James J. Audubon – Pastels – Illustrationing birds in true form

June 8, 2011

John James Audubon (1785 – 1851)

“…. was the artist first recognized for illustrating birds. He published ‘The Birds of America’ in four volumes between 1827 and 1838. The volumes contained a total of 1,065 individual birds drawn in their realistic form.”











My 8th grade students took on the challange to create their own Audubon style bird drawing. The medium was pastel chalk and pastel pencils on pastel papers. Each student choose an existing example of a bird, the reference was from ‘The Shorebirds of North America’ (Viking Press, NY) and ‘Birds of the Eastern Forest:1’ (Houghton Mifflin co., Boston). Learning the basics was all essential in the project.

Some helpful hints are available on the following site.    http://www.ndoylefineart.com/pastel.html

The students were very successful in their artworks…

Claudia G. illustrated a KingFisher in pastels.

Brittney M. captures the in flight action of hummingbirds.

Learning not to muddy colors is always a challange with pastels. The student was very successful in use of colors.


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