Looking Beyond – A Magical Grackle ink drawing by Scott Myst

I thought I would share the stages of progress of my most recently completed original magical grackle ink drawing.  I called this piece “Looking Beyond”.  Grackles are abundant in my area and I have been fascinated with these birds for a long time.  The males sport flashy black feathers that shine in iridescent colors of blue and green around their heads.  They have appeared to me in dreams a number of times and I always have seen them as a messenger from beyond and a sort of spirit animal.  Let’s take a look at this magical drawing in progress.

This is a detail of the completed artwork:

Detail of magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

The process

I began with a pencil drawing which is my typical approach.

Work in Progress magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

I recently purchased a new calligraphy pen for drawing.  It will never look this clean again…

Calligraphy pen

I commence the work by following along the original drawing for the most part but add a lot of detail as I see fit.  I like the way the trees are coming a long at this stage.  This new pen pleases me.

Work in Progress magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

Once the pen work is done, I add in the tones with a watercolor brush.

Work in Progress magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst Completed magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

Here is a detail of the eye at the bottom.

Detail of magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

Final artwork

Here is the final magical grackle ink drawing scanned and made pretty:

looking beyond - A Magical Grackle ink drawing by Scott Myst

Two random side notes about my experiences with grackles:

I once observed a small group of these clever guys ripping into packets of sweetener and gobbling up the powdery content at an outdoor coffee shop.  The method was quite clever; nap packet from table and take it to the grass, stab beak into paper packet then open beak to make a nice sized hole, then feast on contents.  On a side note, these were the worst looking grackles I had ever seen.  Their shabby appliance reminded me of Gollum (artificial sweeteners turned them in to the bird equivalent of tweekers).

When I worked at ASU, I used to walk from a neighborhood across the street to avoid paying for parking on campus.  The road I walked down on campus had some very large trees along the sidewalk in which grackles would nest.  As I walked along that sidewalk during the spring when there were hatchlings in the nests, the males would dive bomb my head making a strange clicking sound.  The first time scared the hell out of me as I did not see them coming.  After a couple of times, I learned it was a better idea to walk on the opposite side of the street 🙂

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