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

    • Ken Brown
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      640B8739-E58E-4A92-A185-A9DB32156441 An excellent exercise.  An old trick in human portraiture, too.
    • Cheryl
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      imageAnother great drawing exercise to hone the skills.   Fun to do.  Will do this exercise again.
    • Christine N.
      Participant
      Chirps: 38
      That was HARD, but worth it! Learned alot.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      I found it difficult, at some points a bit tedious but very good practice.
    • Juan
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      IMG_9570
      • Betty
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        You did very well.  Looks good!
    • Juan
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      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
      20200305_175144
    • joyce
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      image
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      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
      This was fun. I think the bird turned out really good and I promise I didn't turn it till the end.IMG_1422