Bird Illustration Challenge - Song Thrush

Monday, September 7, 2015

I'm back today with a new bird in my Bird Illustration Challenge (you can view my archives to see previous birds), this one is one of my favourite garden birds in Ireland, the Song Thrush. This one turned out a bit more realistic and detailed compared to some of my previous illustrations. I'm still working on figuring out my style and what feels right to me, it's definitely a journey! I look a few photos along the way as I was painting this so you can see how it developed.

If you're wondering why I paint everything white first it's because of the dark background, if I just painted colour directly onto the dark background without the white the colours would be much duller and not so vibrant. An old art teacher taught me this, it really makes a big difference!

I love the markings on the Song Thrush, they have such a striking front, they really stand out in the garden! I used acrylic paints for this illustration, painted onto watercolour paper, nothing too fancy or expensive!

I picked some bramble foliage, blackberries (mine aren't quite ripe yet) and some Himalayan Honeysuckle to use as reference for the background, I didn't paint these as realistically as the bird. I wanted to try and create a more patterned feel, I think some of the background might actually work as a pattern! The flowers are the flowers of the blackberries before they turn into berries!

We have loads of blackberries around the edge of our property, I think it'll be a few more weeks before they're ready to eat though! I have a great recipe for apple and blackberry pie!

This is the Himalyan Honeysuckle, they really grow well here, they are tall, graceful looking shrubs, with bamboo-like stems and lush foliage. The beautiful dangling flowers turn into big juicy berries that the birds absolutely love!! They're a great source of food for the birds when the weather turns cold!

In an attempt to help develop my style I've started a daily sketchbook practice, you can check this out on my Instagram page where I post these daily! I haven't been doing it long but I highly recommend it, you don't need to spend long on each page, I'm using an A5 sketchbook which isn't too large. At the moment it's a mix of sketchwork, painting and hand-lettering but it can be whatever I want it to be! Have a creative week! Thanks for dropping by! : )


  1. Your bird is so life-like, Clare! Such wonderful talent you have!

  2. It is so beautiful Clare! I love birds and have enjoyed all the paintings you have posted. I'd have a wall full of your paintings if I could! :-) I think you already have a definite style!

  3. Absolutely fabulous, Claire! This is so incredible!


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