How to draw a Nightingale

Nightingales are rather drab colored birds, as they rely on their song rather than eye catching colors. I chose them for the book based on their unique habits rather than unique looks, but they are perfect for a peaceful nighttime scene. They are also rather forgiving as far as proportions go. Here’s how to draw a Nightingale like the one in the book.

Step 1:

First we will draw a circle. This is the birds body. Make sure you know the diameter of this circle because we will use it to determine proportions.

Step 2:

To the upper right of the body, Draw a circle with a 1/2 unit diameter.

Step 3:

Inside the body on the upper left, draw another circle with an approximately 1/2 unit diameter.

Step 4:

Draw a line straight back from the bottom of the shoulder circle, and then connect the top of the shoulder to the end of that line with a very slight S curve.

Step 5:

Connect the head to the body.
Draw two half circles next to one another 1 unit straight down from where the wing meets the body. Connect them to the body and wing on either end.

Step 6:

We’ll now draw a branch and the beak.
For the branch, draw a diagonal line straight across the page intersecting where the wing meets the body. On the left end of the line make a V shape that doesn’t reach the bird. Then finish the branch by drawing another diagonal line (not 100% straight) parallel to the V and first diagonal line.
For the beak, starting 1/8th of a unit into the head, draw two lines that are 3/8ths of a unit long: one horizontal and the other at approximately a 45 degree angle. Connect them with a curve at the end where they meet.

Step 7:

Erase the interior lines on the head circle and body circle, all lines inside the branch, the lower part of the shoulder circle, and the line between the shoulder circle and the branch.

Step 8:

Connect the tips of the beak to the head with a pair of curves on the outside of the beak. Then on the inside of the beak draw a curve from the upper part of the beak that touches the head and ends just a little bit forwards down the lower beak.

Step 9:

Just above where the breast of the bird meets the branch, draw a squiggly line with two up bumps and one down bump roughly parallel to the branch. On the right end of the squiggle, draw a line straight down to about halfway across the branch, then use that line to start a W where the center points to the down bump and the left end points to the end of the squiggle. This way there should be a toe directly under each up bump. On the left end of the squiggle draw a short line up and a little to the left. Then draw a parallel line to the left of it, connecting to the branch. Straight under this line, as if continuing it on the other side of the branch, draw a V. This completes the left foot.
To the right, further down the branch, repeat this step to create the right foot.

Step 10:

Behind the beak, draw a small circle to create the eye.
Along the breast, Draw a wide and short squiggle to suggest fluffy feathers. Draw over the right foot but stop at the left.

Step 11:

Erase the lines inside the feet and beak, and behind the fluffy feathers.

Step 12:

Color the Nightingale. They have reddish brown feathers that get redder on the back. The inside of the beak should be more reddish than the surrounding feathers, but not much more red. They are speckled, so there should be dark orangeish-brown stripes on the breast and wings and head of the bird.

Step 13:

Lastly add shading.

So that’s how you draw a Nightingale!

I chose these birds to be in the book for their unique habit of being a songbird who sings at night. This page couldn’t be as flashy as some of the other pages because of the less colorful animal and being at night, so I opted for a peaceful mood in this one. This page I was free to do a bit more experimentation with lighting and poem placement than some of the others, so that was one of the fun parts of this page.

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