• Amy Zorn

An 'Irruption' of owls


An unusual number of Saw Whet Owls have descended upon New York City, apparently due to a lack of food up north. This mass shift in their normal migration pattern is called an "irruption," and is caused by a lack of food in their normal habitat. I haven't been to the city recently and so I haven't seen these guys in person, so to speak, but apparently they are quite small - about the size of a robin. I headed over to Instagram to see pictures of them after I heard a story on the news about this phenomenon, and that is where I found the inspiration to draw them.

I decided to try out my new rough texture newsprint pad. This is probably the cheapest paper you can buy (well, smooth texture newsprint is a little cheaper) but it worked really well with charcoal and pastels. To capture their beautiful greenish/yellowish eyes I used a crayola crayon (far right - I was drawing in a public library and didn't have any such color with me, but the librarian had crayons), colored pencils (far left- drawing in a preschool classroom, this was all I could find), and finally pencil pastel (center - I came prepared with my own colors this time!).

For the drawing in the center I burnished the paper with compressed charcoal before starting the drawing and then added a lot of the details with an eraser. I added some text for interest in two of the drawings. I drew all of these owls on my lunch break. It relaxes me to make some art mid-day and it makes me happy when I like how something comes out. Win-win!

If you want to read more about the Saw Whet Owls, try this link:

And if you want to look more closely at my drawings, here they are, full-sized:


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amyzornart@gmail.com Maplewood NJ 973-464-6558
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© 2020 Amy Zorn