiG
      All those lines seems very difficult to draw when I looked at. But not so bad when I breaking down each parts. I enjoyed doing it.20200520_154936
    • Shir
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      BirdShir
      It is interesting how seeing things differently really help. The negative concept I understood but found it hard to apply as I wanted to focus on the main subject - so I took a break and starting drawing landscapes for a bit - Bingo, I began to see the negative space in a different way. The upside bird was fun and was easy to follow proportion and placement. Sketch Nature Journaling And Field Sketching Bird Greater Upside Down Sparrow
    • Kirsten
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      kirstenlissa
      This as a difficult but fun exercise. I was surprised by the process and liked that it required paying attention and slowing down when sketching.  I viewed the subject as a collection of shapes and lines which was new for me.   image
    • Bonny
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      OvertheRainbow
      This is my favorite exercise so far. It got me out of my judgmental, comparing place and just draw. I'm progressing through this course very slowly since I have zero drawing experience, but even crude drawings help me remember things.IMG_20200516_065140 - Edited
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      jirwinromo
      This was somewhat fun - I felt like I was drawing little islands rather than the markings on the sparrow's breast. I had trouble with proportion, starting with the branch first and ending with the head at the edge of the page. A good exercise though!IMG_0937
    • Andrew
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      ajsibb
      Intense and satisfying, but not fun... it was a collection of complex lines and spaces that became shapes. It was easy to become confused. The desire to flip the picture was mostly part of the need for rest. When done, a strong desire to colour in the spaces. Those bold lines on the breast and the intricate lines about the head make you appreciate the song sparrow patterns that vary from bird to bird. IMG_20200507_092149
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Lindabeekeeper
      song sparrow practice
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Saliog
      This was tough and took patience and a good eye. I didn’t scale it right for the paper, so I cut off the bird’s head. But it was really fun when I turned it over, and , surprise, it was a pretty good little bird! It helped me see the value in concentrating on shares, negative space, and proportions. On what I am really observing, and not what I think I should be seeing. image
    • Kelly
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      kballantyne
      This was more fun than I thought it would be.  I really took my time and tackled it over a few different days and was very free with my eraser.  It was a great exercise to work on seeing shapes and using negative space. ECF7D2B1-EE9E-4674-8119-8825B1047DF6CDA1A7B1-164E-474B-9FDC-477A7E20DE98
    • Giuliana
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      giulianacpferrari
      Once or twice I almost flipped the page and had to catch myself. It took me more than an hour but once I was done I flipped and got so satisfied with the result! It also taught me the value of patience (the tail, the last bit, was definitively a little bit raggedy since I was getting tired at that point), and the benefits of negative space and proportions to keep the bird in the right size. A great exercise! WhatsApp Image 2020-05-01 at 17.43.16
    • Matt
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      mgoldberg
      IMG_6070
    • Deborah
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      dtfoise
      Upside down pic
    • Jeanette
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      netjetterz
      This was a fun exercise! upside down drawing
    • Suzy
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      slyttle
      I was a little intimated at first. Then I zoomed in and decided to take it as chunks. That helped me forget it was a full bird. I was really happy with my end result! I took my time and used the skills from the proportion measuring and negative space lessons.UpsideDown
    • Terry
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      terrylynnbird
      song sparrow smaller   It was not difficult at all, but it did take quite a bit of patience.  I was really amazed at how much it resembled the cartoon sample of the song sparrow; it really did seem like a collection of shapes - a song sparrow "deconstructed" and upside down.  
    • Montana
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      mvasquezgrinnell
      I found this challenging with proportions (Again!) That is my biggest struggle in drawing and always has been. I had to take a break after several tries then got back to it. Now it looks better, but not quite right. Using negative space really helps me adjust my drawings and shift things to the right spot or shape or position. Overall, I was pleased with how it turned out! image0 (1)
    • Wendy
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      wave24
      871CC662-134E-4ECE-8F78-00D627B51174WOW that was one of my better ones...go figure!
    • Ken Brown
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      kenbro74
      640B8739-E58E-4A92-A185-A9DB32156441 An excellent exercise.  An old trick in human portraiture, too.
    • Cheryl
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      BirderCheryl
      I, too, am happier with the outcome than I thought I would be! It was a challenge to keep thinking "this shape" rather than "this feather" or "this piece of the plant." I haven't had time to work on this class since December, but I had a lull today and was glad to get my drawing materials back out! And I can't find where to upload my image although I've done it before...sorry about that!
    • Colleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      colleencc
      It definitely turned out better than I expected, although it was not perfect -- for example, the twig was not as angled as it was "supposed" to be so the leg on the right didn't turn out as long as in the sample provided. But on the whole I am pretty pleased. It was a good exercise, but I do wonder about the usefulness of trying to replicate exactly the lines/squiggles on the breast of the bird.  It was also definitely easier to draw this bird from the black-and-white sketch provided than if we had been asked to draw it from a photo!!
    • Suzanne
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      Suzy64
      IMG_7170I tried three times before getting to this one. That was a challenging assignment, but worth the time. I really had to study the image carefully and used lots of measurements to even get this one. I will use this to capture one of our white-throated sparrows; they are all over our yard now. I love how they scratch  for seeds like a chicken.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Lucylocket
      I am WAY behind in this course, so this comes much later than the rest. I found this exercise STINKING HARD but I'm glad I did it. Had to fudge and add a couple middle sections to my poor chubby sparrow but I'm glad I finished it. The feet and the branch were the most difficult for me. Yikes.
    • Koen
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Nahtur
      This was a very good exercise for observation and concentration. To keep motivated , I amigined the Song sparrow singing  Diana Ross’ hit: ‘Upside Down, you’re turning me’ ;)  The most tricky part for me was  keeping  the mutual  angles  of the branch, the legs  and bird’s posture  right.  But ,once again,  concentrating on negative spaces helped me to move on.  I also ‘discovered’ a technique to draw the complex irregular stripe patterns. I first jot many tiny dots outlining  the negative space with the adjacent stripe till and then I strenghten the contour with a more solid line. Song sparrow
    • Leah
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      imchickadee
      Upside-down drawing was really fun. At first it was difficult getting the right proportions, until my mom came and told me to sketch the outline first 😅, which I forgot to do. That really helped me get the right proportions, and I'm really proud of myself for doing a pretty good job! I hope to improve on drawing upside-down subjects!
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      irmoteach
      Y’all, I promise I measured proportions when I drew this poor sparrow. There’s a reason I’m taking this class, and I’m so thankful that my livelihood does not depend on my artistic abilities. All-in-all, it’s not too bad, but I have to laugh at his truncated head. 😂 D498C6EF-59FF-4D66-9FED-9981E91FB631
    • Mudito
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Mudito
      imageAnother great drawing exercise to hone the skills.   Fun to do.  Will do this exercise again.
    • Christine N.
      Participant
      Chirps: 38
      cnykwest
      That was HARD, but worth it! Learned alot.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Pamfooh2
      This took a long time and I really spent the time trying to see the different shapes.  I did not get the proportions exactly right - but that will come with practice.  Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 8.45.50 AM
    • Patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      whipporwheel
      upside-downbirdI've done this exercise before, and it's usually successful.  I don't always generalize that skill to drawing live objects.  It was fun, but doesn't really help me much when it comes to the real thing.  Here's my attempt.  I saw it as a collection of shapes and lines.
    • David
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      David Santos
      Drawing from as a colection of shapes made me real look for the shapes without being concerned to proportions, or how it looks like. Because of that, to my view, getting shapes correct made me focus really hard. Such a level of brain focus made me draw a quite more accurate picture then I'm used to do. The exercise is really good. Probably I will do it more and more, as the ones of gesture drawing.90618175_626637838118460_7177957388996050944_n
    • Leslie
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      lesliehthomas
      hkAGJrDCT42KJ8ilWB0Zgg_thumb_1be0I did not really think I could do a good job of this exercise, but slowing down and focusing on the details and proportions yielded a solid effort! Perhaps a little fat, but so are the birds at my birdfeeder :)
    • Penny
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      PanamaPen
      I've tried this technique before and found that I was more successful if I only revealed one piece of the picture at a time so that I didn't get ahead of myself .  It is a wonderful trick that builds up my confidence and is easy to practice using photos .  I know a wonderful artist who likes to look at things upside down before she starts painting and it sure works for her!
    • Heidi
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      HeidiTas
      Drawing upside downA very interesting exercise.  Great way to train my brain to stop just "drawing a bird" and focus on looking.
    • Student Birder
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      trudy10024
      It was harder than I thought it would be.  I kept wanting to turn the image and i got a bit confused with the shapes, but it turned out better than I thought.  Interesting exercise.  I'll try it again to teach my brain some new tricks.  upside down birdright side up bird
    • Betty
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Bee Kay
      My bird looks OK but it's nothing like the example at all.  I started and erased the entire thing several times.  I started at different parts, the top of the stem of the grass like Liz did, then from the other side.  My bifocal glasses made it hard to do, so I printed a copy of the example to a sheet of paper and laid it flat so I could see it better.  That didn't help much, I must have started and erased numerous times.  Still all in all the picture I ended up with looks pretty good but it's not like the example in many areas.  It was fun but I got pretty frustrated during the process.  I think I'll do it again a few times just to see how different each one turns out.Song Sparrow upside down
    • Daniel
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      sphawk74
      I found it difficult, at some points a bit tedious but very good practice.
    • Juan
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Juan Jo
      IMG_9570
      • Betty
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        Bee Kay
        You did very well.  Looks good!
    • Juan
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Juan Jo
      It was so difficult because I always draw like it is in reality. Yeah I always draw as it was. As a collection of shapes. IMG_9570
    • Geminis
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      geminis
      20200305_175144
    • joyce
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      BlueJz
      image
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      rebeccabe
      Upside down is interesting!  It was easier to just deal with shapes and proportion.  This is going to take some (a lot of) practice to sort areas into just shapes while in the field! 879229AE-690F-402C-90D5-94525D3890E7
    • Curt & Jeanne
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      heuersthree
      This was fun. I think the bird turned out really good and I promise I didn't turn it till the end.IMG_1422
    • Gail
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Gcoffeywriter
      This was a difficult drawing exercise for me.  I focused only on creating shapes and negative spacing between them.  However, I tried to scale up the drawing to use up all of my paper and that caused problems with connecting the wings and other body parts.  Actual size vs illustration is challenging and makes me realize that I am more interested in capturing the form and features and not have to make them to actual size.   SOSP
    • Christy
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      cesmahan
      I focused on the shapes and also used the negative spaces and measuring techniques. This was fun!20200228_182646
    • Joel
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      joelcarl
      20200228_195004I viewed the bird as what it was, but I made some lines to  have the proportions as correct as  possible. A good training.
    • BJORN
      Participant
      Chirps: 40
      suzukiawd13
      I drew an upside-down parakeet, from a model. next page......with cardinal. getting better at being more time efficient.bk
    • Christi-June
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      christijune
      This was very difficult for me, not because the image was upside down. Getting angles and proportions right is still a bit of s struggle, yet I am grateful for this exercise. This photo is my second attempt. I still learned something even up to the very end where the stomach patterns weren't quite fitting and I ha20200212_074822d to adjust. I think it had to do with me jumping around on the picture rather than focusing on a section and following it.
    • Donna
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      jalexaphotography
      Upside-down drawing was fun. I did better than I expected I would, except I misjudged my spacing and ended up running my image into the margin of the book. I viewed a collection of shapes, but it was difficult to not think about the anatomy I was drawing when it was clearly, for example, a toe.
    • Claire
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      Cwknapp5440
      The first image is the upside drawing which I did totally using the method you suggested. It is really hard not to check, but I didn't until I had finished it. After I had finished I did add the color, but should probably have waited until you give us the instruction for that. Sorry. I was so motivated by the color in the entries of other students, that I got carried away. I was surprised at how much more accurate my drawing was than other drawings I have done. IMG_0032 IMG_0032
    • Belinda
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      beekeev
      IMG_0350
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      19bird61
      This drawing was difficult but enjoyable. BA5EC4C1-DC51-47D8-AE28-E82EF9B7DA68
    • Jenn
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Jfreeda
      I found this activity to be very satisfying.  It seems to be a great way to really focus on the skills we've been working on up to now.  IMG_2713
    • betty
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      bwmasnat
      Easier than I would have thought the designs within the body were more difficult BABE87E5-4A49-44AD-9FEE-D6499E46FD6B
    • Craig
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      cmflyer
      I found the upside down drawing to be effective and not too difficult. I use the measurement technique a couple of times, but mostly I just concentrated on getting each little shape in the right position and proportion. The abstract shapes on the underside where tough,though. C6C87078-E35F-41A3-AEDA-FD8BE0EC8966
    • Paul
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      pbieraugel
      It was difficult. And fun. So hard not to cheat but worth it in the end. Turned out just OK but better than I thought! The head an feet looked pretty good. The wing was not so great but I rushed that part. When I took it slower and gave up on the form it turned out better. Why? My brain is not quite thinking like an artist yet. It was pretty cool to not have to concentrate on creating depth in my drawing. I was drawing flat and it turned out to have depth. Neat.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      nancyjleonard
      Completing this exercise was really rewarding.  I see now the value of negative space much more clearly.  Concentrating on the shapes and their relationships to each other made it so much easier to draw. Really fun to turn it right side up and find a Song Sparrow!  Great lesson!IMG-0191
    • Kenneth
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Ken Jinks
      Upside down drawing                                                                Drawing the upside down bird required more focus than I thought, but I ended  relatively happy with the finished drawing. Wouldn't say it was the most fun drawing I have done, but looking at it as discrete shapes rather than a whole subject, certainly helped the process. But it was a worthwhile exercise and showed how observation and focus can help to produce a workable piece.
    • Terri
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      littlehouseontheprairie
      IMG-0476 Nice having images to work from since it is a bit cold to sketch outside.  I have moved my birdfeeders so I hope to get a few subjects I can sketch.
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      twistybear
      IMG_20191229_140525250  I like this exercise.  Did this when I was in art school - years ago.  This course is wonderful, making all these gests come back.
    • Molly
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Mollyjo
      This was a wonderful exercise. As a self described person with drawing-deficit disorder, I was surprised that a technique like this could produce a pretty decent image! It took quite a while to complete but I was happy with the results. It required a bit of mental yoga to keep redirecting my brain to think of shapes rather than feet or feathers. It was fun and I’ll use this technique in the field. 5C454147-8E70-4E44-AEC3-47CD09437264
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      FourMileCreek2221
      This was easier  than I thought.  It actually turned out  well.
    • Cristina
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Cristyal
      Such a great exercise! it helps to look more at the details WhatsApp Image 2019-12-19 at 8.13.32 PM
    • Denise
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      dchaffner
      I found that I was checking the negative space more often. All the lines in the breast were difficult. You are correct my brain just wanted to squiggle.image
    • Elisabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      kinge2
      IMG_3596I enjoyed this more than I had anticipated.  I had to keep forcing myself to only look at what was there and not go freelancing.  I'm happy with the result.
    • LM
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      LMKFlagg17
      IMG_20191211_134051125
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      bruinrossi
      1384DC54-7814-40FE-B015-47CEA54A52D5I didn’t even realize that one of the he claws was behind a plant thing!67F400C5-EFD7-4AF6-95A7-E0E857A995A4
    • Constance
      Participant
      Chirps: 26
      constancekel
      IMG_2089 (1)This was difficult AND fun. I tried to draw the subject as a collection of shapes, and it worked out pretty well! I don't know how I judged the tail to be too short. I really tried to work with negative space and proportions. I'm pretty pleased with the results, as I am a beginning sketcher.
    • Kim
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      KATrue
      This was a great exercise for me.  It really forced me to forget about what I was trying to draw and focus instead on the process of drawing.  It worked!image0
    • sondra
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      sondralynne
      AFA5DDFE-B0B3-4A91-80F6-A84C51CA8EAA
    • Martha Davis
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      pattonmd
      IMG_4954 My right-side-up (drawn up-side-down) song sparrow. No doubt about it--this exercise forces us to really look at what's right in front of us, not necessarily what we think we're meant to draw. Very helpful.
    • Isabelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Isaduvernois
      image
    • Erin
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Erin Eliza
      Fascinating exercise. It was fun; I did notice my attention flagging over time and the drawing shows that. From the example, I enjoyed using the shapes and one-to-another approach. This was the only way to make progress, even though my brain kept (unhelpfully) trying to process the whole.   I then tried again using a photo.   On all sketches, I start with pencil but I am terrible about eventually rubbing the lines. Because of that, I eventually go over the sketch with a pen, trying to make small adjustments as I go.  For now, the repetition feels like a good way to try to gain reps. upside-down exercise
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      amy_jay_bee
      The opposite of gesture drawing! This took me three sittings, a bit at a time, and really broke in my eraser. Eventually I was able to surrender to the process, and I’m happy with how it came out. I remember the upside-down drawing exercise from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain—that’s what took me from stick figures to thinking, Oh, that’s how you draw! This was a lot more exacting, much more of an exercise in patience. Worth it, too. F6A7E58D-1670-4046-B591-1175315A2D98
    • Tom
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      ebirdtgill
      I really liked this exercise. As I often do I start the video and then stop right away and try to draw what Liz is drawing before watching the video. then after watching the video I apply her suggestions and techniques, and then compare the two drawings. I was liberal with my eraser because I wanted to get the shapes that she used to render the coloration in the body. When I did my first drawing I had no idea how to suggest that colorization on the bird. My post drawing analysis is that I am much happier with the proportions and especially the tail and beak. I hope to have the confidence or fearlessness to render colors on a bird as shapes as I really like the results.IMG_20191119_070520
    • Mary Jo
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      mp2162
      IMG_6221IMG_6222
    • William
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      mickelboro
      This was a good exercise.  I found that I was looking more at the shapes than the subject.DSC_9464
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      LindaMizzell
      This was fun to do although challenging when it involves patience and self control. I found it difficult to adjust proportions. Everyone has such beautiful post. image
    • Barbara T.
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      btyczkowski
      2019-11-12 bird drawn upside down
    • Steve
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      corsflora
      • imageNot sure how to get vertical, but a really useful exercise and one I will repeat
    • Jean
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      jean skolnik
      This was very difficult. I tried to use proportion tricks from the last lesson but really struggled. The chest markings werevery complicated to includeupside down bird
    • Carrie
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Carlin70
      This was fun to do, but I did find it to be a little difficult.  I ended up not getting the wings so well, but I think I started to hurry as it was taking a good deal of time.  The part I didn't rush I was quite impressed with.  This is such a great technique to learn to look beyond what the mind sees!  Love this course!
    • Christy
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      ChristyMorrow
      This was fun, but difficult.  The feet were really hard. I was able to view the subject as a collection of shapes and lines.  I have never drawn anything but stick figures - I hope I can get better with practice. I love this course.a1KEk%ywSuuQyPsjDEMbEw
    • Shirley
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Shirley1951
      DSCN5277
    • Aimee
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      aimee_lusty
      This exercise was a good test in patience. I found myself drawing a lot slower and using my eraser more than usual. It was hard not to sketch an overall shape of the bird to get proportion right, so mine came out a bit more slender than it should've been. IMG_5460
    • Kati
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      KatiJackson
      i found this pretty difficult, because i couldn't concentrate enough. It's probably because i'm less excited about contour line drawing, and i'm more interested in gesture drawing, or shading.  i definitely will need to practice more. IMG_20191103_142645
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      pegs-birder
      B289D535-05C2-44CC-908F-863068BC9A21
    • Chris
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      spiderman97219
      I found that my drawing was more accurate  drawing it upside down. That was amazing!!IMG_0271 copy
    • Chris
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      spiderman97219
      IMG_0271
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Jessica_Ballard
      This was a bit of challenge, my main issue was finding the proper proportion and negative space since I started by the feet and then worked my way up.The patterns on the body was hard to measure since I should have added more space between the legs, but overall I think it helped me understand size and shapes. Upside Down-Song Sparrow
    • Joanne
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      PigeonCoups
      The shape breakdown was definitely helpful and insightful. Some of the angles of my lines turned out really wonky though! At some points I felt like I was really concentrating well on what was there, and then I would catch myself thinking of the feathers or the talons as themselves. I need to practice more to see my subjects in many different ways.
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      margsea
      IMG_4097A very challenging exercise for me. My brain wanted to see this as an upside down bird. I had moments when I could focus on the shapes and relationships and other times when my mind would freeze up! This made me understand that I need to relax and refrain from drawing something that isn't really in front of me. That was cool!
    • Sandy
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      SRMelton
      Very cool exercise! with surprising outcome :-)IMG_2609
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Sustra
      I really enjoyed doing this. It kept me out of my head in trying to get the relationships of the background and bird proportional. I tend to overthink it. Used the negative space lesson on this one too, so seeing the other shapes around the bird gave me good information. Your finished drawing would be a good coloring book page.
    • Donna
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      donnacnh
      My body is a little thick but I got the head direction right.  This was hard but a good way of learning how to focus on shapes.   image
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Smyrna38
      I did this while chatting with a fam member. It made it actually easier to have my brain uninvolved in the ‘knowing’ of what type of bird...I focused on observing where the feet crossed the branch, where the tail feathers emerged, how many feathers, stripes, etc. I did get overwhelmed in0474B207-BE80-44FB-9D50-BD2E5C772D63 the middle with the unpatterned shapes of the belly. That’ll take some practice! Overall not bad!
    • Montecito
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      favelasco
      IMG_4598
    • kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      pajaroenmano
      This exercise was difficult for me, the shapes in the middle made me a little dizzy. Overall I like how it came out but I am still having some difficulty with negative space, and keeping my focus on the shapes instead of trying to get good talons🙃image
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Ek2012
      A9EBF5FF-3758-4934-800D-C9D64AEE2B46I was very surprised by the results when I turned the page upright! It was a lesson in patience as well.
    • Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      annegriffith
      IMG_1390
    • Christina
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Chris2019
      IMG_6206 Proof! I really did draw the song sparrow, upside down! This was a challenge, since I like to rough out my subject using basic shapes, and then add detail and proportions as I go. Not this time! I started at the tail feathers and worked my way around... IMG_6207 Thanks goodness for erasers... I'll have to go back to this one to finish the markings on the breast and underparts of the bird, but I cheated and turned my page around... am pleased that the little guy isn't wonky-looking! I really wanted to look at the subject as an overall shape, but I forced myself to see it as a bunch of smaller shapes connected to each other... this has been the most challenging exercise yet!
    • martha
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      naturegirl 1957
      When I draw I always like to look at the subject as individual pieces of a total puzzle.  How does one piece connect to another.  This is also what I tell kids who say they can't draw.  This makes the process more fun and enjoyable.  I had a lot of fun doing this and when I was through I thought the body was to chubby but when I flip the image right side up, it looked really good.  I am happy with how it turned out.  
Viewing 154 reply threads