After my otter drawing, to be honest, I was a little bit scared to start a new drawing. I really want to draw so many things, and learn so much, but where to start? And what if I fail? Then I came up with the idea of trying to draw a Christmas card for my friends. And when I saw a photo of a little robin singing his heart out (by @Thelmas_photos) I knew it would be my perfect subject!

Since I really want detail in this one, I use the full size of the paper again, despite my experiences last time… This time, I ‘cheat’ a little, by drawing the outlines on transfer paper first, so I can check my outlines along the way. Panpastel will be perfect for the background, so I start with that. I try to rub less, to spare the Sofft tools, but it is hard to get pigment into the tooth of the paper. So, I use my fingers a lot for some extra colour rubbing… What does work well, is kind of dabbing, which creates a nice bokeh effect.

Drawing robin background

This sienna paper is new to me, so again it’s a struggle to mix the right colours. I have to think of a way to practice this without using up this expensive paper! I decide to accept the fact that a lot of the sienna is shining through the pastel.

Since I expect the pastel pencils to be much more difficult to mix to the right colour for the red breast – or rather: orange breast – of the robin, I mix some oranges with panpastel for his little body.

Drawing robin 2

Then I continue with the pencils. It is really hard to draw this tiny sharp little beak on the grainy paper. I try using a blender stump, but it removes much of the colour and I have to start over again. Later, I buy myself a set of silicon colour shapers, hoping that will do the trick, but… they wipe off colour too! Hm.

Drawing robin 3

To the feathers, then. Lots of them. I use many different colours, to create a little bit of depth and shine. I love to draw small but specific details like the tiny white flyaway feathers or the soft shine on the right. The inside of the beak. And the eye. Which is so tiny in this drawing, it’s hardly doable. If you look closely – you can barely see it – you might be able to distinguish a dark brown circle around the dark blue reflecting pupil, with bits of colour in it to suggest the reflection. I couldn’t touch it anymore since the paper was fully saturated.

Drawing robin eye

Feathers, feathers, feathers. I find it hard to get the colours right, so I keep on layering and layering. Which is not what I should do, I suppose, with pastel pencils. But somehow I manage to stick quite a lot of layers to the paper.

Drawing robin 4
Drawing robin 5

I can’t resist starting with the robin’s tiny feet. All these teeny-tiny joints and nails… And it isn’t until later, after I finish them, that I realise I should have done the branch first. Oops…

Drawing robin 6

In a desperate effort to get some thin sharp details on the paper, I reach for my Polychromos and try to touch up the lines here and there. The tooth is a bit too deep, but some lines do hold.

Then, finally, the branch. A bit of a scribble here and there. Some moss, bark, shine and all kinds of structures on the twig, I scribble a little impatiently. Then I have an idea, the drawing might be more christmassy if there is some snow on it, wouldn’t it? So I peek at some photos of snowy branches and go for it. Improvisation!

Drawing robin 7

So, now you already know which X-mas card you’re going to receive… 😁

To go to the Dutch version of this post: Tekenen met pastel (4) – Roodborstje!