Description: Welcome to this tutorial on how to draw a realistic hawk. This is a complex tutorial with many steps which may be too advanced for novice artists; however, don't let that stop you from giving it your best shot as it will help you develop a wide range of drawing skills. You will need a sheet of smooth paper, cotton buds/tissues, HB through 4B pencils, a good eraser and a sharpener for this tutorial.
Description: For this hawk drawing we only need a basic outline of the head and beak, and a slightly more detailed outline of the eye to start with.
I usually draw the outlines of my drawings using the grid technique (see my Ferrari tutorial), but a lot of people enjoy drawing freehand. Begin with a rough circle in the center of the page and a long, sweeping arc around it, as shown. Draw a small indentation at roughly 3 O'clock on the arc to serve as the transition from the beak into the head.
Description: Add a nostril and some of the structures of the beak. You also need to make the eye slightly pinched at the bottom and add some more detail around the right side. And that is all there is to the outline - it's pretty basic! The drawing is really built around the texture of the feathers which we will add later on. Now we move onto the details of the beak and eye.
Description: Begin by shading three irregular shapes on the face of the beak, as shown. Note how the shapes are separated by thin areas of blank paper – these will serve as highlights later on. Also shade the patterns of the lower beak, as shown. Start to shade some of the surrounding structures of the eye.
Description: Smooth out the blocks of shading on the beak with a tissue, cotton pad or Q-tip (NOT your finger!).
Before you start the detail of the eye in this step, quickly scroll down and look at the eye at a later stage of the drawing so you get an idea of what we are trying to achieve. First, you want to start with the reflection in the top-left corner of the eye. Just make a rough outline of a patch as shown and leave this un-shaded. Next, draw an oval in the center of the eye (this is the pupil) – note how the patch of reflection cuts into the upper-left section of the pupil. Then draw a ring surrounding the pupil, separated by a thin space. Lastly, begin to shade the outer section of the eye – bird eyes do not have a white sclera like humans and other mammals so this region will need to be shaded dark.
Description: Now we start to draw the detail of the beak over the areas you shaded in the previous step. In the upper half there are stripes that follow the 3D shape of the beak, and in the lower half there are sharp, angular shapes. I can’t really explain how to draw these shapes, but they are pretty basic, so just draw them as shown.
With the eye, start to add layers of graphite to the pupil (but don’t make it too dark just yet to avoid smudging). Also start to shade the rest of the outer eye as shown.
Description: Suddenly the beak looks very complicated, but really not much has changed from the previous step. The nostril has been defined and some shading has been added around it and the top of the beak. Some more shading has been added directly below the nostril – note the slight gaps between shaded patches in this area.
The shapes at the tip/face of the beak have had darker segments added at points along their border, and have been made ‘sharper’. You should also add some thin lines and dot details around the place as I have done.
You should also start to draw the rest of the mouth/beak. The corner of the mouth should lie just to the right of the centre-line of the eye in the vertical plane, and in line with the nostril in the horizontal plane.
Description: Smooth out the patches of ‘sketchy’ shading on the beak and add a bit more shading here and there so that the beak looks less patchy, but still retains the detail of the pattern.
In this step we also begin to draw the rest of the face. Begin by laying down some sketchy shading in the region between the eye and the beak, as well as to the left of the eye.
Description: When drawing the iris of the eye (the lighter section surrounding the pupil), draw it in two stages – (1) first draw the medium tone to form the base layer, then (2) draw the iris details – these include a bunch of slightly jagged ring-like segments.
In this step I have also smoothed out the sketchy shading around the face.
Description: Now we begin to draw the eyebrow/eye socket structure. In the previous steps, I have been slowly adding some of the eye socket details, so look back over them if you missed these details. Now we are going to add the shadows in this area and this is really just a thin band at the top of the eye. Note that I have left a small oval of light reflecting of the upper-right corner of the eye.
I have also started the base of the feathers that cover the top of the head. You don’t need to draw these feathers exactly as I have done, but ensure that they taper to sharp, thin points at their base as I have done.
Description: We now need to start to draw the feathers that cover the top of the head. I know that these feathers look very difficult to draw, but with the right technique and some patience, they aren’t that hard. First, take a look at the finished drawing to get an idea of what this area should look like when finished. Note how there are two types of feather shapes in the final drawing – there are quite irregular shapes at the front of the head which then flow into crescent-shaped cascades towards the middle and back. The other very important detail to note is the thin white border around each feather ‘clump’.
Description: This shows how to get the general texture of the feathers. Steps 1-4 involve simply involve drawing a feather shape, shading it and then drawing some lines across it to give it a ‘feathery’ texture. Steps 5-7 show the same, but with a new bunch of feathers. The idea here is that the first feather is overlaid on top of the others. Step 8 involves using an eraser to develop some more texture.
Description: Step 9 involves the addition of more lines. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until you get a texture you are happy with. Step 10 is the important step. Draw thin lines from the upper border of the white channels between the feathers as shown. This gives the feathers their feathered edge! Steps 11, 12 and 13 show how to draw crescent-shaped feather clumps.
Description: So I can’t really show you how to draw the feathers individually as it will take too long, but with the techniques I have explained above, you should be able to draw it yourself. You do NOT have to draw it exactly as I have done either – I actually deviated substantially from my reference image.
Description: Towards the back of the head the feathers become less detailed - just shade some jigsaw-like shapes as I have done. Note how the feather details directly above the eye socket are short and arranged in rows. This is another area where you can do your own thing – whatever works.
Description: This step is about adding highlights to the feathers. Recall step 10 from the feather technique guide a few steps ago – that’s what we're doing here. Erase patches of the white channels between the feather clumps to widen them slightly and to clean them up a bit.
Description: Complete the feather texture for the feathers on the back of the head. Also note how the feather details above the eye socket have progressed over the last few steps.
Another thing that has been progressing over the last few steps are the feathers to the left of the eye. This is an interesting texture which is very easy to draw - it involves just drawing a lot of lines in a curve away from the eye.
Description: This is the general technique to drawing the feathers to the left of the eye – make sure you use a sharp pencil! Step 1 involves drawing the base layer which consists of lightly-drawn curved lines. Note how the lines do not extend across the entire patch – they are short and overlaid. Step 2 involves the addition of slightly darker lines – make sure you space them out evenly. Step 3 involves adding the darkest lines – note how they get slightly darker towards the upper left corner. Steps 4 and 5 are optional and show how you can break up the lines a bit and make the texture more patchy. It’s up to you really, stick with whatever looks best.
Description: In this step the middle of the face gets some attention. You can see how the feather texture from the left of the eye has curved under the eye and ended in the middle of the face (this is actually where it begins I guess – we have drawn it in reverse!). Also see how the hairs in the centre of the face seem to be radiating outwards in all directions from a central point. There are long hairs that extend down over the mouth and then there are slightly curved hairs that extend over the beak, just above the nostril. The rest of the hairs are just filler – draw a whole bunch of short hairs to fill in the gaps.
Description: Here is the technique I used to draw this patch of feathers. Step 2 involves drawing very short and jagged, V-shaped bunches of lines. Note how they are evenly dispersed with gaps between them. Step 3 involves drawing slightly longer and darker lines over these V-shaped bundles – you should use a sharp 4B pencil (or darker). Steps 4 and 5 involve repeating step 3. In the end you should end up with a dark texture with some thin highlights poking through.
Description: As you are drawing the patch of dark feathers, you should also start to fill in the feathers that extend around the back of the neck and head. We can now start to see the final shape of the drawing. Fill in the feathers at the back of the head – these are just basic feathers and shouldn't be too much trouble. I have also added some very traditional feathers at the bottom of the drawing (they are essentially diamond-shaped patches of shading with lines through the middle). I kind of like them, but you could leave them out.
Description: Here’s how to develop the area below the mouth/beak. It is quite a light and fluffy texture that is bordered at the bottom by jagged, darker feathers. This is a pretty straightforward aspect of the hawk to draw, so just follow the steps.
Description: Sketch lines over the shaded feather-shapes at the back of the head to develop the texture. Note how I have varied the strength of the lines amongst these feathers to give a bit of variety to the area. The idea is to make the feathers look streaky and almost like little patches of fur. After this step I decided to make the feather patches slightly larger to make it look more dense - you can see the final result in the cover image at the top of the tutorial. Finally, over the last few steps I added a reflection of the sky into the white patch on the eye - but I've since decided that it looks better as a blank reflection, so I left it out of the tutorial. I hope you have enjoyed this lesson and stay tuned for more (slightly less complicated!) tutorials soon.
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