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Painting project

Part 1 Learn to draw and paint a portrait of an eagle owl, with Kerry Bennett


Build confidence with drawing techniques

How to draw the owl accurately

Since I was a child I have loved painting owls and now enjoy holding demonstrations and running workshops showcasing the techniques I use. I even run a live owl drawing and painting workshop. I chose this image (far right) mainly because of the expressive look of the owl’s eyes, and the vibrant and striking colours of both the eyes and feathers.

Beginning with the outline drawing start by producing a pencil sketch of the eagle owl using the photograph as a reference. Drawing the owl and setting out the right proportions are important but ensuring the eyes are right is key. For me to achieve a drawing with the correct proportions I always imagine a grid (or fold the paper in small squares); this helps me to see, for example, that the eye on the righthand side is right in the middle of the owl’s face. Look at everything as shapes, angles and measurements, mapping the main parts that you want correct then, when you are happy, add the detail, such as the pupils and dark feather shapes.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the April issue of Leisure Painter. From experimenting with watercolour and gouache to paint a winter landscape and a beginner's guide to acrylic painting to sketching animals from life and drawing trees using ink, this issue is packed with practical advice and information for the amateur painter. There is a plethora of demonstrations to paint in watercolour, acrylic, water-mixable oils, pastels and more to help build confidence and skills along with projects from photographs, tips and techniques and inspiration. Enjoy your month of painting with Leisure Painter.