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Submitted on
October 5, 2012
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Common Mistakes In Bird Drawing by Snaphance93 Common Mistakes In Bird Drawing by Snaphance93
First off, and I should've added it in the tutorial: The pupil here is stylised to give more expression. In a completely realistic bird, it would be placed in the center of the eye, about where the lines cross in step 2.

A TINY ADDENDUM TO MISTAKE 2: The beak is in one piece. How the hell's the bird supposed to even OPEN the beak then, when both upper and lower beak are fused together? Just imagine how it'd be if your own jawbone was fused to your skull, and avoid drawing one piece-beaks at ALL COSTS in the future.

Might also be an idea to look at this comment: [link] for more details on mistakes 1-3.

This is the combined result of the following:

-- Getting lotsa faves on an old and outdated tutorial
-- Seeing lotsa mistakes, and yes, a great many of these principles hold true to other birds as well. 'Specially the oval head shape, connecting the beak to the skull, the curve of the lower beak and resulting fluff, the diagonal line which the eyes and nostrils line up along, and so on. Manipulate to your advantage.
-- Drawing burds

So yes, I hope this can and will help some. If you've got any questions, ask, and if you make something with it, I'd be happy to see the results!

As a last note, I have not added nares at the lower beak because I add it when I colour the burd, not when I sketch it. Just so ya know!

More burd/gryph resources can be found here: [link]
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teluha Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, a lot. This was very helpful for me! :]
Even though this is old and dated, I've combined this with real life photo references of various falcon species. In fact, this has helped me understand what parts of the head to watch out for, including the spatial relativity of the eyes to the beak, and so forth.

Thank you very much for this guide! :D
Snaphance93 Nov 23, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Oh man, this is in dire need of an update. But hey, I'm glad to hear it helped, and combining it with photo/real life reference is always the best approach!
This tutorial resulted in my first ever half-decent burdie portrait :D . Sure, he looks a little hung-over and sleep deprived, but I'm amazed how good he looks on just my first try :D .Thanks a lot for taking the time to put this tutorial up!
CeriseThePanda Sep 20, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Very helpful, great tutorial, thanks for making it~ ^^
Snaphance93 Oct 6, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thank you, I hope it's useful C:
Very good, thanks :)
blazegryph Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good tutorial. C: Konig has some degree of canine/feline eyebrows, but that was a conscious design decision versus being unaware of raptor facial structure.
GreyCorbie Oct 6, 2012   Traditional Artist
This is good, but I think you should make it Com. Mistakes in Raptor Drawin. XD I drew a crow not so long ago, and they're surprisingly different (I've done buzzards, pere, and gyr fals before). This is a very useful tutorial but as El said, only if you draw using lines and circles (we don't all do, and I think one could argue that it's possible to draw well without them).

I'd argue that 3 DOES look like part of the skull. I bet I could draw a skull under that. XD The opening doesn't extend back far enough, but it looks to me that it's in the right position.
Snaphance93 Oct 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
But these aren't common mistakes in raptor drawing, these are common mistakes in bird drawing. I see all those odd beaks in all sorts of birds. I chose to show how to draw a falcon since raptors are the most commonly drawn birds, but yes, it applies to all sorts of 'em. Crows differ from falcons, yes, but their beak is still a part of the skull and shouldn't just be pasted on as a last thought.

Number 3 is bordering on a unibeak (which it won't be able to open), so yes, while the beak is getting better, it's still not a proper part of the skull, as the bird has practically no lower jaw. Also, the no nares is the biggest point there. Some birds don't have 'em, but many do.

Oh, I agree, there are plenty of good freehanders out there, but I think that just looking at the proportions and remembering them will help even for freehanders, as will looking at reference pics. I mean, I don't use all of these lines myself, even, at some point you get the feel for it. It's like with writing, you use whatever method works for you, and as long as the end result's good, well, no one can say you're doing it wrong.
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