Excerpt for How to Draw Birds for Kids by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

How to Draw Birds

for Kids

Adrian Sanqui

How to Draw Series

Mendon Cottage Books

JD-Biz Publishing

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All Rights Reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, including scanning, photocopying, or otherwise without prior written permission from JD-Biz Corp Copyright © 2016

All Images Licensed by Fotolia, Pixabay, John Davidson, and 123RF.


The information is this book is provided for informational purposes only. The information is believed to be accurate as presented based on research by the author.

The author or publisher is not responsible for the use or safety of any procedure or treatment mentioned in this book. The author or publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions that may exist.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Drawing Birds

Drawing Tools

Drawing Apps

Warming up

Tips for Coloring

How to Start

Red-capped Manakin

Blue Jay

Vermilion Flycatcher

Secretary Bird



California Quail

Author/Illustrator Bio:


Introduction: Drawing Birds

This book will teach you how to begin drawing birds and it contains several examples to follow. The steps are designed in a way that can be applied to either digital drawing (drawing on a tablet) or traditionally (drawing on a paper). Although this book is for drawing birds, the process of creating the figures and applying colors in them can be applied on any other things you would like to draw. During the process, you will learn how to use different lines and how to apply different color tones to your drawing instead of simply filling them with one color tone. The tutorial will begin with an easy example carefully explained, and then gradually increase in difficulty along the way.

Begin with creating a base for an easily proportionate form of your birds, next is the inking process and then coloring. Learn how to apply simple details without the confusion of what to do next.

The book also includes a small bit of information about the birds given as examples. This will help you familiarize yourself with different kinds of birds, while learning how to draw them.

Drawing Tools


The ‘H’ engraved near the pencil’s tip (side of eraser) stands for “hardness” and it ranges from 2H to 9H. A pencil with only an “H” mark and doesn’t have a number means 1H. The most common type (the one available anywhere) of pencil that does not indicate its grade mark is usually a 2H pencil. The “B” marking of pencils stand for “blackness", this means that they can easily produce darker line marks and are softer than H pencils. It ranges from HB (hard and dark) to 9B (very soft and very dark), so when it comes to B pencils, the higher the number is; the softer and darker it becomes. Different brands have different softness, hardness and blackness levels, so if you are going to use a certain brand for the first time, you should try them out first before applying it on your main drawing.

Charcoal pencils also come in different grades. The generic grades of soft, medium and hard are available in different brands. Charcoal pencils are a bit messy to work with; even the ‘hard’ grade charcoal pencil is still relatively softer compared to those with 4B to 6B grade pencils.

Mechanical pencils are good for small and subtle detailing that requires very thin lines, instead of sharpening your pencil several times just to have a thin and constant fine point that you need. Different grades of lead or graphite is also available for refilling your mechanical pencil.


Good quality erasers are essential if you are going to use a pencil for drawing. Choose a rubber eraser that is soft and not the ones that leave a faint color or worst is a scratch on the paper. Keep them on a pencil case or anything that can protect it from being exposed on air for too long because some erasers (cheaper ones) harden when it’s left lying around because it will dry out and harden.

A kneadable eraser is very helpful for making highlights and reaching areas that are hard to access, like the gloss on the eyes or light portions of fingernails and such. It usually looks like a gray slab or a small bar of clay that can be molded or deformed to any shape you desire. It doesn’t rub off the marking like usual erasers, but instead, it lifts off the graphite from the paper, like absorbing it. Instead of rubbing the eraser with a certain pressure to remove a marking, carefully dab on the portions you want to erase or to simply decrease the applied graphite or charcoal until you recover the brightness (whiteness of the paper) you want.

Pens & Markers

Inking comes next to penciling, these are the tools you need to make permanent line marks to your drawing. Like pencils, markers and pens come in different varieties. Permanent markers have chisel points and those with bullet points. Chisel point markers are mainly used for calligraphy because it can produce thin and thick lines easily, while bullet pointed ones are preferred for the works that need a consistent line thickness. Markers are also often used for blocking or shading big portions of drawings. Since markers have points that are thicker than pens, it is easier and faster to use for big areas or big drawings.

Pens are also graded by their point sizes. It is often used alongside with markers for artworks. Pens are good for small sized illustrations and for the portions of the drawing which precision is more important than speed.

These two permanent marking tools are used before applying colors, as most markers and pens are immune to several coloring materials. Even if you run over it with water-based colors or markers, it simply would overlap the mark you have made with inks. Furthermore, using markers after applying colors (and running it across colored areas, especially if you used an oil-based coloring material such as oil pastels) might ruin the marker’s tip.

Coloring Materials

If you are planning to color your drawing, choose a coloring tool that best fits your needs. Oil pastels are good for blending and synchronizing different colors together. It might get messy on your first trials (if you don’t want to get messy, just place a clean piece of paper for your palm rest or just simply avoid rubbing your palm against the colored portions of your drawing) but you’ll get the hang of it as you use it more often. Oil pastels are good for beginners as a practicing tool for smearing different color values.

Color pencils are the next best thing for filling your drawing with colored hatches (linear shading), or even coloring by scribbling (circular line strokes). This coloring tool is best for small-sized illustrations. Although, the peak of the tone values that a common color pencil set can produce are far weaker than the oil pastel’s, and it cannot be smeared (but there are available color pencils which can produce strong color tones just like oil pastel’s or even acrylic’s, but they are quite pricy; like the prisma color pencils).

Drawing Apps


ArtRage is a popular app that is widely available for any device (Apple, Android and Windows). It has all the basic things you need for drawing (marker, crayon, ink or pen, pencil and brushes) along with a few more useful tools that makes coloring effects even easier (airbrush, paint tube, paint roller and palette knife). The features of this app is more than enough for anyone who simply like to sketch something, and it is also good for those who wants to make a very detailed artwork. this app for artist is something that anyone, from beginner to advance, can easily understand and get used to in very short amount of time.

The window is properly designed in a way that the tools and any adjustments you want to do can be easily made and accessed while still having a large drawing space (something that makes this app more preferable than the others). The drawing tools provided are quite handy, especially if you want to play around with different line textures as if you are using the real thing on a paper. One tool I find really handy is the palette knife which thins out the paint and blend different colors easily. This app is a good introduction for those that are just starting to draw digitally, as it pretty much contains most of the tools that the other more advanced drawing applications would have which you would find yourself using more often as you progress.


FreshPaint is a very simple app dedicated to windows tablets that is free to download through the Microsoft store. It is very simple to use and is probably the easiest one by far that has good artistic features. Understanding how the brushes work and how to adjust them is displayed in a very simple yet appealing layout. The choices of tools is presented in a way as how they would actually look like traditionally, giving you a good idea to what kind of lines or marks they would create when you use them.

The choices of brushes are the basic tools that you would need if you are going to draw on an actual paper; pencil, wet and dry brush, a smudge stick/blender, eraser, and a rough textured crayon. All of which can be adjusted according to the size of the point/tip you want, and of course, you can change the colors of the marking tools as well. What I find unique about this app is the color tray that looks like more like actual paint holders including a water bowl. Without any digital drawing experience, you could easily understand how use the app extensively if you have used a watercolor, acrylic, or any of those kinds before. Like how you would on an actual brush when using paints, you could blend the paints on the tray to get the color you want and then wash your brush on the water bowl to lighten the tone before using it. The only downside I find about this app is the lack of pressure sensitivity when using digital pens.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is probably the most lightweight software that is filled with features that an illustrator would need to make a decent artwork, either just a sketch or a full-blown deeply detailed illustration. It may not be on a same league as the editing capabilities of Adobe Photoshop, but as the name suggest, this software is made to produce digital illustrations and not photo manipulations. With its user-friendly interface and the simplicity of the layout, this drawing application easily became one of my personal favorites.

Due to its appealing simplicity and minimal system requirements, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro became popular to beginners and even to some professionals. The common needs of a digital artist are met by this lightweight software like being able to create several layers, opacity adjustments for each one and pressure sensitivity for using digitizers and tablets. The tools are placed on easily accessible panels and the buttons are adequately big enough to be pressed easily, which is somewhat a problem on other applications when you are solely relying on touch rather than keyboard commands. But since the interface is different than most drawing and editing applications, you will have to play with it for a little while so you can get used to it. And unlike Paint Tool Sai and Adobe Photoshop, you could only open one project or file at a time.

Warming up

Warm up with your hand strokes by making the basic kinds of lines. Warming up first will help you get rid of the unwanted squiggles or breaks on your line strokes. You will be using different kinds of lines in any kind of drawing that you make, so it is important that you have a good control over them. You have to practice on your line work until they become consistent. you should be able to easily produce the kind of lines that are needed for specific parts and for their particular roles on a drawing.

Solid lines

Solid lines are usually used for outlining the figure of your drawing so it can visually stand out from the paper or canvas. You use them as lines that defines the main shape of your drawing. For drawing on a paper, solid lines are made by putting more pressure on the pencil or simply by using a marker. For those drawing digitally (on tablets), just simply use the marker tool or increase the size of your brush.

Make at least three rows of straight lines in different directions.

Make at least three rows of curved lines in different angles.

Practice until the solid lines you make have a consistent thickness and doesn’t have unnecessary squiggles on them.

Soft and fine lines

Fine lines are used for the parts that are inside the main outlines. These are thinner and less visible line marks that you should use for drawing the details like the eyes, body prints/marks, teeth, or anything that is within the shape of the figure you are drawing. Unlike drawing solid lines, fine lines are produced by having a light pressure on the pencil if you are drawing on a paper. This requires smooth and gentle hand strokes. And if you are drawing digitally or on a tablet, you can make these lines by using the pencil tool or by making the size of your brush smaller.

Make at least three rows of straight soft lines in different directions.

Make at least three rows of soft curved lines in different angles.

Creating soft thin lines are more prone to unnecessary wiggles. Keep on practicing until the soft lines you make are smooth and has the same thinness in them.

Expressive lines

Expressive lines are used in various ways. These are lines that start fairly thick and then ends thin. It is often used for drawing hairs or any other small details that are usually composed of curved lines. Some people prefer using expressive lines for the parts that can also be drawn by thin lines. Either way, it is up to you whatever kind of line marks you prefer. Expressive lines are drawn by beginning with heavy pressure on the pencil and then slowly lighten up the weight as you lift the pencil off the paper. Although if you are drawing digitally (on a tablet), your device should support pressure sensitivity (when using a digital pen or a styli) for you to be able to create this kind of line.

Make at least three rows of expressive lines in different directions.

Make at least three rows of curved expressive lines in different angles.

Expressive lines are easier to produce if you do it swiftly. These lines are actually naturally produced when you are writing in cursive or making a signature. A quick flick on a pen would even make these lines, but of course, it is better to learn how to make it in case you need it for drawing.

Tips for Coloring

Use a variety of tones when applying color to your drawing, this will make it look nicer rather than a single tone like what you do when you simply fill up the area with your chosen color. Applying some dark, medium and bright tones would also show that the shape of your subject is rounded rather than flat. There are few ways to create color tones for your drawing.

The common way of applying color tones is by following a color wheel. The color wheel shows how a red turns to orange, or how the yellow turns to green, blue to violet, etc.

In this way, you may need to use a combination of colors that is close to the original color you chose. For example, if you choose orange, you would need red to be the darker tone, and a combination of both for the medium tone. The color wheel always has three given tones for the different basic colors that could easily be used as a guide. This may be the most common way for knowing different color tones, but it is not the only way that you could use for showing dark and bright tones.

Another way is simply using the same color that already has a darker and lighter/brighter tone. Some sets of coloring materials usually have this, with colors being simply named as ‘bright red, dark red” aside from the basic red, and the same goes for other colors. This method is even easier for those who are drawing on tablets. You would just need to either increase or decrease the brightness or darkness of the color you choose.

Not all coloring sets have three tones for one basic color, but there are those who has two tones that you can also combine. There are colors that have names like “sea blue” that can be used for a darker blue color, and then “sky blue” that you could use for a brighter one. What’s important is you have a brighter and darker tone for the color you would use. It doesn’t matter if it has a different color name (like using brown as the darker tone for your red). The idea is almost the same as the color wheels but doing it with just two tones.

In addition, if ever you cannot find any other color to combine with your chosen one, you could still create different tones by simply adjusting the pressure you put on your hand strokes as you are coloring. This is the same as producing solid lines and fine thin lines, but instead, you are going to use it with a color. Applying more pressure on the coloring tool would create a more solid tone, and it would naturally lighten as you also lighten the pressure on your strokes.

How to Start

Creating the Base Figure

In order to establish the figure and proportions of the bird easily, use basic shapes and simple lines in the beginning. These initial figures will be the base that you need in order to create the main outlines of your subject properly. Use basic shapes to portray the mass of the bird’s body and head, and then use simple lines to establish the folds and length of the legs and the claws.

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