Illustrating chickens is just too much fun. When you get into the knitty gritty details they begin to look so alien and downright bizarre.
Drawing our leghorn, appropriately named Foghorn Leghorn, in pen and ink was much more challenging than I anticipated. The leathery look of her comb and wattles didn’t translate easily into lines and shades. My creativity had to go into full force for this one!
I started out with a macro photo of Foghorn.
She would never sit still long enough for a photo like this to happen, so I took it by holding her in one arm, and shooting with the other. The awkward angles meant I had to hold the camera without looking through the viewfinder. This made for a lot of outtakes and getting laughed at by neighbors, but I manage to get one crisp photo to work with.
For pen and ink illustrations, I use a combination of Micron, Sharpie, and Pilot pens. They all have different variations of line and ink color and make for a great illustration when used together. I especially love the micron for very fine details, of which there were plenty for this project.
All of my illustrations are done on Bristol Paper. It’s super smooth and thick, so it can take on almost any art materials without wrinkling or bleeding. Truly great stuff!
I started off by lightly sketching the major shapes in her face with a pencil, then quickly moved onto my favorite part, inking.
Eyes are always so intriguing and so important to the final look of the piece. I usually tackle the eyes in the very beginning, because if I mess them up it’s not too much trouble to start over again. That’s the thing with pen and ink, it’s mighty permanent, so big mistakes are not an option.
When I felt satisfied with the look of the eyes I moved onto the rest of the bird, starting very lightly with sketchy lines and moving into darker, broader strokes toward the end.
After many hours with a pen in hand, scribbling, squiggling, and sketching, she has finally taken shape and developed the proper values.
Here’s a close up of the squiggle details. They’re so much fun to do!
After adding in a nice dark background with the Pilot pen, she was finally finished!
I’m really in love with how Foghorn came out in illustrated form. I need to find a nice rustic wooden frame so I can get her pretty face up on the wall!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick installment of farm art. More to come in the near future… I’m working on some fun TOAD art next!
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