Thank you everyone who gave their input about my chicken vs. chickadee dilemma. Some very good arguments for chickadee convinced me to keep my feet firmly in that camp, so chickens will have to see their day in another book.
I find that it's most efficient to work on several pieces at once, so in the next few days, I'll update you with progress shots on three birds: dodo, egret and hummingbird.
I've made a dodo twice before--once for a commission and the other time for my playing card deck. This time I'm bumping up the scale, so I needed a little more detail in the form than before.
Building the beak was the biggest challenge.
But not impossible.
Since it's been extinct for centuries, what's knows about the shape and colorings of the dodo derive from paintings and writing. It has been depicted with brownish-grey plumage, yellow feet, a tuft of tail feathers, a grey, naked head, and a black, yellow, and green beak. I am going with an amalgamation of the illustrations by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, which had tealy blue and creamy white tail and wing feathers, and the beautiful 1905 painting by Frederick William Frohawk seen at the top left of the above photo.
I should make great progress on the detail painting today, so I'll return with photos of the finished piece, and lead you through what's happening with the egret and hummingbird as well.