Birds: Feathered & Unfeathered

Observational drawing of a range of species at first hand, talks and demonstrations about bird biology and art


Duration of course: 2 day course spanning one weekend.


Inclusive dates: 4, 5th October2014

Times: 10am-4pm

Price: £80

Entry Level: 16yrs+ - All levels welcome.

Venue: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

For further information please email:


About this course

The emphasis of the course will be on observational drawing; gathering fast, accurate, visual information about living birds drawn in situ in the zoo. In addition, you’ll have the chance to learn about the birds’ internal anatomy and how this affects their external appearance and behaviour, study and draw the skeletons of a range of species at first hand, and attend talks and demonstrations about bird biology and bird art.

Both the anatomical and ‘field’ drawing elements will be included each day.

Outcome of this course:

It’s not about producing a single finished masterpiece by the end. It’s not about free expression, or using your imagination. The really important end products will be sharp observation, improved hand/eye co-ordination, self-confidence, speed of drawing, and, oh yes – you’ll learn a lot about birds, too. Inside and out.

The knowledge you gain will influence all your subsequent art – whether two or three dimensional - making your subjects solid-looking and more life-like.

Students should bring with them the willingness to work hard, a serious, self-critical attitude and lots of enthusiasm. No other skills are necessary, and the course is suitable for all levels of ability.

Tutor Profile: Katrina van Grouw

Katrina van Grouw’s background is proof that art and science really do mix. Although trained in the arts – with a Fine Art degree and an MA in Natural History Illustration from the Royal College of Art – she has worked as a curator of the Ornithology collections at The Natural History Museum, is a taxidermist, a qualified bird ringer, and the author and illustrator of the best-selling science/art book The Unfeathered Bird.

A firm believer in using knowledge and observation as a foundation on which more expressive art can build, Katrina has not only made an in-depth study of bird anatomy, but has produced copious field drawings on expeditions worldwide, as well as in a zoo setting. She has also written a book on the history of birds in art.


Price includes

·         zoo entry; art / science tuition; access to anatomical specimens;  talks and demonstrations.

·         A limited range of art materials will be provided, along with drawing boards, easels and chairs. However, students are encouraged to bring the materials they feel comfortable using.

·         end of course discussion and display of work

·         tea & coffee

Concessions - 10% discount for ZSL Members, registered students, persons on income support or senior citizens

Spaces are limited and must be booked in advance; a confirmed place is only secured upon receipt of a completed booking and payment.

For more details please email

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