Two for Joy #2

coloured colored pencil drawing of two magpie feathers

Two for Joy #2

My latest study is two magpie feathers.  I love magpies and I particularly love their feathers.  I have collected quite a few over that last few years so I’ve decided to number them as I feel there will be more ‘Two for Joy’ coming up.

For this pair I found the feather on the left first.  I nearly left it as it was on its own.  I loved the stark contrast of the block of white but knew it didn’t match any of the feathers I have.  It’s quite short so I am guessing that it is from their wing feathers.  Luckily I kept it and decided to hold onto it until I found a matching feather. 

That took quite a few months before whilst out walking I found the feather on the right….


I take quite a while to set up the feathers, playing around with the over head spotlight to get the shadows correct.  It’s a bit of a waste of paper but I like to place the subject on the same sheet of paper as the drawing.  When I’m happy a light graphite drawing is made of the feathers.  I don’t always scale them to exactly the same size and in fact I tend to naturally go a bit bigger.


For the second time I decided to go for a watercolour underpainting.  When I had done it before I found that it helped to deepen all the colours so I went with that again.  Indigo is a great colour for an underpainting and also a great colour for magpie feathers.  It’s a staining colour so provides a deep base for you to work over.

I always try to limit the amount of pencils I use.  There are so many tones you can get with just one pencil by altering the pressure.  For this drawing I used about ten pencils.

The following are all the progress drawings..


Feathers are a wonderful study to work from.  They don’t wither like a leaf can so that means you can do many drawings and pieces of art from them.

The drawing is available to buy from my shop.  Click here to visit them… Two for Joy #2

A magpie framed

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