Drawing a Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)



A story of a friend inspired me to draw a Carrion Crow. Initially I didn’t feel challenged drawing charcoal black birds, but after studying a few cheeky crows in our garden, I observed they weren’t solid black at all. I noticed a lot of indigo blue, even a tiny bit of warm auburn and the shiny feathers reflected some light blue.

After studying crows, on a beautiful autumn day, I noticed a blackbird sitting in our pink berried Mountain Ash (Sorbus huphensis). It made me stop and watch the scene. How pretty to see this blackbird, that, like the Carrion Crow, wasn’t solid black, in this flame red and orange tree that had a few last green leaves. The blackbird was eating berries, like crows do too when there aren’t other human caused snacks around.

Thus, I felt inspired to draw a black-indigo crow and a warm red and orange Mountain Ash tree. I opted for a diagonal composition, carefully balancing the black/indigo blue bird with the flamy autumn colours. The diagonal composition allowed me to put the red berries on the front and push the crow a bit to the back, preventing it to become too dominant.

Crow is overlooking a garden or park. He is resting but not sleeping. He ate some berries and the sky reflects indigo blue on his feathers, while the red and orange autumn colours shine a tiny bit on his side feathers. He is full colour, yet he remains a solid ebony bird.

A print with a Certificate of Authenticity is at Etsy. The original will become available at http://www.paulakuitenbrouwer.com (or inquiries at mindfuldrawing@gmail.com).


3 thoughts on “Drawing a Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)

  1. Yep, he’s a crafty crow! We have an island full of crafty and crowing crows looking much like the one you painted so nicely. The colors in the their feather do change when the sun reflects off their feathers. The crows can entertain me for hours while watching their interesting behaviors. What a lovely composition and attention to detail you have created.


    1. Thank you Lois and Sharon,
      The diagonal composition allowed me to create a focus on the red berries at the end (beginning) of the branch, and consequently pushing the black crow to the back, creating depth. I also needed more colour than then indigo-black colour of the bird alone. The drawing hold now lots of red, orange, green, brown and indigo-black, a whole palette of autumn colours.
      Lois, I like watching these cheeky crows too. They are smart and funny. Their brothers, magpies, which we have plenty, are among the smartest of birds because of their large skulls that hold big brains. No matter how I try to keep the bird food that is put outside for the songbirds out of reach for the magpies and crows, they are hilariously clever getting what they want. Maybe it was by accident, but I noticed one magpie swinging the bird feeder so hard black and forth, that it caused the seed to overflow and fall on the ground, where, of course, the magpie feasted on it.


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