I saw a clip of you drawing a tree, and I was hoping you could tell me how you draw, it seems that you complete one area, detail and all, and then move up and around the page. Also, I love your watercolor sketches, would you share how you get such wonderful depth and volume? Paints you couldn’t live without? Thanks so much, I realize that this is a lot to ask…..
Just catching up, did I miss your blog about your wonderful drawing style and painting?
Hi Cathy- those are such good questions, they deserve a post all their own. Thanks for asking. I’m glad you came by to have a look.
Hi can you tell me what pens you use for your ink sketching I love the line quality
Hi Martin- I usually use a rapidiograph pen, or sometimes a Sharpie extra-fine point. Mostly I’m drawing with mechanical pencil. Thanks for asking.
Hello, your sketches are beautiful. I am a ceramic student and right now I am exploring the use of decal images on clay and would like to ask for your permission to use some of your rough sketches of birds including your handwriting to use as decals. I respect the work of other artists and I understand if you charge for the use of your sketches.
I am an ecologist, and I found your blog looking for a paper in Mike’s lab page (I met him a while ago in a Conference, I really like his research). Last night, I spent a couple of hours looking at your awesome drawings, they made me want to draw…again. I studied a couple of years of fine arts before biology, they I just switched to this other creative activity. I still make some silly drawings from time to time, but I am FAR AWAY from being good, I just do it because when I draw, I don’t think in anything else than lines and colours, and it relax me. Today, I have decided to get a sketch book, some pencils and paintings (any advice for a beginner?), I thought why not to draw some more. Thanks for the inspiration!
Angélica from UBC-Vancouver (working on bromeliad food webs in Brazil; probably Mike remembers me)
I hope you remember that a few years ago, on seeing your drawing of a large ceiba tree from BCI in Panama, I sent you a photograph of my brother and me in front of that tree from 1977.
Shortly after the tornado destruction of your home and most of it’s contents, we all have endured a long gap in your blogging. (There isn’t such a thing as miracles, but I, too, feel how wonderful it was that the powerful storm didn’t totally destroy your banjo.) I’m probably speaking for everyone in saying that I am very thankful you’ve re-started your blog. Despite my being a biologist I’ve always had a great interest in many methods of art creation, so I greatly appreciate that you now are concentrating on images of humans.
Daniel, thank you for your kind comments, and I do remember the photo. The Big Tree on Barro Colorado Island abides; I will see and draw it again this summer. I’m grateful to be back and to have you return, too. Nature will always be my primary subject, but humans have become a real fascination. It never hurts to diversify your portfolio:-) Thanks again, and great to hear from you!
I stumbled upon your blog while searching for ‘how to draw realistic birds’ and was fascinated by your beautiful illustrations of wildlife.
I’m doing an art project that involves illustrating birds that are living in my school. Would you please upload a tutorial on how to draw birds in watercolor? Because I would love to be able to draw like you do!
Keep up with the great blog!
I am delighted to see how you’ve enjoyed the birds that have been added to the collection in Tulsa Zoo’s Tropical American Rainforest. The Thick-knees have been there just about a year, and the two species of Caciques were released.
We look forward to more of your observations!
Curator of Birds
I meant to write the two species of Caciques were released in July!
Hi~ I just returned from a magical trip to Panama & have been enjoying your illustrations!
All the best,
Hello , I stumbled across your work while researching some ideas for a assignment on “garden” in my art qualification, I have an exam in just 3 days and I’m trying to pick up as many techniques and variety of media’s to play with and was wondering if you had any tips for slightly above average drawers (I’m not brilliant nor am I completely incapable), looking for uncomplicated quick, yet effective approaches to sketches of natural environments, your help would be much appreciated as I adore your work, thank you!
Hi Fallon, your question is a big one, but my best advice for drawing nature from life is to draw a tree as if it were a human being; follow its contours and curves as you would a model on a stand. Look for the expressive gesture, the direction of the trunk, the repetition of growth patterns in the branches and leaves and pretend you only have a few minutes to capture the pose. You’ll have to focus solely on shapes and light, and leave out most detail. You could use a timer and see how much information you can record in five minutes, as an exercise. It’s great practice for a loose, gestural approach. Try it and see. Good luck and thanks for writing!
It was good to meet you at Revlen. Your drawings are excellent, you are catching the atmosphere!
The name of the small goose, where I had forgotten the English name is Lesser White-fronted Goose.
It is actually endangered but a Swedish breeding programme has helped a bit and birds from that programme are now seen in DK on migration and perhaps in winter if it is mild.
I hope, that the naked experience did not bother you too much, but as the weather is now changing I believe the nudes will disappear.
Bjarne- the nudes were more fun than a bother- they added a little spice to the day;-) Thanks for the note! Debby
Looking at your drawings and water colours, I wonder if you know of the Danish painter Johannes Larsen (famous in DK). He has done thousands of bird sketches/drawings/water colours/oil paintings. There is a very nice small museum in the town of Kerteminde on the island of Fyn.
Here is a link to some af his art.
I’ve really enjoyed your sketches, comments, photos and excerpts from HCA. Have a lovely Christmas. Gloria Osterloh
Who is the artist who sketched the roseate spoonbill and Tri colored herons? I am looking for something like them for my coastal south Texas home… Thanks in advance
Hi Robin, I’m the artist you’re asking about, and would be glad to talk to you. Please contact me using the email address written on the swan (above). Thanks very much! Debby Kaspari
I was looking for a way to contact you because of the bike racks you had made for the NAC, only to find the exquisite work that you do! It is so lovely! Seeing the work that you primarily focus on, I am almost reluctant to ask if you would consider doing another bike rack! I am a dentist here in Norman, have a number of patients who ride their bikes to my office, and I intend to provide them with a rack, hopefully in the shape of a tooth! If this is anything that seems at all interesting to you I would appreciate your response. Thank you!
Thank you for inspiring me to get out and draw the birds! xox
Hi, Debby, Thanks so much for sharing your drawing skills with us at the Elkhorn Slough in the oak trees and along the trail. I am wondering where you purchased your outdoor, portable chair. Thanks. Kathryn Hannay
Can you give me information about classes? Your drawings are so wonderful and I have a neighbor who is just beginning to draw again, and he needs your kind of direction!
Thank you so much for the wonderful song sparrow drawing! It’s lovely.
I signed up for an acrylic class at The Firehouse, and I appreciate the inspiration. Have a great visit to Panama
Hi, Debby! A friend of mine posts your ‘MacArthur’s Warblers’ on her FB page every Spring. I absolutely LOVE that image! Where could I purchase a copy of that print? I’d love to frame it and hang it in my ‘bird room’. Thanks!
Hello! I was curating IAmSciArt a few weeks ago and am now in Costa Rica. Happy to say I’ve seen all 3 motmots: Rufous, Broad-billed and Blue crowned (which happens to have a pair and a nest at one of the hotels I’m staying at). They are incredible! And I’ve told them all you said Hello!! 🙂 The Broad-billed was the only one who was hanging out long enough to sketch, but I was with a group and could not lag behind …. perhaps tomorrow! Thanks for the inspiration!
Awesome- those are the most wonderful birds. Hope you get to do a few sketches on your trip! Thanks so much for the note. What fun!
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