View Full Version : African Grey parrot

02-01-2019, 02:15 PM
My friend Gill has a 10 year old African Grey parrot named George. Gill is 82 and the bird (George) will live another 60 years. None of his kids want the bird...so it's a challenging situation. I drove out to see them Monday and shot some photos for a portrait.

An hour in:


3 hours in:


8 hours and done:


George himself:


My setup:


My tools:


Comments, suggestions welcomed. Not that I can erase anything, it's pen.

Payne's Grey
02-01-2019, 04:35 PM
Really nice, Mark! That is going to be well appreciated.

Scene Chaser
02-01-2019, 05:11 PM
I really like your drawing, Mark. Did you put a wash on the feathers too?

02-01-2019, 05:53 PM
I really like your drawing, Mark. Did you put a wash on the feathers too?

Thanks for the comments.

Bill, no I didn't do a wash. I thought about using my gray Prismacolor markers to save some time but didn't for two reasons:

They bleed through and stain the next page in the book
I feel like pure pen and ink is more of a challenge...more of a traditional look that I aspire towards.

02-01-2019, 07:17 PM
Wow, Mark! Outstanding! George the Gray might be the perfect subject for your technique.

Thanks for the progress shots and the shots of your tools and set-up. I saw that type Gelly Roll pen at a shop just yesterday.

02-01-2019, 07:56 PM
Laika - Lamar,
Thanks, much appreciated. Those Gelly Roll pens are the cat's meow. They are even archival.

George had soooo many feathers I almost gave up multiple times. I'd look at a feather, start to draw it, look back up at George and lose track of which feather I was drawing. And they had to be drawn right, or the bird wouldn't look round. Very frustrating, but oddly satisfying at the same time.

Joel L
02-01-2019, 09:20 PM
Wow! Stunning work! The work on the feathers definitely paid off! They have a nice feel and volume!

02-02-2019, 01:31 PM
This is so well done. Especially the work on all those feathers, the detail is excellent and I love the use of the white. The only thing I noticed is that you've missed out his tail :)

Charlie's Mum
02-03-2019, 07:51 AM
It's a lovely tribute to a friendship Mark - so sorry George's feathers are ruffled by the thought of the family not wanting him :(:(:( - :)

Eight hours of worthwhile endeavour too, to produce a very good piece, so well observed.
I hope you took a number of breaks in that time - my back would have been shouting 'Stop!' :lol:

pedlars pen
02-03-2019, 11:23 AM
Yep that has worked really well,I think the grey paper has been an excellent choice & has allowed for the white highlights.
With the photo having been so close cropped it is hard to be sure but I wonder whether the overall impact of the piece might be further enhanced by adding some heavier tones in the material he's standing on ?
I'm thinking that it would both ground him & "throw out" the image more by giving a dark tone of contrast thus emphasizing the weightlessness & softness of his feathers plus the brightness of the white highlights.
It's a hard decision though , you've came a long way now to mess it up !
Nice one, Mike

toowoomba sketcher
02-04-2019, 05:40 PM
Fantastic drawing Mark, particularly with the use of white pen.

02-04-2019, 08:14 PM
I did leave out part of the tail intentionally as it felt like a bird without it. As far as making the man's shoulder darker I think you are right that it would make the bird more grounded. However, with pen, mistakes can't be corrected. And the drawing was feeling done...so I stopped before I wrecked it. I have a bad habit of overworking my art. I guess I prefer underdone more than taking a chance of overcooking.