Realistic Eagle Owl – Mixed Media

by Wendi OBrien


Watch as I complete this Realistic Eagle Owl in Pan Pastels and Colored Pencil.

This started out as a challenge given to me by a subscriber which I surprised him by sending it to him.

Watch the video to learn more about how this came about and the struggles I went through to complete it.



Pan Pastels

Sofft Tools

Luminance Colored Pencils

Polychromos Colored Pencils

Masking Film

Pencil Sharpener

Facing Challenges

Today’s artwork actually started out as a challenge.  More on that in a moment….I first created a line drawing of the owl from the reference photo provided.  Once transferred, I then cut out masking film to cover or protect, if you will, the owl from the pan pastel background.


I began filling in the background creating the foliage and sky with pan pastels using the sofft tools and sponges.  I tried different shapes of the sofft tools but ultimately decided that I was getting the texture and appearance I wanted using the rectangle shaped tool.

The Challenge

So let me give you a bit of a backstory on how this piece came about.  Chrissy from Xrissart and I were co streaming and one of our subscribers and friend showed us a picture he took and challenged us to complete it.  He told us what medium he wanted us to complete it in.

Though, I wasn’t able to take on the challenge right away, it remained in the back of my mind and finally an opportunity arose.  After completing this piece, I surprised him by sending the finished artwork to his home. 

He was unaware that I had been working on it, much less completed it until it arrived on his door step.  Sometimes, it is just nice to surprise someone with something so unexpected.

Once I was happy with the background it was then time to take the masking film off and begin on the owl.

Beginning the Owl

I chose to use colored pencil.  Besides the fact that he requested me to completed my version in colored pencils, I also love the contrast of finish between the pastel and colored pencil and feel that using those two together really makes the subject pop. 

The Struggle is Real

So interesting story on these wings.  I pulled out the colors as I always do and was really struggling to get the colors correct on these wings.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on.  I was blending more colors than I thought I should when I chose the colors and the list goes on. 

Well come to find out…after the piece was done and I was cleaning up…I was missing a few pencils that I never took out of the pencil holder.  I could have kicked myself. 

Would have saved much time and frustration.  So take it from me, if it seems like it is more work than it should be when you chose your colors…double check to make sure you have ALL of the pencils you chose.  Trust me it will save A LOT of frustration and heartache.

Has anything like this happened to you?  Let me know in the comments below.  I am sure one or more of us can totally relate.

Anyway….so I layered the pencils trying to stay focused and to get the appearance I wanted. Considering the previously explained issue, trying to reach that transparency and layered effect part of the feathers was…. well let’s just say….a challenge. 

Final Thoughts

All in all, it did turn out well, but wow what a ride it was.  Funny how the viewer just sees the finished artwork, but we as the artist feel every painful struggle, blood, sweat and tears that went in that piece.

Until next time…keep on arting!

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