how to draw a realistic crow, american crow

How to Draw a Realistic Crow, Draw Crows

Step 1.

First start with this interesting shape. Sketch lightly the 2 oval circular shapes and fan for the tail. Draw the legs and little hill for a stump.

Step 2.

Draw in the crow's head, beak, and feathers.

Step 3.

Take you time to draw in his chest and beautiful wing feathers.

Step 4.

Sketch in the fluff of his chest, belly, legs, and stump. Watch closely how they relate to the guidelines.

Step 5.

Now draw in his tail feathers. If you haven't already, you can erase your guidelines.

Step 6.

I made this line drawing especially for you if you don't want to do the pencil shading and blending part. Otherwise, let us continue to the pencil drawing part.

Step 7.

Here is the outline done with a 0.7mm mechanical pencil. Look closely and see if your lines look something like this. You can erase if certain areas like the eyes or nose don't line up. Observe how there are more details, like the dots. Be patient with this, it's not as complicated as you may think. As you do more pictures, this will come easier to you.

Step 8.

You probably wonder how in the world can I get the crow's feathers jet black. I have help with the 9B Graphite Crayon (it's a little waxy-shiny) and it does a great job. Check out the size comparison to my other 9B Monolith Pencil (which I call Graphite Pencil). And look at the difference in their shading. If you want to go jet black and shade super fast, pick up that Graphite Crayon at your nearest art store.

Step 9.

CUBE, BALL, CONE, & CYLINDER -- These are shapes everywhere in nature. It helps to know how to shade, add texture, etc. Recognizing these shapes, simplifies the landscape or subject you're looking at. TONE, SHADING, SHADOW, & TEXTURE -- Tone is the actual color, shading is the part of object away from light, shadow is cast by the object, & texture is the rough, smooth, hilly, sharp, bushy, etc., feel or appearance of an object.

Step 10.

Here are more exercise in case you want to practice for more realism. I practice too! And don't worry about crocked lines. That's all part of the practice. The next steps, you'll be pencil shading and learning more about the raven and crow.

Step 11.

My advice is to take your time drawing in the shaded feathers. Start with the No. 2 pencil and make sure it is sharp. Draw in the lighter feathers in short strokes. The darker feathers and shaded areas (throat, head, chest, belly, and leg), draw with the 9B graphite pencil (if you don't have it, use the No. 2 pencil and keep shading darker).

Step 12.

Sometimes my drawing hand doesn't cooperate with me so I need to improvise. I inked the shadow underneath the wing and decided it didn't blend with the picture. So I proceeded to use the 9B Crayon to darken the tail feathers and belly.

Step 13.

Continue to sketch (with 9B pencil or No. 2 with more pressure) in a diagonal direction, stroking. TIP: Make sure your pencil is sharpened. This technique gives an appearance of feather barbs (or a feathery look).

Step 14.

It takes time or a few layers to darken the bird. As you blend with your stump, the graphite covers more area... but that makes the overall coverage lighter.

Step 15.

Adding more graphite for darkness is a perfect solution. Sketch in more lines to gently darken with a 9B Crayon... look at your reference so you don't overdo this application. Now take your blending stump to smooth out the lines and don't darken the white areas. Also add some more lines to the stump the bird is perched on.

Step 16.

First I sprayed the picture with "Krylon Workable Fixatif" to adhere the pencil & pastel to the paper for non-smudging edges of the drawing and a workable surface. You too can give your bird that nice iridescent shine to its feathers. Keep looking at the reference picture and don't be afraid to darken. If the white areas on the feathers, like below his wing near his tail isn't curving right, either use the kneaded eraser or some white opaque watercolor. Use the opaque white with a small paint brush (size 1) to get the right shape. The paper size I use is 8-1/2 by 11 inches (A4). I basically took a medium gray pastel and smoothed it in a circular motion to give a subtle cloud appearance in the sky. The remaining steps will show differences between the raven and the crow.

Step 17.

Click on this picture to see the difference between the Common Raven and American Crow. Also cut and paste these links to your web browser address to hear how different the crow and raven sounds. CROW (higher cawing sound): RAVEN (low guttural sound):

Step 18.

Click on this picture for a bird's wing anatomy.

Step 19.

Here is an interesting picture of the feather anatomy. The vane of a feather extends from the tip to the downy barbs. The rachis is that middle portion of the feather that extends from the tip to the bottom hollow shaft.

Step 20.

These different feather types explain why the bird's wings can look so different from its belly.

Step 21.

Size difference: The raven is the largest of the crows with a 4 ft. wing span. Like the size of a hawk. The crow has a wing span of 3 ft. about the size of a dove. Crows and ravens also look different in flight. Ravens tend to soar in the air, and sometimes do somersaults in flight. Their wings are longer and thinner, and the primaries — the main flight feathers on the wings — are also longer and have more space between them. The birds' tails also look different when spread; a crow's tail curves evenly like a seashell, while the tail of a raven meets at a triangular point.

Step 22.

Foraging and Other Stuff: Crows don't mind noise, highly populated areas, since they like scavenging seeds, fruits, and vegetables in groups. Ravens are private, hunting alone for insects, fruits, and carrion, so they're more likely to be found in remote woods, meadows, and hills. Check it out...that's a raven eating a dead baby shark!

Step 23.

Without highlights, your picture would have a flat appearance. Click on this picture to learn how to make your own picture POP out!

Step 24.

Click on this picture to see how Tone, Shading, Texture, and Reflective Light affects the American Crow, a very intelligent animal! I am closing out now. But you all have been wonderful and it has been a great pleasure to do this tutorial with you. Please fav, comment, and show your love here. And I will definitely reply back soon or eventually. Love, peace, happiness, success, and more beautiful days to ya! *hug* *blowkiss*

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Uploaded: September 3, 2012
Artist: Catlucker
Difficulty: Intermediate  Intermediate Skill Level
Steps: 24
Updated: September 3, 2012
P.O.V: Side
Favourited: 33 times
Artist comments

The American Crow is the bird pictured in this tutorial. Smart, big brain, black as night are only a few things this flying animal has up its wing. The name "crow" (Corvidae) stands for the whole family of American Crow, Common Raven, Magpies, Jays, and other birds. For many, the raven and crow are confused. In this tutorial, I'll be pointing out some differences to make them easier to identify while at the same time you can enjoy learning "How to Draw a Realistic Crow.