How-To: Owl Eye and Feathers
When I doodle, I enjoy drawing animal eyes with either fur or scales surrounding them. My go-to animal is an owl, and surprisingly can be pretty easy to draw. This how-to will explain how I lay down my subject and stylize it. I used Prismacolor Turquoise Graphite Pencils, Premier Illustration Markers (005 and 05 in Brown) and the Premier Brush|Fine Art Markers (in a range of brown-green).
Step 1 & 2: Find a reference. I used: http://besthomedecorators.com/great/great-horned-owl-eye.html. Block in shapes with pencil (HB).
Step 3: Use a 005 Illustration Marker to outline your rough pencil drawing. This will help you better see your drawing when you go to add texture and color. It’s a good idea to start with a thin line in case you mess up (like I did on the beak). Don’t worry if you make a mistake. This can easily be covered up later. Erase all the pencil lines so they don’t smear or dirty the paper. Keep your whites white!
Step 4: Start to have some fun. Add patterns and textures into the shapes you’ve created with the Illustration Marker. Be creative; don’t just copy the image. Make it your own.
Step 5: Add feathers. Owls have fine feathers that appear more like fur from a distance. Start at the edge of the eye and draw out, that way when you complete your stroke, it starts to fade. Be sure to take your time, so you create clean lines.
Step 6: Add depth. Vary the line weight and spacing between each stroke. This creates the illusion of depth between the hairs.
Step 7: Photo copy. It’s always important to create a copy of your work before you add color, that way you have an extra in case you mess up.
Step 8: Add color! This is where you can experiment. Owls don’t have to be brown. They can be blue, orange, purple, whatever you want. Lay down your lightest colors first and slowly move to the darks. I used complimentary colors of the Premier Brush|Fine Art Marker: Sienna Brown and a Teal Blue to keep my color palette unified. I added a punch of orange to create a focal point around the eye. If you’re unsure of what colors you want to use, you’ve already made copies, so you can try multiple color combinations. Keep in mind that the markers are meant to blend, so work quickly and layer, layer, layer!