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Sketchbook Owl

Sketchbook Owl - A Wise Way to Drawing Wildlife

It can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you haven't sketched a subject for a while. Here's a peep into how to draw an owl.

'The memory bank of images gets rusty. The mind's eye has forgotten what to focus on. The hand has become a wild thing drawing to its own agenda. The brain has lost its pace and order and, all the while, wonders what on earth it might have started!'

So, this little owl began as two big feet.

It seemed a natural place to start.

Then onto its body and head. Two circles. And one big eye.

No wonder attempts at drawing animals or birds can sometimes be disappointing.


It wasn't that the owl had two big feet. 

The owl had become two big feet.

Sketchbook Owl. How to draw an owl.
Sketchbook Owl. How to draw an owl.

Feathers felt ruffled.

What started out as a quick sketch to try out a new tube of paint became something of a caricature.

It isn't advisable to look at your feet when walking and the same goes for drawing; one of the first rules of sketching anything is to spend time looking at your subject and mapping out what fits where. Observation makes a difference - it provides the roadmap.

An artist needs to keep in mind the different shapes and spaces that make up the form of the subject.  It can be helpful to keep in mind the overall drawing; to keep checking whether what is on the paper makes sense. Are an owl's claws really bigger than its head?!

Fortunately, I realised before it was too late. The rough sketch I had made was still at pencil stage, so I drew over the first drawing, moving the pencil around  and around the page until the body and head were more or less in proportion with the feet. Only when my sketch was fairly accurate, or could be turned into a fun sketch such as this one, did I get to try out my new tube of paint and add some inky lines. One of the benefits of sketching is that you can keep trying - and every attempt is adding to the mental store of images held in the mind - the rights and the wrongs of it.

I will be adding more notes about sketching and drawing wildlife over the coming months, plus a whole range of birds drawn in different ways.

If you would like to try your hand at sketching wildlife and birds at a friendly sketching workshop in Kent, Sussex, Surrey or London, please email me at:

enquiries@clairemurthy.co.uk


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