Drawing Birds-Suggesting Detail without getting lost in the feathers (video workshop)

Learn how to draw birds by simplifying plumage details, increasing drawing speed, accuracy, and making your sketches more lifelike. In this workshop you will learn the basics of bird feather anatomy and how to suggest the complexity with a minimum of fuss and hassle. The principles of simplification also apply to drawing many other subjects and can be broadly applied.


The trick is to understand more than you can see and to draw less than you know.

9 thoughts on “Drawing Birds-Suggesting Detail without getting lost in the feathers (video workshop)

  1. Rae says:

    I stumbled onto your site, thank goodness. I am an emerging artist from Queensland Australia, and love birds. Thank you so much for enlightening me with this fantastic information. Loved it

  2. ann says:

    I have spent several years painting large graphic birds, very simplified, but sometimes off anatomically. John is fantastic. Solved so many issues for me. Extremely worthwhile.

    Thanks, Ann

  3. Tina Matney says:

    I found your website this a.m. and over a mug of coffee and three pages in my big sketch pad have thoroughly enjoyed this video! I am a wildlife rehabilitator with focus on raptors. Owls are my passion and right now I’m working on a children’s book with a barn owl as a main character. I struggle with detail, I get lost and bogged down and never know when to quit. I am so excited to put this new idea into practice! Do you ever come to WA state for workshops?! Would absolutely love to learn more about your education work…and maybe more instruction or suggestions for my illustration process.

  4. Kateri says:

    John, I am so enthralled with your teachings. I just finished this video and learned so much. I have been struggling with my bird wings. I love how you express leaving some to the imagination of the beholder of the art. I am going to study the anatomy of the bird. Thank you so much. I live in northern Michigan, next to Lake Michigan. Lots and lots of beautiful birds here.

  5. Cole says:


    Thank you so much for putting the time and effort in to helping others like myself learn a new way to see. I find myself seeing negative shapes all day now.

    When I asked my question, I was thrilled to get a reply from you. But I never could have imagined that I would have a whole workshop just from my question! ?
    This workshop was absolutely fantastic, and you are so much fun to watch. Because of the unique and passionate way that you appreciate Gods wonderful creations, therefore, I continue to admire your work more than any other artist ever. You are a great inspiration.

    Thank you, all the way from Maine!!!!

    Your friend,

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