Inspired by Nature: Goldfaber Wood Pecker

Inspired by Nature: Goldfaber Wood Pecker


Creative Studio

Welcome to the studio, a place to relax, to be inspired and to develop your own creative potential. Here, we will explore ideas and create art with mediums and techniques that will have you achieving rewarding results with your own art.

In this lesson plan, we combine the unique qualities of three types of pencils:

Goldfaber Aqua Watercolor Pencils offering the combination of sketching and painting in one pencil

Goldfaber Colored Pencils offering the artist a large degree of control and ability to capture fine detail

Faber-Castell Graphite Pencils offering contrast, texture and a pleasing aesthetic

These pencils combined, produce an impressive effect, and offer an ease of use that make them fun, and mastered with a little practice.


Materials used:

FC Goldfaber Aqua Watercolor Pencils

FC Goldfaber Colored Pencils

FC Graphite Sketch 6-Pencil Set

FC Watercolor Pad 9 x 12


A Medium Size Soft Round Brush

Paper Towels

Wood Pecker

Inspiration: A Morning Walk

As I strolled along the peaceful wooded coastline of Ocean Point one morning, I was suddenly startled by a very loud, raucous series of piping bird calls coming from some trees nearby. As I stopped and searched for where this dramatic sound was coming from, I finally spotted this very large and lively Pilaited Woodpecker well camouflaged among the branches. Threatened by my pause, he continued his warning cries all while pecking madly.

Inspired by the sight of the Woodpecker, I thought about what a good pencil drawing a bird could make. Heading back to the studio, I decided to draw another native woodpecker of Maine- the Yellow-Bellied Sap Sucker. This bird offered a bit more color and detail, making for an interesting piece of art done with pencils.

Bird Art

As in much of nature, birds really do lend themselves well to artistic expres­sion. It is easy to be inspired by so many varieties of birds ranging in color and unique appearance. There have been numerous famous artists from all over the world who have focused exclusively on portraying birds of all kinds, namely, American artist James Audubon. Once you have experienced drawing or painting a bird, it is easy to develop a passion for them; you will want to do another!

Woodpecker Sketch

The Sketch

In this first step, I make two separate sketches on tracing paper; one of the woodpecker, and one of a simple tree shape. I then combine the 2 tracings on a light table to arrive at just the right composition. l then make a third tracing of the woodpecker and tree together onto watercolor paper. The sketch is very light and simple and will serve as my guide for the pencils to follow. All other detail will develop as I work.

Woodpecker Sketch 

Adding Color with Watercolor Pencils

I begin by lightly coloring in areas of the bird with the watercolor pencils. The watercolor paper gives it a rough feel and look, but that is soon to change with the addition of a wet brush. 

Woodpecker Sketch

Adding Water

In this step, I use a medium-sized soft, round brush to lightly paint over the watercolor pencil with water. This will give the art a smooth base layer. I keep it light, knowing that I will continue to build up the color in layers. 

TIP: Experiment with different colors, strokes, pressure and layering effects on a scrap sheet of watercolor paper throughout the drawing and painting process.

Color Pencil Wood Pecker 

Continue with both types of pencils

In this most lengthy stage, I take my time, continuing to render the bird by combining the watercolor pencils and colored pencils, until the art looks complete. 

TIP: Keep your pencils sharp for precision and fine detail. 

Up-Close Woodpecker Sketch

The Tree Sketch

I use a graphite pencil sketch effect for the tree to create an interesting contrast to the colored pencil art. I use a dark 4B pencil, applying different pressures to render lighter and darker areas. I draw an interesting pattern of vertical holes drilled on the tree by this particular type of woodpecker, lending some interesting detail to the artwork. The pencil on the rough watercolor paper produces a wonderfully effective texture for the tree bark. 

Woodpecker Sketch Finished


Finally, I give the artwork a vignetted effect by sketching the edges of the graphite pencil work in a loose, light way, designed to fade the drawing into the background with definite borders. 

Signing the artwork is my final touch. 

Download Printable Lesson Plan


Artist Biography - Janis Doukakis


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