Rufous-crested Coquette Illustration
click on the image for full size version
Growing up I liked to draw things. In my grade school years and teens I took art classes learning to paint, and to illustrate. When I got into birding I started to sketch and draw a ton of birds and always wanted to illustrate a book with birds, or contribute to a field guide. When I went to college and decided to continue to pursue art in a Studio Art program I shifted from drawing to photography. I loved what you could do with a camera, and in my college years it was the dawn of the digital age. I took a computer illustration course at the end of my freshman year. After all, you had to have a breadth of classes for the degree, and I figured it was worth a shot to see what could be done on a computer. My first illustrations were simple, and usually contained little detail. As I became more comfortable with it I was able to create illustrations with subtle details, and over time was able to crank designs out pretty quick. The class was the only digital class that my college offered at the time and after it was over everything I did was on my own.
I shifted from illustrations into photo manipulation as I tried to figure out where I was going in life--I only illustrated a few things after that first year, and mostly forgot about what an art it was. By my senior year I started doing web design and did a little illustration for the designs, but no full scale drawings. And after I graduated it was much of the same. I shifted my work to user interface design, and most of what I was doing had to do with laying out pages and figuring out how to make a graceful experience for people visiting a website. I was no longer an illustrator.
I still had to illustrate the occasional icon, or graphic, but nothing that was overly complicated and nothing that required a ton of detail. Occasionally I feel like drawing something and will hop in and give it a shot. Usually, I get frustrated and just walk away from what I am working on because it isn't turning out how I hoped. This week I had an urge to draw a hummingbird. I started and the first couple versions jsut sucked. The shapes were off, the details were too big, and I just wasn't liking the final product. So last night I sat down and dove into a drawing. I picked up again this morning and finished everything up. The picture above is what I came up with. I worked off this picture:
Overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. This species is one of the birds I hope to see when I go to Peru this fall--a truly spectacular hummingbird. I was able to get a lot of detail without having to draw any real feathers. The individual lines helped create the feathered look.
Based off this first try I might have to do a few more--it has been a long time since I have seriously illustrated and I lost some of my finesse, but I really enjoy it and it's not something anyone is really doing (semi-realistic photo illustrations of birds).
In any event I hope you enjoy!
Labels: art, hummingbirds, illustration