Monday, August 08, 2011


Daily if I can! This is a Little Owl drawn from memory. It’s the smallest UK owl and we got acquainted at the nearby Kington Rare Breeds Centre where he posed for a digital photograph.

I had a long look (10mins) at the image last night to try and memorise the owl’s basic shape and proportions. Then I concentrated on the feather pattern and finally the feet and beak. Then off to bed.

The drawing was made this morning in a cartridge paper sketchbook with a Pentel Sepia Colour Brush. He’s a nice compact form that I was able to record with light nervous touches. Then suggestions of the feather structure were added. I think it’s vital not to overdo this kind of sketch – a mistake I often made with earlier drawings.

I’m reasonably happy with this drawing as a quick statement but there are things I remember that have been missed. The head was tilted slightly upwards as he looked at me and the eyes were large and bright to give a lovely alert expression. Reason for another look at the photograph.!

I developed this obsession with memory drawing from studying the work of Lars Jonsson at an exhibition he had at Slimbridge. He does lovely watercolours of seabirds from a campervan parked on the seashore. He observes the birds intensely for about 15 minutes then works from memory. That’s a process he has to repeat if the bird moves of flies away
Not being as skilled as Lars I have to resort to dozens of photographs. They don’t always give you what’s needed and a quick drawing from direct observation can sometimes reveal a pose or a change of direction that the camera missed.
The drawing was done in the time it takes to drink 2 cups of coffee. I’ll use the stopwatch on my iphone for a more accurate check in future!

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