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How to draw a blue and yellow macaw.

We'll be drawing the bird you see at your right for our lesson today. Before we begin, however, let's talk about some important words artists use.

VALUE. Value is a word artists use to describe light and dark areas in a picture. You're used to using different values in your pictures when you make some areas dark with your pencil, leave some areas white, and shade some areas lightly with a pencil to make gray areas.

One way artists use value is with something called crosshatching. Let's talk about how crosshatching can be used to make a wide range of values by looking at the value scale below.

Making your own value scale like the one on the preceding page would be a good exercise for you if you are interested in learning the technique of crosshatching. You can see why it's called by this name since you make darker and darker areas by using layers of lines that cross over one another.

A good drawing will have a wide range of values. Some areas will have no lines at all. Some areas will be completely black. Some areas will have one set of lines ... and so on. Do you see all these different kinds of values in the parrot drawing with which we started?

FIGURE ONE: Let's get started on our drawing. Start with a large oval shape for the body and a smaller egg shape for the head.

Then add a triangle at the base of the tail and two curved lines for the longer part of the tail.

Next, we'll sketch the beak on the front of the face and the eye and leg.

You'll notice we're not really concerned with crosshatching at this point but just sketching out the basic shapes.

FIGURE TWO: Now we begin changing a little of the shape of the areas we've drawn. We want to make him look "feathery" like a bird, not smooth like a rock. Begin drawing the branch, the claw that's clutching it, and some of the other details.

FIGURE THREE: Up until now we've drawn only lines and created open, empty shapes. Now it's time to begin filling in some of the shapes we've drawn--some filled completely black, others by crosshatching.

FIGURE FOUR: Let's finish adding the shading in our picture. Remember to use a wide range of values: some light, some dark, some white, and some black.

Crosshatching works well if you are using a good sharp pencil, or a fine-point, ball-point pen or marker. This drawing, however, was done in pen and ink.

After you're finished with your drawing, why not send it to FUN FOR KIDZ so we can see it? Or draw something else using the technique of crosshatching. Does anyone have a bird of his own in the house that would be willing to pose for a drawing? Write to us about your pet bird.

Who knows? You might find your drawing or letter in a future issue of FUN FOR KIDZ!

Let's see if you remember these important art words ...

1. Value--light and dark areas

2. Value scale--a series of boxes or circles showing a wide range of values from the pure white of the paper to jet black, with all the shades of gray in between.

3. Crosshatching--a technique of shading, using lines. To make a very dark area, an artist might draw a series of horizontal (side to side) lines, then a series of vertical (up and down) lines over them, then a series of diagonal lines over them.

Did you remember them all? Good! You're on your way to becoming a real artist!
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Author:Wales, Andrew
Publication:Fun For Kidz
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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