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how to draw an illustration of a bird in just a few steps

Work on a cute illustration of a bird created from basic elements and then see how adding different colors can help you create a whole new character! Drawing birds is always a fun experience. These cute animals are easily recognizable with their tiny round bodies, small heads and delicate legs. The sample found on this page can easily be created in a couple of steps using mostly circles and curved lines.

How to draw an illustration of a bird

As you can see on the illustration above, there are a couple of things you might want to look at before proceeding with this tutorial. Not all birds are similar, but there are several aspects that can be found in most species. Let's see how this bird was created ...

  1. The beak is made from an oval shape that is thinner near the end.
  2. Some hair are visible on top of the head of the character.
  3. You can use a nice circular shape to sketch the head of the animal.
  4. The eyes and pupils are made from perfect circles.
  5. Wings are large and pointed near the end.
  6. The tail is mostly made from long curved lines.
  7. The legs are thin and fingers are round and long.
  8. Don't forget to draw some feathers on the stomach!
  9. A large patch can be found on the stomach and this one is filled with a light green color.

That's it for this adorable cartoon bird. Of course, there are more (and various) features that can be found on birds like blue jays, cardinals or swans, but the elements found above are quite common.

Step 1 - Adding a few shapes to create the cartoon bird

First, draw a large circle to form the head of the bird. The body is also made from a circular shape, but this one is much larger. Then, sketch a wing using an irregular oval shape. Finally, complete this step by drawing a tail using a long and thin rectangle. All shapes below will be used to draw the character and then will be erased from the final illustration.

How to draw an illustration of a bird

Step 2 - Let's draw a cute bird!

Start working on this illustration of a bird using mostly long curved lines. You can see that some hair are already visible on top of the head. We can also see feathers on the stomach.

Notice how the lines used to create the tail are slightly bent. You can now erase all basic shapes created in step one (the ones with an orange outline).

How to draw an illustration of a bird

Step 3 - Drawing legs using straight and curved lines

Let's work on the legs using some straight lines as shown in the picture below. The fingers are also made from straight lines (except for the tip of all fingers). Notice how both legs are placed to give the illusion of depth and perspective. To achieved this effect, simply place the leg found behind the character slightly more on the left and higher compared to the front leg.

How to draw an illustration of a bird

Step 4 - adding facial features

Using two medium circles, draw the eyes inside the head of the cartoon bird. Inside the eyes, sketch small pupils using dots. Complete this fourth step by drawing a long pointed beak below the eyes using long curved lines. Excellent! We are almost done for this part on how to draw an illustration of a bird!

How to draw an illustration of a bird

Step 5 - The final details

On top of the head, draw one additional line to complete the hair of the cartoon bird. Use the same technique on the stomach to form the feathers. You can also draw a long curved line on the stomach of the character to create a patch that will be filled with a different color.

How to draw an illustration of a bird

step 6 - Adding bright colors inside the character

Let's make this adorable illustration of a bird completely green. See how the patch inside the stomach is filled with a lighter version of the same color. Of course, you can use a simple orange color for the beak and the legs of the cartoon animal. The eyes are white and the pupils are colored in black.

How to draw an illustration of a bird

IT's now time to play with colors!

So far we have created a simple bird using mostly basic shapes, lines and colors. The result is pretty basic and the color selected for this example was green. In this second part of the tutorial, let's see what can happen when all colors from the character are modified. Can we end up with something visually more appealing? More realistic? Let's find out!

How to draw an illustration of a bird

1. Selecting a darker green color

First, let's apply a darker green color inside the cartoon bird. See how the character already feels slightly different? The previous version was bright and almost childish while this version is more intriguing and saturated. It's not a huge modification, but it's a good start ...

How to draw an illustration of a bird

2. using faded colors ...

In this example, all colors are faded and washed out. I have used a blue color, but the result almost feels grey and almost depressing. It can be a good alternative depending on what you are looking for (it could be used to illustrate an old movie). Using faded colors already make the drawing different and visually challenging.

How to draw an illustration of a bird

3. A bright red version for this colorful bird

Let's go back to a more saturated color with a template filled in red. This illustration of a bird could be considered from another species compared to the original one. 

How to draw an illustration of a bird

4. adding different colors on the beak and the legs

Until now only the head, the body and the tail of the cartoon bird were modified. Let's keep this colorful red animal, but let's use a dark grey color for the beak and the legs. This simple modification already creates something new. Slowly, we are drifting from a cartoon illustration to a more realistic one (even if we are still quite far from a photo-realistic picture).

How to draw an illustration of a bird

5. creating patterns and new patterns

The bird we used so far was quite simple. Let's add a few basic patterns around the eyes and inside the wings to make the character slightly more complex. In this image, the wing is now darker and the tip of this one is filled with the same color used on the stomach. A new patch can also be seen around the eyes of the animal.

How to draw an illustration of a bird

Play with this illustration of a bird and have fun!

Possibilities are endless if you are looking for new ways to create a beautiful cartoon bird filled with bright colors and amazing patterns. Just play with all options, experiment using new shapes and textures and see how it goes. Don't be afraid to try new things. It's worth all the trouble. More fun lessons can be found below. :)

More Fun Lessons

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