An Owl Drawing Demonstration and an Ask for Some Wise Input from the Cancer Community


Being a creative, I learned to solve many of the problems that life threw my way. But being artistically gifted was worthless for dealing with the stark realities of my wife’s cancer.

After much consideration and several false starts, I thought maybe a Great Horned Owl would be appropriate for this Sketch Break.

I chose a Great Horned Owl partly because owls represent wisdom and partly because I live next to a desert preserve and often see Great Horned Owls around the neighborhood and occasionally in my backyard. And their hoots are always a welcomed distraction on a restless night.

But as I was trying to figure out what my next Sketch Break activity would be, it reminded me of feeling inadequate as a caregiver for my late wife as she struggled with her cancer diagnosis and treatment. I’m sure countless other cancer caregivers can relate to the feeling of helplessness.

As a contributor to CURE, I truly want to be helpful and I’m trying my best to use my artistic talent to try help others here find a temporary respite from the awfulness of cancer. But in the face of something like cancer, something that can be so horrible, life-changing and unpredictable, my efforts can feel like an empty gesture.

I was a full-time freelance artist and illustrator for children’s books, magazines and a whole lot more for almost 40 years. Being a creative, I learned to solve many of the problems that life threw my way by using my creative skills and imagination. But being artistically gifted was pretty worthless for dealing with the stark realities of my wife’s stage 4 triple-negative breast cancer.

So now here I am. I can draw just about anything. But I could really use the input of the cancer community here to help me out. When this article posts on CURE’s Facebook page, please leave a comment and let me and the editors know what you would like me to show you how to sketch. Thanks!

More drawing activities from Mark:


Today let’s draw an owl.

To get started, all you need is a pencil, any type of eraserand a piece of paper.

Like all my sketches, I will be using some basic shapes to form a framework for the artwork.

Start with a large oval for the owl’s head. Draw lightly. That makes it easy to erase any unwanted lines later.

Next, add two triangles for “ear” tuffs. And a third triangle for a beak.

Then, draw two circles for the eyes and two circles inside the circles for the pupils. A wide “V” above the eyes completes the face.

Next, add a large square for the owl’s body and two half-ovals on the side of the square for wings.

Below the square add two lines for a branch.

Now, add six small rectangles for the owl’s talons at the bottom of the square.

Then add three or four larger rectangles for the tail.

Now, darken the outline.

Then go back and erase any unwanted lines

Finally, add in details — an eye, lines for feathers, and shading. Maybe add a leaf or two to the branch.

And, if you have some around, grab some colored pencils and/or watercolors and add a splash of color.

Get creative. Remember, there is no wrong way to create art.

Until our next creative break, take care.

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