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Illustrated Birds of Prey

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  • Illustrated Birds of Prey

    I bought Denny Rogers' book as a reference to carve a red tailed hawk. The detail references for carving, and painting instructions were excellent, and a big help to getting the hawk to look as lifelike as possible.

    I recently finished a peregrine falcon, also featured in Illustrated birds of prey. Again, it was an excellent carving resource. The problem came with painting. I used the mixing instructions provided, but the colours were too light of a blue to be realistic, and the first three mixes did not look anything like the swatches illustrated in the book.

    I had to go back with washes of mostly burnt umber to tone down the blues to a more realistic colour. A friend of mine also did a peregrine, with the same results in terms of colour.

    Were we doing something wrong, or do the colour instructions not match the colour swatches in the book?

  • #2
    Re: Illustrated Birds of Prey

    Hi Garrys, my first guess is that the same brand paints were not used for your hawk or peregrine falcon. As you know the different companies have different formulas to make their paints but still call them by the common name. You might contact Lori Corbett, who is the artist that painted the birds in that series. She can be contacted via Whispering Eagle Studio Bet she can give you some help. Happy carving and painting, Dick


    • #3
      Re: Illustrated Birds of Prey

      Hi Gerrys,
      I'm sorry you had problems with your mixes. Wildbirdcarver was right in that a possible reason could be your brand of paints. Some pigments do vary depending on the manufacturer. Another possible reason is the type of paints you are using. If you are using student-grade or craft paints, then that will make a huge difference in many cases. these paints are stuffed full of fillers in order to keep the cost down (not as much pigment is used).

      I don't have a copy of the book handy, so I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but my paint "formulas" are for the most part, starting points. It's hard to exactly quantify a mix because I grab globs of paint with my palette knife when I mix. But the mix had to be quatified for a how-to book. I generally keep notes and a paint swatch as a starting point, and sometimes adjust the mix to match the paint swatch. It's perfectly OK to tweak the mix to match. If anything good can be said of your results, it's that the color was too light, rather than too dark. It's always easier to darken than it is to lighten with acrylics.

      It would be easy to blame the printing process, because sometimes it's hard to match inks and paint pigments, but I had the final say on the proofs, and the match was pretty close to my eye. So Fox Chapel is off the hook on this one :-)

      Once again, my apologies for your trouble.


      • #4
        Re: Illustrated Birds of Prey

        Thanks for the response.

        As I said, the actual paint swatches in the book were accurate. I should have adjusted the colours to match those swatches, rather than stick to the percentages provided. Even better would be to go with the colours of reference photos. It was a learning experience. As a relative beginner, I wouldn't have tried the red tailed hawk or peregrine without such detailed reference material, so I did benefit greatly from the book.

        By the way, I was using Jo Sonja paints.


        • #5
          Re: Illustrated Birds of Prey

          Also remember, acrylic tend to darken as they dry. You must allow for that when you mix and apply your washes. That "darking effect" was one reason I have transitioned to oils for birds.