Before I start to work on any bird I have in my mind a rough sketch. With the colored background birds I need to investagate how the bird looks the best in my opinion. For instance with the Blue Jay I wanted to show its lovely back with stripes like a decorated Lord or something. The feathers of his head had to be straight up to show you how majestic and statuesque he is. It matches the story I wrote about him. There is not a lot of composition going on, artistically speaking. The most comes forth out of the lighting. The dark pole on which he is sitting, versus the bright blue feathers and the orange background. It is orange for a reason: it is the complimentary color of blue. So he stands out even more.
But for the hummingbird it would seem dull and not very true to life to fill my digital canvas with just one bird! I want to express that this is really a small birdie and just showing one would not make that point. And then there's the fact that the hummingbirds are very interesting to observe when there's more than one. They interact so swiftly eventhough they're loners. So now I thought of a few styles or positions I would like to draw them in. Hovering over flowers, drawing nectar from the flowers, just sitting there like a moody little bird( I LOVE their moody, irritated look) And then there's the cute thimble-like nests they stuff their two kids in, which I am crazy about. That makes 4-5 birds. It also means I have to practise. Because like with the crested tits , they have to look alike, simply because they are the same kind, but yet look like they are different persons. I use so many colors in one bird, and I never know exactly how many. For multiple birds have to remember the colors a lot better so they don't look too different and still change a bit to make it interesting.
But another thing is composition. I have to know in advance where the birds will be and where the light comes from. Below is a rough sketch of how I hope my birds will fit together nicely, and still not get into a fight. I want to add another moody one in the lower section of the work, to make the composition a little more dynamic and versatile. Of course it doesn't look like much, but it is just a map of who will be next to draw. Now I will have to get to work and determine the colors!