Drawing from Nature: Star Fisher

Star Fisher

I thought I would talk a bit about tools and process. For me, making these drawing is a mixed emotional and technical exercise. When I began spontaneously drawing these made up birds, I made something of a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be too precious about the tools or paper I used, and that I would give myself permission to draw without judgement or purpose.

Posting some of the drawings here does mean choosing which ones I think are “better” but I try to just draw and explore without thinking of them sitting on this page.

When I sit down at our dining room table to draw, I keep several tools nearby and layer as the urge strikes me. Today’s drawing started with the horizontal blue strokes made with a bingo dauber on a nice sheet of Canson pastel paper. The dauber ink goes on like watercolour meets marker. I always start with the bird’s eye. Where I place that eye shapes the whole drawing.

I started the bird with dry brush marker strokes (I love brush markers) followed by pencil crayon, watercolour pencil crayon, more brush marker and so on in layers. The drawings have no plan and sometimes I do “too much” but more often it’s pushing beyond what might feel safe (or make sense) that leads to a better image.

If you have the desire to create something, but feel held back by some self-imposed sense that you don’t know how or that your tools are not good enough, try throwing down everything within reach. Just digging in and making marks, shapes, lines, colour washes, anything… is a fantastic kind of play. Mindful, open play always leads somewhere good.

Birds portrayed in the “Drawing from Nature” series by Davin Risk are purely imaginary — any similarity to true species is entirely accidental.

Davin Risk
Davin is a designer, photographer, and likes to draw birds.

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