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  • Writer's pictureSarah Creekmill

Free Lessons on Drawing Birds with John Muir Laws and the Audubon Society!

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

This past Thursday, I virtually attended the final lesson in a 'How to Draw Birds' workshop John Muir Laws and the Audubon Society. It was so informative and I absolutely loved John's teaching style!

I have yet to complete my homework from the final lesson on raptors and owls, but above is a selection of my drawings from the first two classes covering garden birds and waterfowl. All drawings were made using references from, as recommended by John Muir Laws!

John did a really great job breaking down the pieces of the bird and showing how you can easily build a realistic and detailed drawing from just a few lines. Using a light colored pencil to loosely sketch the basic shape and proportions has been an absolute game changer for me! I can't believe I haven't been using this in my sketching before. I found I could be as loose as I wanted without having to worry about committing to every line. It allowed me to quickly capture the 'feeling' of the bird, and then adding in the details with a darker, graphite pencil suddenly became much faster and easier! I also really appreciated John's overview of the key parts of the anatomy and what makes birds look like birds. He even detailed and labeled all the feather patches and patterns on the face and head in the first lesson!

If anyone is interested in learning how to draw birds, I highly recommend this series! John is super encouraging all throughout the lessons and has a great sense of humor. Everyone can draw birds with practice!

Recordings of all lessons can be found on Youtube: Garden Birds, Water Birds, and Raptors and Owls.

You can see more of John Muir Laws' work and future events on his website: The National Audubon Society supports and protects birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. Learn more about them and find a chapter near you:

Thanks to John Muir Laws and the Audubon Society for generously putting on this workshop for free! It has really helped me grow my confidence in my bird drawing and I know I will also be applying some of these skills and techniques to my drawings of other animals.

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