Hornbills and a BIG Pigeon at the Bronx Zoo

Warning: You are probably going to get very sick of teal and turquoise by the time I finish this sketchbook! I have fallen in love with a new ink: Private Reserve Blue Suede. I prepared some acrylic backgrounds and borders specifically to use a few new inks that interest me greatly. The writing in this image was done using my new bottle of Blue Suede. I love it.

To get to this section of World of Birds, you have to actually go outside and back in again. Unlike the area when you first enter the building, where the birds are behind glass, in this zone they are free to fly all around you. When I arrived there, my friend Bernard was already seated and admiring the birds while having his lunch. I set up and started sketching just as one of the Long-tailed Hornbills flew over to Bernard and sat on the railing in front of him, looking longingly at his sandwich. He pulled off a piece, which the Hornbill gratefully accepted and took to a tree limb. Clearly this was not the first time this bird shared lunch with a visitor, because in another minute he went back for more. He had the routine down pat.

Getting back to the sketching part of this trip, I was again fighting with the watercolor due to having put too much acrylic down on the paper. So I pulled out my Pentel Pocket Brush pen to sketch the Hornbills. My those things come in handy! They seem to write on anything, and stay there too! My plan was to do the bird's big white crown with one of those white Sharpie paint pens, but that leaked and made a big mess. Foiled again. I ended up finishing it up with white gouache that I keep in with my little watercolor kit. The gouache did a lot better on the acrylic than transparent watercolor, so I pulled out my tiny gouache kit and used that in conjunction with my mini watercolor kit for the rest of the day. People wonder why I always have so many different options with me. This is why!

Surprisingly, there were no exhibit notes nor identifying information on the hornbill in the middle of this sketch. I looked online after I got home, and it is clearly a hornbill, but even after viewing hundreds of images, I couldn't find one with the yellow around the eye that these guys had. There were at least three or four of them in the exhibit.

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is the largest member of the pigeon family. She had beautiful muted coloring and never strayed from her nest while I was there.


  1. My Blue Suede ink arrived today and I am having a wonderful time playing with it --- thanks for the inspiration

  2. You're so welcome! I'm glad you're enjoying it. I'm about to put up a review of Blue Suede along with a sketch I did with it....Stay tuned!