How to Draw: Blue Jay

How to Draw: Blue Jay


  • Paper
  • Colored pencils (light blue, blue, black, white, brown)
  • Blending stick (optional)



Step 1:

The first part in drawing birds is pretty much always the hardest.

There are many ways that you can get the sketch done:

  1. Splitting your paper and the picture into a grid and sketching the bird section by section
  2. Trace it
  3. Transfer the image

You can even print out the picture and trace it below if you want to.

I usually free hand the picture but you can do it however you want.

How to Draw: Blue Jay Part 1


Step 2:   

Now we are going to start coloring in our sketch.  Whenever you start coloring in an area, be sure and erase the graphite that you used in the sketch if the color you are using isn’t dark enough to hide it.

Some of the highlight on the bird is on the crest so that it why it is mostly white.  Have a few blue streaks going through it to break up the white.

Now let’s move on to the top of the wing.  I like to color in layers:

  • Layer 1- Blue
  • Layer 2- White
  • Layer 3- Blue

On layer 3 look at the picture below for where to put the blue.  When you color the highlights and shadows it creates a 3D look for whatever you are drawing and makes it look more lifelike.

Next is part of the tail.

Tip: Make sure you have left small triangles angled to the side white that you will color in a later step.

To keep coloring the shadows and highlights, you need to color the bottom of the tail darker than the top of the tail.  You can create a gradient effect by pressing down with your pencil harder on the bottom part and gradually letting of the pressure as you go up.

You can use your white colored pencil to blend and add highlight.

Blue Jay Part 2


Step 3

Now it’s time to color in all the dark areas.

Be very careful when coloring in the eye.  If you accidentally color over where the highlight is supposed to be, then it can ruin the look of the entire bird.

Tip: Sharpen your pencil before you color in the eye to prevent accidentally drawing over the highlight.

Next we are moving on to the area to the left and right of the eye.  Be sure and leave the correct parts of the head white.  Use the picture below for a reference on where to add the dark areas.

Color the areas on the wing and tail black.

Blue Jay Part 3


Step 4

Now it’s time to add the finishing touches to the bird itself.

On the black color and the area behind the eye, you can create a feathery look by drawing little points like I did coming from the left and bottom parts of the black area.

Color the beak black and go over it with a white where the light hits it.  Add a little seed or piece of food between the upper and lower parts of the beak.

Look at the picture below and look how I added shadow below the beak.  Use delicate strokes with your black pencil, and make sure your strokes go in the direction that the feathers go.

Now we are going to finish up the wing.  From left to right color a gradient of white to dark blue.  This adds the highlight of the wing to continue with the 3D effect and making the Blue Jay look as lifelike as possible.

Blue Jay Part 4


Step 5

Now it’s time to put the finishing touches on the entire drawing.

Draw the feet of the Blue Jay black with a white layer on top.

Now it’s time to color the branch.

Get your brown, black, and white.  Color the edges black to show that the branch curves around.  You don’t really want the branch to look smooth so don’t worry about blending all of it.  You want the rough branch to contrast with the smooth Blue Jay.

Color brown streaks in between the black edges.

The last thing you need to do is add your signature and then you will be done!

Blue Jay Part 5


There you go!

Feel free to post your Blue Jay drawings or any other bird art on our Facebook page!

If you liked this tutorial, then be sure to comment and check out our tutorials on drawing an Eastern Bluebird and Northern Cardinal.


About Sam Brunson
Sam Brunson is one of the two co-founders of Two Birders and Binoculars. He lives in Savannah, Georgia and loves birding in the coastal area where he lives. He will be entering his senior year of high school in the fall of 2013. Besides birding, Sam enjoys many hobbies such as playing tennis and reading.

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