I have had a really hard time drawing a rose that looked like a rose. This annoyed me because I’m pretty good with flowers, even complicated flowers. But for some reason, roses with all that layering came out all wrong. Last night, I looked at a picture of our roses and decided I could do it. I just had to try harder.

My rose IS (finally) a rose!

Now, the next two birds are imperfect. I couldn’t get the eyes on the Bluejay to come out right. That might be because in all my pictures of Jays, you can’t see their eyes since they are buried in their black mask. I liked the rest of the bird, but no matter what I did, I didn’t — don’t — like the eyes. Another try is coming soon.

In the end, I surrounded his eye with white, but they don’t really have a white background. It’s black on black — always a hard act to pull off.

The following Rose-Breasted Grosbeak was coming out fine until I got to his feet. I don’t do well with feet. Sometimes they come out, often they don’t. Sometimes I skip the feet entirely and bury them somewhere in the picture. Also, when I realized the feet were just wrong, I realize the body was not the right length either. I sort of fixed it, but there’s a reboot coming on this picture too.

I buried one of his feet — an improvement and I shadowed the body to make it look the correct length.

This is a long-bodied bird for his size. His legs are closer to the back of his body than are the legs of most garden birds. Getting the proportions right has been tricky. Also, he’s another bird with black eyes in a black mask.

We used to see Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks once in a while, but now they are nesting in the backyard, so they are always near.

Categories: #Flowers, #Sketchbook, Anecdote, Arts, Blackstone Valley, Drawings, roses

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8 replies

  1. A tip (trick) I learned in art school was how to make black on black ‘pop’ (i.e. stand out). draw the inner image (in your case the eye) and shade it black or whatever color you’re wanting to use. Then carefully draw a pencil thin outline around this area with a light colored (white or off white) pencil or pen. Lastly fill in the mask (in your case) taking care to not cross that white line. This apparently emphasizes the black within black effect.

    Your art work is amazing, and I hope my little tip is helpful if you didn’t already know about it. I, too, have trouble drawing roses. The buds and stem on your shared rose picture today are exquisite and the rose works. Very nice!


    • I haven’t found anything that is fine enough (yet). That’s the idea, but the pencils I have are pretty thick and even sharp, they aren’t sharp enough. I’m wondering if there are white pens. That might work better. It’s worth a try because the pencils aren’t doing the job.

      And yes, white pens for drawing. Not as thin as I’d like, but .8 isn’t bad. .3 would be better, but this one is gel so it should show on any surface. Thanks!


  2. Marilyn, these are all beautiful. I wish I had this talent! I’m certain if I tried to sketch a bird I’d have to hide from the feet to the beak! Your sketchbook is delightful. 💕


    • Even with all the birds I draw, a lot of them don’t come out right. Something is too long, the beak is too short or the wrong shape. They head needs to be flatter — or more round. And feet are truly my nemesis. You never know if you can draw until you try it. It’s easy enough to pick up some drawing pencils and not expensive, either. I didn’t know I could do it until I did it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These are all lovely. I used to love to draw roses 🌹


    • Now that I’ve gotten one done, I think the rest will be easier. I just couldn’t get the layering right. This time, I just followed the lines in the photograph and it worked. Drawing roses is sort of basic to many different kinds of illustration especially cards for birthdays and anniversaries. I needed to try harder — and follow the lines of the rose.

      Liked by 1 person

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