Learn to Draw Birds with Illustrator Matt Sewell

Artist and ornithologist Matt hosted LIVE draw-alongs specially for Seasalt Friends this spring. Find out more about him and watch his recorded classes here

Illustrator and author Matt Sewell has got people around the UK spotting and jotting the birds in their gardens throughout the lockdown, by hosting fun and accessible draw-alongs online.

Since we’ve also been doing all we can to fill your days with creativity, we were so excited when Matt agreed to lead two live Instagram art classes for Seasalt Friends. Here are the recordings:

What you will need:

• A4 paper
• Pencils to outline
• Watercolour paints

Our Chat with Matt:

Nice to meet you Matt – tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hiya! I’m an artist an author based in Shropshire with my wife, two girls and a border terrier. I do all kinds of artwork from painting massive murals to working on small watercolour illustrations of birds. The latter being probably what I am known for most as I have managed to express my love for birds through a series of bird books, the first being Our Garden Birds nearly 10 years ago and the latest being the Atlas Of Amazing Birds released last year.

How did you come to be an illustrator?

I fell into it a few years after I left college when I realised magazines would pay me money for my pictures, I originally wanted to be an animator but I didn’t really have the mindset to sit still for so long.

What do you love about drawing birds?

I have always loved birds and been a birder for as long as I can remember and I’ve loved drawing for as long as I can remember too. Birds have always featured in my artwork, just as little characters looking cute in the background. But it wasn’t till after a year off, travelling with my wife Jess that it really struck me how much I genuinely loved birds, so I vowed that when I returned, I would concentrate my work towards them. I started off making wooden birds and painting murals for the RSPB, then after contributing small paintings and descriptions of my favourite birds for a column for the website Caught By The River I got the opportunity to make a book and it snow balled even greater from there.

How did you learn your craft?

Everything is self-taught. I’ve always loved experimenting with different mediums. It’s funny but sometimes I realise I’m using a similar technique that I would use with a spray can later with a watercolour painting – everything feeds into each other, it’s just a matter of keeping going and not being put off to easily.

What is your favourite bird to draw?

Hands down a blue tit, they have become my signature almost. I’ve drawn thousands!

Any tips for someone wanting to become an illustrator?

Draw, draw, draw. Draw again and keep drawing!

Find lots more of Matt’s work at Mattsewell.co.uk.

Seasalt Arts Club