How did I come up with the idea of drawing with a woodcock feather?

It was while visiting a museum where it was mentioned that woodcock feathers were used in the Middle Ages by illuminators to illustrate books that I became interested in this technique. Like many people, I was not familiar with the painter's feather.
At the time, I had a German Pointer with a fine pedigree. One of my neighbors had a bitch and wanted to have a litter to continue his line. I didn't want him to pay me for the breeding, but as he was a woodcock hunter, I asked him for a few feathers in exchange. Then a customer, also a woodcock hunter, offered me some.
That's how I was able to start testing and perfecting my own drawing technique.
It's a demanding technique, because each feather is "alive", and not only do you have to adapt to the medium, but also to the feather itself. Over the years, I've acquired a real know-how that today enables me to make unique creations.

Are the drawings really done entirely with woodcock feathers?

Yes, my pen-and-ink drawings are entirely pen-and-ink. Nothing is done with a brush. It's not just the finishing touches that are done with a pen, but the whole drawing, from beginning to end. Even the small text "Drawing entirely done with the painter's pen" and my signature are written in pen.

To see for yourself, you can watch some videos HERE.

or visit my YOU TUBE  chanel to see more.

Unique technique or not?

This technique is quite unique. I'm the only one in France, and perhaps even in Europe, to produce drawings entirely with woodcock feathers.

I developed my own technique for working with woodcock feather. It took me a long time to develop this unique know-how. I had to do a lot of tests to find out which dosages were the right ones.

The only thing I can tell you is that the feather doesn't tolerate chemicals at all. It releases its full potential only with natural ingredients.

That's why, when you buy one of my pen drawings, you're buying a unique piece.

Do I buy woodcock feathers ?


What I sell are my drawings and my know-how. The feather is just the tool (like a paintbrush) I use to make them.
All the feathers I use are gifts.

As a reminder: the ONCFS specifies that "the decree of November 25 1977 prohibits the peddling, offering for sale, sale or purchase, whether alive or dead, of specimens - woodcock (Scolopax rusticola)" and that the woodcock is not included in "the list of birds that may be traded (...) provided for in the ministerial decree of December 20 1983".

Where do the woodcock feathers I use come from?

The woodcock feathers I use are supplied to me by my customers who commission me to draw a drawing of their dog. As I never know in advance how many feathers I'll need, my customers always provide me with a few more than I need.
And sometimes, I'm surprised to find an envelope containing feathers in my letterbox, sent by someone who discovered my work on the web and wants to give me a gift of feathers.

How many feathers do you need to make a drawing?

It varies a lot. For small formats, I need just one. For larger formats, I sometimes need just one.
But in most cases, I need several feathers.
It depends on several factors:

- feathers :
they don't absorb pigments in the same way,
which don't react in the same way if they come from the left or right wing. A brush of the same make and size will always behave in the same way, whereas a feather will be different from another feather.
which all have different shapes and sizes.
- paper: depending on the paper used, the feathers will react differently.

- pigments: I do my own "cooking" to be able to draw with feathers, and like any recipe, there may be slight variations that mean feathers won't react in the same way.

- format: in principle, you'd think that the larger the format, the more feathers I'd need. But this is not the case. As you can see, every design is different, every creation unique. For some drawings of the same format, I need a dozen or more feathers, whereas for the same format, I only need one!

- The subject: This is also one of the keys to the number of nibs used. Depending on the number of layers required, I'll need more or fewer feathers.

How long does it take to create a drawing?

As you read in the previous question, there are many factors involved.
Some nibs only allow me to do a few cm2, while others can be used for longer and allow me to do a larger surface area.

It takes me dozens, if not over a hundred hours to complete a drawing with a woodcock feather.
Time runs out....that's all!

During this time, I'm in my own bubble (a bit like the illuminators of old). I concentrate on my task. I protect any surface I'm not working on, because if I inadvertently make a stain, well, that's it. I have to start all over again. Working with a woodcock feather leaves no room for error.

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