Bowerbirds Gatherings

Hello S&H readers, here’s a little bit about my process and the work behind my piece ‘Bowerbirds Gatherings‘, for the new kickstarter project.

So first off the bat I had a little doodle in my sketchbook, with a project like this it’s great because I had pretty much free reign of what I could do. Here are a few of the initial ideas I had for it:


My first idea was the one we ended up going with. It’s of a Satin Bower Bird which is a type of bird that collects beautiful things to decorate it’s nest with. In most cases these found objects are bright blue. It collects things like clothes pegs, bottle tops, sweet wrappers and that kind of thing but I thought in this case it would be cool to make him/her a collector of all things S&H! So we have some of the S&H posters around the nest.

My second idea was a little bit more abstract and gruesome, a sort of collage of hearts made up to look like a skull. I quite like drawing ‘organic’ shapes and I think I would’ve had quite a bit of fun doing this one. I would’ve liked to have caked it in blood too. 


Bit of a self deprecating image but just a kind of pack of rats gnawing away at a grotty old skull and a half eaten heart. Maybe they would’ve been covered in blood and starting eating each other too? What’s wrong with me?


Anyway, after we had decided on an idea then I got down to some real drawing. I get a few references together from the world wide web and start getting together how the final image would look. I knew this was going to be all black and white so the drawing would have to be half decent at least because I couldn’t rely on any colour or photoshop magic to cover up the terribleness. I wanted the posters around the nest to be recognisable too so I spent a while trying to get them looking the way I wanted. I’ve always enjoyed drawing grass and that sort of thing so that was A-ok for me. Above is what I would call a typical rough I would send to clients. I work on bristol board and use a Pentel 0.5mm mechanical pencil. I bought a fancy metal graphgear1000 pencil recently but it’s too heavy and hurts my wrist.


Bowerbirds Gathering – Tim Mcdonagh

So after getting the roughs approved and everyone feeling happy I go ahead and ink over the top of my pencils. I use a size 0 Series 7 Windsor & Newton brush and Higgins Black Magic ink for most of my work. Sometimes I’ll work into bits with micron pens but I think in this instance it was entirely brush work. I was pretty happy with how the final turned out and although it’s black and white would love to see what it would look like coloured up. Maybe one day i’ll have a look.


Make sure to check out Tims website and also pick up Bowerbirds Gathering as reward on our kickstarter!