About Matthew Dodder

I've been an avid birder since 1977. After years of thinking about it, I finally began to sketch the birds I see from life. Progress has been slow, but very rewarding, and I think the exercise has improved my observation skills.

Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler portrait is off to a good start. I liked the first sketch I made, so I simply began the coloring process. The paper is pale tan, which I guess is appropriate. I still have to blend the colors, add legs, branch and dead leaf…


Worm-eating Warbler


Very quick memory sketch of today’s Reichmuth Park Worm-eating Warbler, done in the hotel with a hotel pen on hotel paper. Not my best work… but helps me remember. Not visible is my comment about pink legs. I look forward to doing a proper portrait when I get home.

Vermilion Flycatcher 2


Vermilion Flycatcher portrait in progress. At this stage it looks very rough and sloppy, but it serves an important function—the laying in of background color. With any luck, the coarse paper texture will be smoothed with blending and additional details. But then again, I never know for sure… until Cricket sees it and says it’s done.

Cattle Egret 3


Cattle Egret on toned paper…. just finding my way. This is a new technique for me, and I didn’t make much use of the paper’s own color, which are traditionally used for mid-tones. But this is the first time I’ve tried this, so there you have it.