How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven

1. Prelude

Hello everyone and welcome to my article on How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven. In this article, I will talk about how to draw a Crow/Raven in the ukiyo-e japanese art style, in a step by step manner.

Reading this article will take less than 10 minutes.

Please, enjoy your reading and don’t hesitate to comment. If I made any mistake, I will do my best to correct it as quickly as possible.

Summary

  1. Prelude – Yata-garasu – The raven of japanese myth
  2. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven: Crow’s beak
    • Crow’s beak
    • Crow’s torso
    • Crow’s back
    • Crow’s tail
  3. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven: Crow’s wings
  4. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven: Crow’s legs
  5. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven: Crow’s Color
  6. The review is here!

1. Prelude – Yata-garasu – The raven of Japanese myth

The raven is an old symbol of Japanese Shintoism, he is often represented as a 3-Legged Bird, which is named Yatagarasu.
The legend about this bird is that he has led the Emperor Jimmu from Kumano no kuni (Wakayama Prefecture) to Yamato no kuni (Nara Prefecture).

In Shintoism, Yatagarasu appearance is seen as evidence of the will of Heaven or divine intervention in human affairs. It is also referred that Yatagarasu is an incarnation of Taketsunimi no mikoto. The Amaterasu goddess was also said to transform into a Raven as worship of Amaterasu to the exclusion of other kami has been described as “the cult of the sun”.

About raven in japan, mythology:

Yata-Garasu – The Ravens of Japanese Myth

Emperor Jimmu - Mirror of Famous Generals (1880) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi - ukiyo-e
(Yata-garasu guiding the Emperor Jimmu)

2. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven: Crow’s beak

Crow and Cherry Blossoms (1930s) by Imao Keinen - ukiyo-e
(Crow from Crow and Cherry Blossoms (1930s) by Imao Keinen)

A. Crow’s beak

As you can see from this Ukiyo-e, the crow’s beak accounts for more than half of the face.

With this in mind, this time we will proceed with a slightly more realistic way of drawing than this Ukiyo-e.

First draw the head with a gentle curve, then draw the beak forward 1.5 to 2 times longer.

Make sure that the upper part is large and the lower part is small.

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite 1 - beak(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(First step, drawing the Crow’s beak)

B. Crow’s torso

Next is the torso.

Draw gently the chest from the base of the throat, and then add feathers with a brush pen from above.

The way to draw feathers is to make the brush tip lightly touch the paper and draw a small 「し」 character in japanese.

If you draw while conscious of soft lines, the render will be good.

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite2-(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(Next step drawing the Crow’s torso)

C. Crow’s back

For the back part, draw a mountain with twice the width of the chest part and draw feathers with a brush pen in the same way.

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite2bis-(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(Next step drawing the Crow’s back)

D. Crow’s tail

The end of the step is now the tail!

The tail of a crow usually grows right next to it.

American Crow
(American Crow)

Using this as a reference, grow a bunch of tails to draw a low staircase from the end of the back that you just drew. You can adjust the number of bundles as you like.

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite3-(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(Next step drawing the Crow’s tail)

Next, draw the most important wings!

3. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven: Crow’s wings

The quality of the bird’s illustrations depends greatly on whether the wings are true to the real thing.

Ukiyo-e illustrations are no exception.

So here, I will explain the structure of a bird wing that can be understood in about 10 seconds.

It’s confusing to cover the terms of small parts, so remember that bird wings are roughly divided into three parts!

crow-wings
(crow-wings)

In simple terms, the names are given as Alula to P2 → P1 to P-1 → inner wing in the order of hitting the wind from the outside.

The bird’s wings are designed to be housed neatly when they are folded.

crow-wings2
(crow-wings)

Based on this, first draw the innermost three rows of wind cuts (+ side feathers).

Draw a shoulder so that it fits under the mountain on your back, leave some margins, and grow the feathers in a radial pattern.

As before, the wings will end up in an ukiyo-e style if you follow the 「し」 character in Japanese.

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite4-(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(Next step, drawing the Crow’s wings)

In the same way, draw the next row wing’s center → wing’s tail row wind draw in order.

It is enough to draw a few crisp and feathers here.

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite5-(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(Next step, drawing the Crow’s wings part 2)

Actually, the outermost row of the first row extends straight with the pin as shown in the photo of the real crow above.

So there is no problem even if you draw straight as it is, but I did this because it is like Ukiyoe who deformed so much.

Next, I ’ll draw legs to finish the crow.

4. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven: Crow’s legs

crow's leg
(crow’s leg)

As shown in the picture, the leg is divided into a part covered with hair and a hard skin part.

The best position for the left thigh is just below the three-row winds.

Draw thighs in the following form.

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite6-(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(Next step, Crow’s left thigh)

Next, draw the legs of the bare part, starting from the bottom of the thigh, slightly diagonally forward.

Draw three front nails and one rear nail, and add a horizontal stripe pattern appropriately.

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite7-(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(Next step, Crow’s nails)

Draw the right leg in the same way and you are done!

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e BlackandWhite8-(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(Next step, Crow’s nails part 2)

I think that the position of the right leg varies depending on the composition that you draw.

In the case of this illustration, the composition is slightly diagonally behind, so I drew it in a position where I can see the perspective as above.

Crow on a cherry branch by Shoson Ohara - ukiyo-e
(Crow on a cherry branch by Shoson Ohara)

5. How to draw ukiyo-e series – Crow/Raven: Crow’s Color

We will use very simple and plain color for this drawing.

Crow Raven -ukiyo-e Color-(からす) by RedSparkle (11-2019)
(Next step, Crow’s Colors)

6. The review is here!

  • Draw the beak at a larger ratio than the head!
  • Draw the wings in 3 different structures!
  • The leg distinguishes between the part with hair and the part without hair!

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Deligne Mathieu - RedSparkleArt- Author-Painter-ukiyo-e artist- kachoga artist

Deligne Mathieu

Deligne Mathieu is a young artist with the objective to master the art of drawing Ukiyo-e bird and flower (花鳥画 – Kacho-ga).