So, as I try to stress in all of my tutorials, practice, practice, practice. Use whatever styles that comes handy to you to do a few practice sketches. I used pastel and ink for this one.
Here's is another sketching technique that comes in handy: Use a dry erase board to plan out your drawing. This is just another way to get some practice down before starting your actual drawing.
Alright, so let's get started with our owl! I am using cold press watercolor paper, a kneadable eraser, and graphite pencils that range from H to 9B. Start by lightly sketching out the basic shapes that make up the owl; the body/head, wings, and tail feathers.
Roughly develop the owl by hinting at the face, feathers, and legs.
Continue this rough development with the feathers and face. Remember to keep it light. Be gentle and try not to dig into the paper. Try out different grades of pencil for this. I found that B and 2B work well enough.
Draw a definite outline for your owl. Don't make it as dark as possible yet, just make sure that it is crisp. Use your harder pencil, like HB and B, for this.
Now start sketching in the background. You can make it whatever you feel like making it. I like dark backgrounds so I decided to make it a night background.
Keep making your way around the the owl. You'll find yourself having to use multiple pencil to make the shading smooth. If you want to use blending stumps or tortillions that is really up to you. I chose not to use any blending tools.
And here is the background all sketched in. You'll notice it change throughout the tutorial. I like to develop my background and my foreground at the same time.
Alright, let's concentrate on the owl again. Start sharpening the face and body.This is where you can start applying more force to the paper.
Work in the details of the face from darkest to lightest.
Continue on down the body.Remember to use confident and sharp lines. Avoid "fuzzy" lines by making sure that your pencils are always as sharp as possible.
Now, sketch in the forms of the tail feathers. Use something like an F or HB pencil.
Add detail to the feathers from darkest to lightest. Use, B to 4B pencils for this step.
Let's move on to the wings now. Treat them just as you did the tail feathers by first sketching in the forms/outlines.
Then add in more detail and start sketching the forms for the other wing.
Here is the owl with most of the details hinted at. This isn't absolutely concrete but it serves as a base for the final layer of details.
I chose to further define the background before moving on to the finishing stages of the owl. I used my full range of pencils for this step.
So, all that is left to do is basically darken the owl. All of the details are there for you to build on top of. You can make the owl as dark or as light as you want. I chose to darken it just for the sake of making it work with the background better. I chose to work right to left. YOu may find yourself smudging the drawing a lot during this step. Try placing a clean sheet of paper between your hand and the drawing to counteract smudging.
And here is the completed owl. Now, I will admit that this drawing took a very long time but then again it was my first time drawing this was. So, don't get discouraged if it doesn't turn out exactly the way you want it to, just strive to make it the best that you can. I will probably revisit owls in a future tutorial after I have refined my technique a bit more. Anyway, I hope you found this tutorial fun and helpful!