View Full Version : Red-Tailed Hawk WIP (warning: hunting scene)

08-19-2008, 09:29 PM
Hello again! I'm still learning to paint and so far it's a lot of fun. It's relaxing compared to my inkings. :D Instead of doing something imaginary, this time I thought I would try illustrating a few of my father's photographs.

Reference photos:
and http://flickr.com/photos/rblood/2410900605/

I think the canvas is around 16" x 20". First was several days of figuring out the sketch, composition, etc (sorry for the poor snapshots):

And this is today's progress:

The next step I have in mind is to highlight and detail one or two individual trees in the background in order to create a midground. After that, I'll block in the base layer of colors on the tree bark.

08-19-2008, 09:45 PM
nice WIP

I hope you keep us updated

08-20-2008, 01:30 PM
Certainly a different subject. I like how you've done the foliage.

08-20-2008, 01:38 PM
I'm very interested to watch this develop. You use a somewhat similar technique to begin as Roger Evans with the heavily lined outlines. Hope you post this WIP again soon.

08-21-2008, 01:15 AM
Beautiful Sketch on the canvas.. how did you transfer it to the canvas? I love the tones in the background so far.. its great!!

08-21-2008, 09:13 AM
Pulling up the chair to see this one :) ...great start, can't wait to see more!

08-28-2008, 07:06 AM
Thanks, Kathy and LavenderFrost. :D

I'll have to look up Roger Evans and see how he paints. I have to use an outline for the extremely complicated subjects (ie, tree bark) otherwise I get overwhelmed and can't begin.

OkeeKat, I sketched directly onto the canvas. I don't recommend it--canvas does NOT like pencil--but I'm a beginner and I had no idea how to transfer.

Thanks Soni, though you might be sitting there a while. :D

I haven't had much time to work on this due to being sidetracked with a children's illustration and the beginning of the college semester, but I did make one important correction:


The important bit is that tiny bit of sky peeking out above the center and right-side trees. That big block of green felt very flat to me and I'm having trouble "opening" it up without taking out too much of it. I might fade the bottom to black and add some sort of grassy ground, but I'm not sure if it needs it.

Ignore the tree bark though, that's just the first two base layers blocked in. :o When I add the browns and greens it'll come to life much more.

Also, any advice or critiques are welcome. At this stage it's so easy to fix anything.

08-28-2008, 08:15 AM
Coming along beautifully! Follow this link to one of Roger Evans WIP's - page 4 shows the outline as he starts the boots...Your work is great.



08-28-2008, 11:29 AM
I think that bit of sky looks good. We seem to be looking up in this so I don't think any ground would show. To me, the background looks good the way it is.

08-29-2008, 09:55 AM
Whoa, Roger Evans is amazing. :eek: I can't imagine having such a great grasp over colors. So far all of mine are several times more vibrant/colorful than reality, or they just do crazy things. I just finished reading "Painting the Drama of Wildlife Step by Step" by Isaac to get an idea of the painting process and they use a similar technique. I liked the idea of completing the background before the subject; it gives you something to look forward to at the end. I'm a bit intimidated by all those feathers I'll be painting though.

Normally I paint very simplistic things in an illustrative style, like the children's illustration I mentioned:


The browns and greens on the tree bark in the hawk painting will take away that bold outline. I'm trying for a more realistic look this time.

08-29-2008, 10:14 AM
Katie, I love this wip, he's coming along great!!
I love the addition of the bit of sky, Looks great!!
i'm anxious to see it all come to life! Pulls up a chair to watch.
Your illustrations is great too!

09-01-2008, 08:06 AM

Finally starting the base layers of the squirrel and a few parts of the hawk (eyes, talons, beak). I think today my project for today is to finish those up and complete the outline for the feathers. I'm taking a break from the tree for a bit, I think. :o

09-01-2008, 08:09 AM
EDIT: Sorry, double post!

09-01-2008, 10:27 AM
:wave: I like this Katie! It is a mix of styles - realism meets illustrative which to me, is very unique. I hope you continue to develop this your style as this painting progresses and for future paintings. You do beautiful work! I'll be back to check for updates and the grand finale!!!! :D


Li'l Brown
09-01-2008, 10:39 AM
Hi Katie,
I like how you're doing this- will check back!

09-01-2008, 01:12 PM
this is looking great!! watching for updates!!

09-12-2008, 08:42 AM
Elizabeth -- Thank you so much for the compliments. There was one other person who once called it a sort of "illustrative realism". I think it's just that I start off telling myself I'll do a realism study, but I end up forgetting and just having fun with it.

Jesslyn and Kathie -- Thanks! Here's an update. :D

I'm making slow progress on this because I had something of a fight with it. I realized I had no idea how to paint feathers, got frustrated, and I finally got a big brush and just painted a thick layer of a sickly-manilla hue all over the sketch. So I resketched with the paintbrush this time and spent days refining a feather outline I'm probably going to end up painting over anyway. :rolleyes:


Now that the base layers are down I can start getting those feathers done. The manilla is going to be fiery brown and the gray is going to be white. I think the first area I'm going to refine some more first is the area around the beak and eye.

Here's a closeup of the detail work I did one the squirrel. This shot more accurately shows the painting's colors too:


09-12-2008, 09:16 AM
I really love the combo of illustration meets realism, the strong vivid colours are striking. Can't wait to see how the feathers turn out

eliza ollin
09-12-2008, 10:09 AM
Hi Katie, I'm a bit late, pulling up a chair! I like the illustrative realism too, and I love that bit of sky you added, just brilliant, works perfectly.

09-12-2008, 10:10 AM
This is really looking great. Can't wait to see how you do the bird.

09-12-2008, 05:15 PM
Wow this is excellent so far.. love the details !!

09-12-2008, 05:48 PM
really helps getting those feather outlines down - getting better and better... :thumbsup::thumbsup:

09-21-2008, 06:18 PM

No photograph will show the real colors, but this one comes the closest. This painting is blinding when you look at it in the sunlight.

It took me about 15 hours to paint in all those feathers and go in with the details (which aren't really shown here :( ). I could probably do more with it, but for a while, I'm definitely done with this piece and ready to move on.

Completing my first big painting is a wonderful feeling. It was extremely challenging and I would normally have quit it a while back, but I decided I'd finish it no matter how "bad" I thought it looked. Now I'm more comfortable with using a brush and I think the next project should look even better. :D With this piece you can really tell how my painting techniques are taken from my experience previously working almost exclusively with inks and pens. So far acrylic paint has been a liberating medium. I'm loving working in color.

09-21-2008, 09:12 PM
AWESOME Finish!! Love the details in the feathers. :clap:
Great job over all.. I'm glad you stuck with it, it was worth it!!
Hope you do more soon!! congratz!!

09-22-2008, 07:47 AM
so Dramatic!~ :clap:

09-22-2008, 09:48 AM
WOW, this was fun to watch and I am glad you have so much patience. I wish I had some of it :). GREAT job and be PROUD

09-22-2008, 11:50 AM
Great job, and way to go for not giving up!

09-22-2008, 01:12 PM
It turned out fantastic. Looking forward to your next WIP.

09-23-2008, 07:19 AM
Thank you very much Kathie, Angie, TxAggieDarlin, LavenderFrost, and Sveldstra for all the encouragements and for anyone else who followed my progress. It helped me tremendously in getting myself to finish this.

Looking at that photograph, it's disappointing how much detail you can't see, so I'll include a few detail shots here as well:




And now I'm really done. It's just fascinating to see this piece from far away, and then the closer you get, the more there is to see. (And the more the crazy colors and repeating patterns blind you.) :D

09-23-2008, 11:47 AM
VERY very impressive !! :thumbsup::thumbsup: