Fall Classes Will Learn to Draw and Paint Crows and Maleficent

Something about autumn always makes me think about crows–I suppose the reason is that fall is the season of scarecrows and what is a scarecrow without crows to scare.


And speaking of scaring-autumn is the season of Halloween and other things scary.

With these thoughts in mind, as school begins in September, my students will begin to draw and paint crows.  Later, the middle school students will move beyond that and will also draw Maleficent and her costumes [and the younger students will draw other animals — particularly those from Jungle Book].

How I draw Crows by CreatTheCrow


What is the difference between a raven and a crow

Draw Raven Bird 3


Draw Raven Bird 5

Draw Raven Bird 6

Draw Raven Bird Sketch

Draw Raven Bird 8

Draw Raven Bird 9

Draw Raven Bird 10

Draw Raven Bird 13

Draw Raven Bird 15

Draw Raven Bird

Distinguish between realistic and cartoon drawing



Disney’s Dumbo was released in 1941.  The entire film is a masterpiece, but one of my favorite scenes is when the crows strut around, making fun of the notion that Dumbo might become a Flying Elephant.  The delightful song is: “When I See An Elephant Fly.”


In 1959, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty was released and with it came a more sinister blackbird.  


In Sleeping Beauty, the scariness of the Raven is reflected in the character and behavior of the wicked Maleficent–at least, that is what happens until a fairy turns the bird  into a  stone gargoyle.Sleeping-beauty-disneyscreencaps_com-7785crow

In Disney’s 2014 Maleficent, the Raven is part of the charater of  the much more benevolent figure–that of Diaval, the human into whom the Raven turns.


I don’t think that anyone would believe that Diaval is a foreboding character; but in that Maleficent’s wings are raven-like, there still is a suggestion of crow-like creepiness in the 2014 film.  It is suggested iin Angelina Jolie’s character and not in Diaval.


This is an excellent example of how very important costuming is. More than anything else, Maleficent’s costume suggests the essence of the crow.  maleficent-collar Art [including artistic costuming] happens after the student has learned a great deal about many different aspects of life and technique.  The artist assimilates what he has learned into his own style or his own approach to subject matter.  The student who knows how to draw crows will be better equipped to design a crow-like costume than one who does not.

In the fall class, we’ll begin by drawing Disney’s cartoon crows.


Then, we will focus on drawing more realistic crows, crow feathers, the claws, and other crow details.


After the study of crows, the middle school students will begin drawing Maleficent’s costumes.


This is an extension of the middle school  study of fashion illustration.  After the fashion students study the costumes of Maleficent, they will begin drawing all of the costumes from Cinderella.  Looking far ahead into spring, the students will later begin drawing the costumes of the new and coming Jungle Book.  I teach several Indian children and love Indian fashion and design.  This should allow us a great opportunity to study that.


The younger students will follow the study of crows with a study of the animals of Jungle Book.

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Understanding the Guide Lines for Drawing Faces


Whether the face is cartoon or more realistic, I always begin by lightly sketching the guide lines to help me place the eyes, nose, and mouth.  I have been drawing faces for half a century and I still do not skip this step.


As the head turns, the lines also turn; and the feautres follow.


Even if the head isn’t round, the lines should be drawn.

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Middle School Girls Begin Drawing and Painting Faces


Margot’s first face — In fall, Margot will enter 6th grade


First exercise from the book


The book that we use to study faces

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5th and 6th Grade Girls Fashion Drawings Phase 1

jeansdrawmargot1adj 5th Grader Margot’s Drawing

Next week the students will shade the drawings with Prismacolor Colored Pencils


6th Grader Andrea’s Drawing


6th Grader Anusha’s Drawing

 Original Drawing

The basic frame for the drawing

The book from which the drawing exercise was taken

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1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade Girls Study Radiating Lines, Spirals, Shading with Colored Pencils, and an Introduction to Fashion

This month, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade Girls have been studying Radiating Images [i.e. the Daisy] and Images with Spirals.

This week, as a very first introduction to Fashion, we are drawing the Daisy Dress and Accessories from the book Doodle Dolls, which is available from Amazon. After we draw the Daisy Fashions, we’ll shade them with Prismacolor Colored Pencils.

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5th and 6th Grade Girls Draw a Simplified Model Wearing Jeans

The basic frame for the model in jeans

The frame has been filled and the head has been rendered with more detail

When drawing the hair, concentrate on sections of hair, as indicated by the amount of light hitting varous spots.
Simplify to planes and sections–both in the lips and the hair

This model’s lips have been drawn with no upper arch and little shading


Exercise from the above book, which is available on Amazon and sometimes at AC Moore and/or Michael’s

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5th & 6th Grade Girls Learn to Draw and Shade Lips


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