WD Birds

When I lived in Panama, birds were everywhere. Our house in Gatun (which is no longer there because the new, wider canal construction has converted my old neighborhood into a large reservoir for the new lock system) had wires right outside our kitchen window. For a week or so each year it was covered by little green lovebirds. Our annual Audubon bird count was a time of great excitement, as we compared totals with previous years and celebrated current totals.

Here’s a link to Audubon’s web site with more information about the annual bird count.

More personally, Molas – the cloth panels of Kuna women – portray an amazing variety of birds. So, when I started drawing, birds were central.

These images are from my book, Paisley Pig & Friends: A Multicultural ABC

With a sunrise in the background, a Hopi-styled hummer hovers over a turquoise flower.
I love the contrast of mola-style quails set in a quatrefoil, which is an architectural element found in European cathedrals

While researching my next book on turtles, I discovered that the quatrefoil shape is also reflected in Mayan design. Take a look!

A Nightengale in the style of the Native People of the Northwest Coast

How many animals can you name that start with the letter ‘N’?

It’s not easy, is it?

I came up with ‘narwhal,’ ‘newt,’ and ‘nightingale.’ So for this drawing, I fudged a little bit and added a ‘nurse shark’ and a ‘needlefish.’

Yep, Umbrella birds are real, but they are not from Uzbekistan. Although they live in the Amazon, my parents saw one a long way from home, in Panama.

Yep, these are real! I asked my parents if they had ever seen one, and they said they saw one in Panama. That’s a long way from home!
I wanted a strong goose for this image. I found it on a postcard my daughter sent me from Thailand: it was a real goose leading a flock across a busy intersection. It had stopped all of the traffic!

I think they look cool drawn in the Uzbekistan folk art style, don’t you?

You can see real Umbrella birds here.

 Here are some owls

Here’s a playful mola-style owl in shades of green, blue, and purple. I donated the original to the Keene Children Festival’s owl collection. (I’m number 104.)
Great Horned Owl

More Birds

After I drew the Great Horned Owl in red, it seemed appropriate to draw red-headed parrots, too.
This blue heron was inspired by a photograph taken by my friend, Janice Friedman.
My mom loved roosters and chickens. I drew this chicken family for her.
To research Paisley Pig & Friends, I spent a lot of time at a Borders Book Store in Connecticut. Now that I live in Vermont, I revel in the stacks at Dartmouth College’s library. But for ruminating on designs and organizing notes, there is no better place than Crows Corner Bakery & Opera House Cafe in Proctorsville, Vermont! So I gave them this crow.

It doesn’t hurt that the best yarn store ever, Six Loose Ladies, was just down the street and a great place for color and texture inspiration! (They have since moved to Chester, Vermont.)

In one of those strange coincidences, when I made this drawing from Janice’s photograph, I left out one of the babies. Later, Janice told me one of the four chicks had died!

You can see more photos by Janice Friedman here.