Anna's Hummingbird with Hummingbird Sage
graphite and colored pencil on 300 series smooth Bristol, 9x12 in.
Just finished this morning, this is several "firsts" for me: first time working on Bristol paper; first time drawing a bird; first time I've ever incorporated elements from different sources to form a drawing. The reference photo for the bird was one of the subjects on WC's "weekly drawing thread", and I knew I just had to draw him. I also knew that a standard graphite drawing wasn't going to be particularly eye-catching, so I decided to add just a splash of color using a few layers of Prismacolors to bring attention to his glorious throat feathers. I also did some quick charcoal sketches of a zebra and koala that I posted there, but aren't worth posting here.
After I finished the bird, I was quite pleased with the way it turned out; it's by far the most detailed drawing I've done in over 15 years. However, it was just a "bird on paper", and essentially nothing more than an illustration. The photo was superb; tack-sharp and with excellent bokeh (artistically pleasing background blur in a photo), but I felt that wouldn't translate so well to the drawing, as it would likely obscure the wing detail and shape. So, this morning, I decided that adding a botanical food source of the species might be fun and add some interest to the drawing - in this case, "hummingbird sage" [Salvia spathacea]. It is a composite drawing; I had one photo that I used for the actual plant; another to make sure the plant was in scale to the bird, and another to use for lighting. Looking at the photo of the drawing, I think I need to go in and darken up the foliage a bit.
Other neat facts about Anna's hummingbird:
- habitat is all along the west coast, including AK, and as far east as southern NM
- eats insects as well as nectar
- can be mistaken for ruby-throated hummingbird; the white splash behind the eye is indicative
- males perform a singing and dramatic diving ritual to attract a mate