Sibley – Drawing Birds

ambience: miscellaneous bird ambience, background, walking You’d think that after decades of practice, an artist who specializes in drawing birds would understand pretty much everything he needs to know about his work. Well, yet apparently it’s the pursuit of what the artist doesn’t know that fuels his impulse to continue to refine his craft. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet presented by DuPont. David Allen Sibley, one of the world’s foremost bird artists, has produced a new field guide to the birds of North America – the result of 27 years of work.”The thing that kept me going on this project for all the years was the idea that I was always learning. The excitement in it for me was getting all the information about the birds, learning how to identify them, understanding them better and understanding the patterns, the variation, fitting it all together in my own head and then getting to know it well enough that I could put it all together in a book.” And rather than rest on his laurels, Sibley feels that he’s still learning. “The things that I’m working on right now with studying birds are some of the details of how the feathers are arranged. And I’ve realized that I’ve gotten into some habits of drawing the birds in a certain way, based on what they looked like, or how I understood their plumage and their patterns. And I’ve realized just recently that some of that is wrong because I was making assumptions, or I had learned incorrectly in the beginning that the basic structure of parts of the birds. So I’m studying now, looking at the feather arrangements and the details of how the feathers fit around the bird to try to correct some of these things that I’ve been uh doing wrong. What I learn when I do a sketch is all the things that I don’t know about the birds — that I need to study the next time, so I have a very focused idea of what I need to look at the next time I see that bird.” Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.music

Sibley - Drawing Birds

An accomplished avian artist continually refines his craft.
Air Date:06/03/2021
Scientist:
Transcript:

ambience: miscellaneous bird ambience, background, walking You'd think that after decades of practice, an artist who specializes in drawing birds would understand pretty much everything he needs to know about his work. Well, yet apparently it's the pursuit of what the artist doesn't know that fuels his impulse to continue to refine his craft. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet presented by DuPont. David Allen Sibley, one of the world's foremost bird artists, has produced a new field guide to the birds of North America - the result of 27 years of work."The thing that kept me going on this project for all the years was the idea that I was always learning. The excitement in it for me was getting all the information about the birds, learning how to identify them, understanding them better and understanding the patterns, the variation, fitting it all together in my own head and then getting to know it well enough that I could put it all together in a book." And rather than rest on his laurels, Sibley feels that he's still learning. "The things that I'm working on right now with studying birds are some of the details of how the feathers are arranged. And I've realized that I've gotten into some habits of drawing the birds in a certain way, based on what they looked like, or how I understood their plumage and their patterns. And I've realized just recently that some of that is wrong because I was making assumptions, or I had learned incorrectly in the beginning that the basic structure of parts of the birds. So I'm studying now, looking at the feather arrangements and the details of how the feathers fit around the bird to try to correct some of these things that I've been uh doing wrong. What I learn when I do a sketch is all the things that I don't know about the birds -- that I need to study the next time, so I have a very focused idea of what I need to look at the next time I see that bird." Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.music