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Tip to Tail Part 2: More Bird Sketching

Tip to Tail

March 28 | 9:30 am - 1:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on April 4, 2020 at 9:30 am

One event on April 11, 2020 at 9:30 am

3 Sessions / Saturdays / Mar 28, April 4 & 11

9:30am to 1:00pm
Held at the VINS Nature Center
$135 General Public, $120 VINS Members
Register Today

Calling all birders and artists. Feeling confident with your skill in capturing bird shapes and proportions on paper and ready to take your sketching to the next level? Join VINS and illustrator Sandy McDermott for this three-part workshop which will give you tools and techniques to transform your basic sketches into ones that capture the detailed patterns and textures of these animals.

The vast majority of live bird sketching happens from afar, with the birds quickly flitting about. This class will offer unique opportunities to see and handle bird artifacts, feathers and mounted specimens up close! Additionally, we will use photos and even live models as the workshop progresses. Each class will be devoted to a different topic related to learning about our avian friends from an artist’s perspective. Challenging? Yes, but you can do this!

Pre-registration required by Monday, March 23. Classes will begin with inside work but participants should be prepared for outdoor time if weather permits.


  • A 9×12” sketchpad (newsprint pads not recommended)
  • Drawing pencils
  • A white eraser and a kneaded eraser (General’s brand for both erasers recommended)
  • Drawing pens are welcome as well as any tool you enjoy sketching with

Some drawing/sketching experience helpful but not required.

Instructor – Sandy McDermott
Sandy McDermott has been illustrating natural history since 1992. Projects include books, magazines, t-shirts, trail signs, brochures and murals, both private and public. In addition, she’s taught many workshops and field trips in the art of field sketching, basic drawing, painting and color theory. Sandy is a recent graduate of the Birder’s Certificate Program through MA Audubon which has helped inform her art as well as her teaching.

Learn more about Sandy’s artwork at sandymcdermott.com.

Class 1: Refresher – Introductions and Warm-ups
Saturday, March 28

In this class we will get to know each other and spend time refreshing our basic skills with highly useful, critical warm-up exercises that improve both sketching and observation skills. The topic of Forms, Patterns and Textures will be introduced.

Class 2: Forms, Patterns and Textures
Saturday, April 4

In this class we will build on the topic of Forms, Patterns and Textures while introducing the concept of how light shapes everything we see. In support of all this, we will study the work of others (professional and non-professional). Bird mounts and photographs will be our reference materials. Working this way will ease us into the added challenge of working from live models.

Class 3 Live Sketching
Saturday, April 11

Birds are always on the move. Whether in flight or perched, some part of their body is nearly always moving. Today we will put to work the skills learned in the classroom. No fear! If you’ve put your new knowledge to practice over the past two weeks, you are now armed and ready for this.

For more information, contact us at 802.359.5000 x245 or sstrew@vinsweb.org.

Illustration by © Sandy McDermott.