Pelican as Firebird

It’s no secret that I enjoy drawing animals. And drawing animals with pastels has been something I’ve always loved doing. But several years ago I got bored with it. How could I zazz it up? What could I do to spice up the animals+pastels combo? I’m sure other visual artists or illustrators or pastelators (I’m sure that’s a word, shush) might have tried a different medium, or maybe a different subject, or whatever.

Pelican as Firebird, by Ravenari / Pia Van Ravestein

I decided I might try setting my animals on fire. I’ve always had a passion for the mythologies that surround the phoenix, firebird and other variations of ‘bird on fire but strangely not dead yet.’

Rather than a typical ‘phoenix,’ I started my ‘firebirds series.’ Of which Duck, Black Swan, Pelican and Lyrebird are members (though I’d like to redo Black Swan).

Pelican as Firebird was done with pastels and carbothellos on a dark blue Mi Tientes standard sheet. This was before I’d discovered Schmincke’s, so I was using the still-wonderful Winsor & Newtons.

I often amuse myself wondering what birds I can next set on fire. On my mental list coming up, is black cockatoo, white eagle and fairy wren. Though I’m not quite sure how I’ll make the latter work. Maybe a fairy wren orgy? They are, after all, highly promiscuous birds. Even by the standards of the animal kingdom.