Red Cardinals

I found my bottle of red ink, and a spare fountain pen, so hopped back on the Cornell Lab webcam:

Unfortunately we don’t have a great array of feeder camera livestreams here in the UK; I think they quite quickly become RatCam! If there are any out there I have missed, do please let me know.

I use the same technique as with the video footage – just pause the stream and sketch from the screen. The red Parker Quink ink wasn’t as bright as I had hoped, but it could be that it was slightly diluted where I had washed out the pen. I couldn’t really get a decent wash with it but it could just be the composition too…I find inks vary hugely with their solubility and how cooperative they are on the paper depending on the make and pigments used.

I added some black fineliner to get the eye and facemask, and add a little tinge to the wing edges and tail.

We don’t have any bright red birds here, and the orangey-red of the cardinal is slightly different to the red of a Robin. As part of my Natural Sciences degree I did a module on genetics, and I remember reading about feather pigmentation: absolutely fascinating!

I am focussing on birds which are similar to ours here in Britain, but I am tempted to draw a Chacalaca from the Panama Feeder Cam, or the hummingbirds in West Texas.

In other news, I have done a Christmas painting for my daughter: she wanted running penguins! I used a repurposed Amazon envelope so decorated that as well, to hopefully put a smile on the faces of our beleaguered postal workers.


  1. A friend had family in the US and used to tell me about seeing Red Cardinals. She had an RSPB ‘singing’ bird on her hall windowsill. Very bright red! Lovely. Great drawings: difficult to capture the vibrant colour. I tried sketching a Song Thrush yesterday, not hugely successfully. Need more practice.

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