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William L. Callahan School Library: Grade 3 - Charley Harper Birds

Learn About Charley Harper | Charley Harper PrintsImage result for charley harper bird imagesImage result for charley harper bird imagesImage result for charley harper bird images


Charley Harper (1922-2007). Harper is best known for his highly stylized nature drawings, full of elegant geometry and bold portions of color that capture the remarkable personalities of so many feathered friends. When asked to describe his visual style, Charley responded:

When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures.

In the 1950’s Harper gained acclaim as a commercial illustrator with “The Golden Book of Biology” and “Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two cookbook.” Over the ensuing two decades he contributed to the Ford Motor Company’s magazine, Ford Times. The response to this work was so positive, it led to his silkscreen print business reproducing those images. Charley’s paintings have appeared in nature-oriented magazines and on posters for many conservation-minded organizations, among them the National Park Service, Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati Nature Center, Hamilton County (Ohio) Park District, the Michigan Audubon Society, and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania. Besides “The Golden Book of Biology” he has illustrated “The Animal Kingdom”, Birds & Words”; and “Beguiled by the Wild; The Art of Charley Harper.”

Below you will find some directions for drawing simple birds.  You do not have to draw them in exactly the same way or even have them stacked upon each other.  Simply use these directions as a starting off point. You can use whatever materials you have access to.  


how to draw simple birds