How to Draw a Red-capped Manakin

The adorable red-capped manakin, also called ceratopipra mentalis, mostly eat fruits. Red-capped manakins are sheltered within the ranges of Mexico, and to the rain forests of Ecuador. Females are could grow relatively larger than males. Aside from the silky black coat and, as the name suggests, a red head, there are those who also have portions of yellow feathers covering the thighs and a small patch under the  chin. There are also those with faint stripes of white on their wings.

Now, let's draw a red-capped manakin.

  • Begin by establishing the size of the body and the head.

Draw an oval to convey the size of the bird’s body. once the size of the body is defined, add half of a sphere to represent the head. make a cross reference mark on the head to establish the direction where the head should be facing.

  • Draw the wings and the facial features of the bird.

The beak is basically triangular shape with a slope the connects to the head while the other half sticks out. The upper half of the beak should be positions right on the upper half of the cross reference line’s very center. The eye which is exposed is just horizontally aligned to it.

The wings are basically a half of an oval, overlapping more than half of the body. due to the angle, you only need to draw one, while only a small portion of the other wing could be seen. Add the feet of the bird with simple lines for now.

  • Establish the layers of the wings and the thickness of the legs.

The wings of a red-capped manakin is covered with two feather textures; the ones which are visually definitive  feather shaped and a thick layer of fur-like strands which also covers the rest of the body. the furry texture covers the upper portion of the wings which connects to the body.

To easily place the feathers of the wings, make three curved reference lines in rows.  The first lines which represents the furry feathers should slope inwards, overlapping the second reference line which represents the coverts. Make a bunch of slanted lines on the last row to represent the layer of primary and secondary wing feathers. Define the thickness of the legs. 

  • Draw the feathers and add texture to the main outlines.

Follow to the reference line you have made to easily draw the rowed layers of feathers. Replace the main outlines of the figure with slightly jagged lines to portray a feathery texture.

  • Erase the sketch marks and other unnecessary markings.

prepare the drawing for inking. If you are already confident with your main outlines, you can already proceed to the next step. If not, just do this step first by redefining the outlines with finer line strokes. Clean up the drawing by erasing all the unnecessary markings such as the reference marks and the base forms. You should only be left with the main outlines. this is the final stage which you can make any adjustments that you need. Apply a few short thin lines on the back to portray  the texture.

  • Re-do the main outline using permanent line marks.

Carefully retrace the main outlines with a pen or any fine-point permanent marker. The lines should be smooth and clean. Now you can proceed to coloring.

  • Apply the base color of the body.

Excluding the head, carefully fill up the body with a very deep gray tone (dim gray).

  • Apply the base color of the head.

For the head, use the very basic red color.

With the two base colors in place, you will use different tones or grades on each of them to convey the dimensions and texture of the bird. At this point, you will only use very light hand strokes as you color over the base colors.

  • Add a darker tone to the head.

Use a slightly darker shade of red, which could be a crimson red or firebrick red,  to portray the texture of the head. Apply very light strokes coming from the beak and curving outwards. Add a few short strokes to the back of the head as well in a same manner.

  • Add a darker tone to the body.

To depict the shadows cast by the overlapping portions of the feathers and the soft texture of the body, you will use a darker tone that is darker than dim gray which is already dark. In this case, you will need something like charcoal gray (also called charcoal black) which is a bit duller and subtly brighter than an ordinary black tone.

  • Color the smaller portions.

The legs of a red-capped manakin is basically wood brown with taints of cedar brown, while the beak could be a pale peanut brown or grayish brown.

  • Apply the darkest tone of the red area.

Create more depth to the dimensions of the figure by adding another darker tone of red (on the head), with multiple thin line strokes coming from the beak but not reaching the forehead nor the cheek.

  • Elaborate the texture by adding the darkest tones of the body and a few line strokes of a brighter tone.

Lastly, use black to darken the areas that should appear darker, such as the cast shadows under the wing and under the beak. 

Add a few very thin strokes of cool gray or bluish gray on the edges of the few wing feathers, and also make some short fur lines at the back. And you’re done drawing a red-capped manakin.

More examples for drawing birds of different kinds are available in the book "How to Draw Birds for Kids" . 


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