Sketching Backyard Birds for Beginners

*Covering Common Northern Hemisphere Bird Families*

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Student Testimonial

Over 700 students have enrolled in Sketching Backyard Birds for Beginners since I first launched this comprehensive course in 2019. Here's one student's testimonial:

From field observations to studio projects I utilize Christine's bird sketching techniques almost daily. With a better understanding of bird anatomy, my paintings have become more realistic with clearer details. Additionally, I have learned how to suggest coloration patterns while maintaining accurate markings since I 'know more than I show' thanks to Christine's course.

-Jay Leighton, online student

Sketching Backyard Birds for Beginners

You’ll learn foundational techniques for sketching birds with ease and confidence from the comfort of your own home.

This introductory course will show you how to quickly and easily capture the essence of living birds through your sketches. Whether your local birds are robins, finches, sparrows, warblers, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, or jays, this guide will help you get started sketching them with ease and confidence. You’ll learn basic techniques for creating loose gesture sketches of birds in pencil, including hints for sketching birds from both photographs and from living species in your own backyard!

Does this describe you?

• Do you enjoy watching birds in your backyard or at the park?
• Have you always wanted to try sketching birds in a journal but didn’t know where to start?
• Perhaps you’ve thought to yourself, “I can’t even draw a stick figure.”
• Do fears of insecurity and judgment hold you back from attempting to learn to draw?

This course is perfect if you are:

• An aspiring sketcher who thinks you can’t even draw a straight line.
• A homeschooling parent who wishes to integrate bird studies into your science curriculum.
• An artist who wants to explore a new subject and medium.
• A field biologist who’d like to incorporate sketching into your research notes.

What’s included:

This is an online course that includes:

  • Workshops on all the most common and familiar families of common backyard birds including robins, warblers, cardinals, doves, finches, quail, sparrows, jays, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, chickadees, hawks, owls, and more!
  • Downloadable guides and high-resolution reference photos.
  • Step-by-step video tutorials.
  • Units on bird anatomy, field sketching, and bird biology.


  • Kid’s section with downloadable bird species coloring booklets.
  • Weekly nature sketching tips delivered each Saturday.
  • Tip videos on a variety of nature sketching topics.

Get started now!

Student Testimonial

“Christine is a dynamite teacher, even for slow art learners like me. I’ve taken two bird sketching classes with her – she’s patient, entertaining and knows how to integrate biology with technique.”

—Denise Fainberg, live workshop student

"Christine is a wonderful artist and teacher, who makes sketching detailed birds and all nature subjects easy and fun!"

- Barb Masinton, student


I invite you to check out the curriculum and click on any of the free previews to get a taste of the course content.

Course Curriculum

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Available in days
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact me the first 14 days and we will give you a full refund.

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Student Testimonial

“Christine has a refreshingly welcoming approach to teaching about birds through art that reflects her obvious passion for wildlife and conservation of our natural environment. Whether at her home in Oregon or visiting us deep in the tropics at the Vallarta Botanical Garden, she has a marvelous potential to connect people with birds in a rich and meaningful way.”

—Neil Gerlowski, Vallarta Botanical Garden, Mexico

Your Instructor

Christine Elder
Christine Elder

I’ve been drawing and painting nature all my life and love sharing the joy I experience when I’m in the field with students.

As a former classroom teacher, I know how to lead students in a logical, step by step progression, giving them the knowledge to proceed with skill and confidence.

My advanced degrees in both biology and scientific illustration inform my work and teaching style.

I travel regularly, sketching the flora and fauna I encounter and teaching workshops to both adults and youth in such diverse places as Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, and the United States.

I make my home in central Oregon, on the eastern slope of the volcanic Cascades mountain range, where the pine forests meet the sage steppe.

When not teaching, I enjoy hiking, bird watching and horseback riding.

Questions? Feel free to contact me via email at: [email protected]

My Guarantee

If you’re not completely satisfied, I offer an unconditional 14-day money-back guarantee. However, I do hope that you’ll first complete some of the workshops before you decide that it wasn’t worth the money you paid.

Get started now!