Feb 26, 2022

My Bird Neighbors

Since last November, we have had bird neighbors visiting our apartment everyday. When my husband first bought bird food, we were looking forward to seeing birds. But we had waited for a month for the first bird to come. Now, they come visit everyday: at least three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and numerous snack visit.

There are two kinds of birds visiting our place. One is house finches. They are three couples (brown head and red head). The other is eastern bluebirds. The feathers of eastern bluebirds are very beautiful, and they have a cubby orange chest. 

When birds come, our cats would make a very interesting sound to welcome them. My husband said they are trying to mimic the sound which birds are making. When we hear it, we know birds are here!

These birds bring much fun to our life. Watching them eating make us so relaxed. So I want to create an illustration about them!

The initial idea was to draw birds eating at the our apartment's balcony, as you can see from the sketch. But somehow, I feel it's not quite right. The sketch did show what I see, but I don't see the liveliness. I don't want the illustration to be too literal, but the theme must still be birds-eating and also include balcony elements. 

So, it needs transformation. I thought of the illustrator Rebecca Green. One of the illustrations she designed for her Patreon shows an antique look. I like it very much: yellowish background and sketch-like green frame. I took reference from her pictures and decided my illustration of birds would have an antique look, and the balcony elements would be transformed into a frame. 

Then the coloring part. First, I used gouache to paint a dull yellow as an undertone. Then, I colored the birds, frame, grass...But at this point, I only painted a thin layer. I wanted to get a certain idea how the illustration might look like. If I am not satisfied with one color and want to change to another, because the illustration is painted in a thin layer, I have room for adjustment. 

Once I was satisfied with all the colors in the picture, I began adding values to colors, making the colors brighter or darker. And then using colored pencils for the details. 

The style of this illustration is different from my previous work. I like the transformation of the balcony elements. I think I step out a bit from my comfort zone!



自從petit ami買了鳥飼料後,我們和貓一直很期待小鳥來訪。從安裝好後的每日盼望,足足等了一個月。第一隻鳥來時,我們好開心;現在牠們是常客,每天至少來三次(早午晚餐),和想到就來吃幾口的點心時間。

最常來的是House finch,牠們是三對夫妻(一隻紅頭,一隻棕頭)。偶爾來訪的是Eastern Bluebird,身形比較圓潤,橘色圓滾滾的肚子超可愛,吃相比House Finch豪邁。

有了小鳥鄰居,我們和貓的生活多了很多樂趣。Albert和Richard看到鳥來就會模仿鳥叫的聲音,我和petit ami就知道小鳥來了!


一開始構圖的想法很直觀——小鳥在陽台吃飼料的樣子:飼料吊掛在陽台側壁,有的小鳥在欄杆上吃,有的在地上吃。但是,看著這個構圖,覺得哪裡怪怪......?我想表現小鳥吃飯的雀躍,又想包含家裡陽台的元素。我想到插畫家Rebecca Green,她為自己Patreon設計的圖融入復古的元素;泛黃底色、富含筆觸的手繪框邊。我喜歡這些元素,想把它融入到自己的圖。最後,決定跳脫框架思考,不是畫眼睛所見,而是變形、變形!


顏色以復古色為主題,要有點舊舊的,但又非看起來髒掉的顏色。像是,Bluebird的藍色要很飽滿但不是艷;House finch的主色是棕、紅、米色,而且要和底色的黃有和諧感。




Thanks for reading!

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