How to Draw Birds: of the Passerine order

By Kirsty ‘Crow Artist’ Yeomans

Crow Artist, 2020

Pbk, 28pp; colour illustrations 

£12.95, plus £2.70 p&p


I first came across this booklet as I sat out a squally evening at Spurn Bird Observatory. I was immediately impressed with its succinct and clever presentation, using great diagrams and few words. It has been produced by somebody who has clearly thought hard and understood the complexities of avian articulation. 

For this booklet aimed at budding artists, Crow Artist uses a good choice – a male Bluethroat Luscinia svecica – as the vehicle to illustrate the mechanisms, structure and moving parts of a small bird, from how beaks, wings and tails open and close, to how legs, toes and tails work and where they fit and hinge on, and within, a bird’s structure, all from differing angles. 

Anybody – whether creating a field sketch, working up a sketch into a full-blown composition, or just interpreting photographic images – ought to know this stuff. Here, it is presented in the best way I’ve yet seen in any of the ‘drawing birds’ books that I’ve looked at over the years. 

In all, this is a terrific little book and will be loved by anyone who likes to draw birds. I don’t expect to see any bird art with beaks that couldn’t close from now on, or eyes below the gape line for that matter! If you don’t yet draw birds, take a look at this and you may feel sufficiently educated and enthused to have a go.

Alan Harris

Issue 2
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