I'm usually pretty down on my 2-D art skills because my sister, by comparison, is SO amazing, but I still like to doodle and sketch a bit from time to time.
And so I found myself one night, shirking the responsibilities of my scheduled time slot for working on other things that needed to be done, instead compelled to sketch a phoenix. I had no references and was so pleased with it that I decided to develop the piece further for an Amtgard competition this weekend.
I used a light box (an overhead projector, to be honest) to trace the major outlines in ink to watercolor paper, including the body, tail, and primary wing tips/long feathers. I used a ruler to fill in the rest of the long wing feathers and then watercolor pencils to line and shade the bird. Then I had the task of filling all the rest of the blank space on the page. Again using watercolor pencils, I gave the bird a glow and an ashen background. I then took a wet paintbrush to each section to blend and smooth the colors, finding this paper MUCH better suited than the card stock on the Egyptian. Duh, Moniqa.
I added more black pencil to the dry paper for contrast and used a pen to finally draw in the inner body feathers/flames and a few outside details. I was lucky enough to find a frame and mat at Goodwill in the colors and size I wanted and will add that photo once I get it.