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How to Draw a Bird with Feathers


What could be more fun than paint and feathers? For Kinders, nothing…except maybe spatter painting! This lesson involves three steps: A directed line drawing for the bird, painting and then adding the feathers. All you need is a light color oil pastel (if using black paper or a dark color oil pastel if using a light paper), tempera paint mixed with a bit of white to create pastel tones and some feathers.

Everyone has their own method for drawing birds. I find this shape easy and recognizable enough for all kids to master. Start with a circle for the eye.

Tip: To ensure proper placement of the eye, I explain where the eye should go, then I have each child point to that place on their paper. After receiving a thumbs-up from me, we are ready to proceed. This is an important step as most children will put the eye anywhere on the page, resulting in frustration with the later steps.

On the right side of the page, directly in front of the eye, draw an arrow pointing to the eye. This is the beginning of the beak. From here, the illustrations should be enough to get you going.

Now that the children have drawn a bird, it’s time to bring out the paint. Add a bit of white tempera paint to your regular colors of blue, yellow, red and green. The added tint will help make the paint more vibrant on the black paper. If using white paper, there’s no need to add the tint, unless you want a pastel look.

For the final flourish, add feathers! You can pick up a large pack at any craft stores. I usually set a limit of 3-4 feathers per student. This way, you eliminate the threat of covering up the entire painting!

Have fun.

 

Related Posts:

How to Draw a Cow

How to Draw a Pig


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    16 Comments

  1. LOVE this bird with feathers!! My kids thank you 🙂

    sara's art house

    March 12, 2009

    • Hi

      I’m just wondering do you think it would work well to do the whole lesson with oil pastels instead of paint or is the paint better?

      Hoping to try it soon
      Thank you

      Fiona

      Fiona

      February 3, 2013

  2. I am going to give this a try with my class next week. I hadn’t thought of mixing white paint into my coloured paints. Thanks for the tip. As a non art trained teacher working with special needs kids I find your site very helpful. Thanks for all the effort that you put into writing the procedures and explaining the theory aspects of the lessons.

    Sue

    March 13, 2009

  3. You are so welcome Sue and Sara. I’m glad you let me know that the extra instructions help, Sue.
    For years I looked for art lessons on the internet and found great pictures. But I had no idea how to do them. So what you are looking at is years of teaching these lessons and the insight of what works for the little ones and what doesn’t.
    Your comments gave me something else to think about as well. I teach many inclusion kids in my regular art class and there are some lessons that are far more accessible than others. I should note this when writing up the posts.

    Patty P

    March 13, 2009

  4. I just discovered your blog! I’m an art teacher in Oakland (K to 8th). I wasn’t feeling very inspired lately and I was struggling to come up with new projects for my little K’s. Thanks so much for taking the time to post your ideas and sharing them with the world! You really saved my lesson plans this week 🙂

    – Tina

    Cristofina

    March 15, 2009

  5. Glad you found me, Tina! Thank you so much for your comments. Let me know how the projects turn out!

    Patty P

    March 16, 2009

  6. I just have to say THANK YOU for your time and effort. I’m a homeschooling mom and this is SO helpful!

    Janine the Bean

    May 6, 2009

  7. I am a retired Kindergarten teacher that may be teaching in a private school next year…I am so excited to find your blog…thanks!

    KajunKJ

    KajunKJ

    May 6, 2009

  8. Did you just use white crayon or oil pastel to do the drawing??? Did you let them draw with pencil first?

    Tawnya

    April 30, 2011

    • Oil pastel. I rarely use pencils which tend to encourage small-scale drawings. Hope you try the lesson. Kids love the feather part.

      Patty

      May 1, 2011

  9. Hi Patty,

    I purchased small stretched canvases on sale for a friend’s 1st grade class to make acrylic bird paintings for holiday parent gifts. I was going to have two sessions, the first to sketch and color birds on paper; the second to sketch and paint on the canvasses. They have no easels, so I was thinking about propping them up with little wood blocks? Any other suggestions? I’m flying blind!

    Jenny

    December 4, 2012

    • Hi Jenny,
      I wouldn’t bother with trying to prop the canavas up. All my art projects that I do with the kids are on flat tables. As far as the project goes, the kids won’t taek long to draw the bird, so draw directly onto canvas, paint background and then in the next session, paint the birds and details.

      Patty Palmer

      December 4, 2012

      • Thank you! I’m using this as an opportunity to talk about birds, and read my favorite childhood book: The Wise Robin to them; plus show pictures of birds we have in our area. Great website!

        Jenny

        December 5, 2012

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    September 30, 2013

  11. I did this lesson with my Grade One class today. We used white cardstock and drew the bird with pencil first and then traced it with black oil pastels. They turned out SO great, I can’t even tell you how cute they are. I asked the children to paint in the background too and they chose really vivid colours. Striking! Will definitely do this one next year!

    teachersue

    January 30, 2015

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