My brain is still on retro toys, so for today’s Draw a Bird Day (started by the wonderful Laura at Create Art Everyday and now hosted by the awesome Kerfe and Nina over at Method Two Madness) we have a little plush version of Big Bird from Sesame Street. Rather unconventional entry, but he was one of my favorite characters when I was little. If anyone is wondering what kind of bird this is, let’s just say he’s a flightless eight-foot two-inch (249 cm) bright yellow talking bird of much-debated species.

I’ve always been fascinated when something gigantic like Big Bird is shrunk into a miniature form. From animal figurines to action figures, I loved anything made pocket-sized. Perhaps it was just how cute things got when scaled down this way, or perhaps it was because I could get more than one, without having to choose, for the same amount of my mother’s money. Either way, little big Big Bird was just really cool.

When I was a kid, I also like Big Bird’s best friend, Snuffleupagus, a large, hairy creature that looked like a woolly mammoth without the tusks. Back then, he was deemed Big Bird’s “imaginary” friend because adults couldn’t see him or he’d disappear before they showed up, which was super fun! This schtick was killed in the mid 80’s, though, when there was suddenly a concern that kids might not share important things with adults because of this. Which I find ridiculous, as would most kids, but unfortunately kids never get to weigh in on these decisions and they’re usually left to terrified adult brains.

I remember being excited when Big Bird finally got to star in his own big screen movie called, Follow That Bird. This was also the first-ever feature length Sesame Street film. It was a musical, too! My favorite part was when the Slease Brothers capture Big Bird, paint him blue, and put him in their carnival as “The Bluebird of Happiness.” Mostly because of the song he sings, “I’m So Blue,” which is the ‘sad ballad’ and always my favorite in any musical. And although it’s weird to admit it. I can still remember all the words.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Yellow, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Pyrrol Red, Azo Orange, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

63 replies on “Little Big Bird

  1. Great image and great entry. I’d like to watch you put those colors on. I see yellow and blue and black and white all on the big bird’s body. How do you do that? Do you do a wash of yellow over everything and then go back over it with the other colors. I really like how you build up the fur (or, feathers, I suppose). You’ve really captured the awkward weirdness of that very large bird puppet. How do you get that color just under the wing? Sort of a grey and Yellow and black. Seems like I should know this already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kirk! I keep forgetting to add the little bit about what colors I used, so I just updated the post. Yes…for this I did a wash of yellow first over most of the bird…save some highlights for sparkle and dimension and the eyes. The legs and feet were a wash of orange first. I used purple and ultramarine blue for the initial shadows. Sometimes a mix of purple and yellow to get the grays in parts and sometimes a wash of Neutral Tint. I use the complimentary color in the shadows so they don’t get too flat. Just using Neutral Tint to darken will do that. I use it because I like high contrast images with lots of depth and can’t get as dark as I liked with colors alone. 😊

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Charlie, thanks very much for the explanation. Big bird stood out as particularly dimensional and I really liked how you did it. Sound like you are pretty patient with your watercolor. All this has to dry before the next wash, right? That’s were I get screwed up. I need to learn to wait. Big life lesson for me, I suppose.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Actually…I’m not patient at all!! Lol I will only let things dry sort of. What I do is work in a circle, so one part is drying and I move to another part, when I get back to an area to add a wash or more detail it’s “mostly dry” and I just go for it. This means I only get about 2 maybe three layers, before I’d have to really wait, so I don’t go any farther than that. I’m sure my colors would be cleaner if I used a hair dryer (which I’m considering getting a small one!) or had more time or patience, but that hasn’t happened yet. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Really great big bird. I too loved that Snufalupagus was imaginary! We took the kids last year to a Beaches Resort. It has a Sesame Street element to it, but my kids are too old, so we didn’t really pay attention to it. But one day there was a parade passing through the pool area and there was Big Bird! Finally got to meet him in my forties. ha ha

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Sesame Street characters. When my son was around 18 months old, we started watching Sesame Street DVDs. After hundreds of hours of the show and the DVD’s, I can’t watch Elmo anymore.. The doodlewash is fantastic..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The treats just keep on coming. I squealed (as butchly as possible) when I saw this, Charlie! I don’t think I ever watched Sesame Street as a child, but my sister had a thing for Elmo. I loved Big Bird!! Your doodlewash is stunning, the yellow… it’s Big Bird yellow! Oh I can’t even speak I’m smiling so much and so overjoyed by this I think I need a lye down <3<3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!! I can totally hear your butch squeal!! Lol thanks so much, Jacob!! I’m glad you liked him. I wanted to play in Draw A Bird day, but just couldn’t get away from my toys. 😊 I still want to get back to baby animals though. Hehe Too much to doodlewash and too little time in a day!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love him! When I first saw the title I assumed it was going to be something like a baby ostrich, and I was prepared to squeal at that too. (May I put in a late vote for a baby ostrich doodlewash?)

        Be it animal, toy, or animal toy, I eagerly await the next edition!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the connect to Draw a Bird Day, a true Charlie moment to turn to Big Bird. You’ve created a very handsome big bird…Big Bird. I love where this month has traveled so far, super upbeat and fun!

    Oh pack your warmies, Monday in MN is going to be cold. I think the high today is 8 degrees today and tomorrow is suppose to be 3 degrees. I guess MN feels it needs to treat you to the true polar vortex…sorry (blah).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cathe!! 💕😃 Glad you liked my little Big Bird! Hehe… And yes!! It’s going to be insanely cold there from what I’ve seen!! I’ve been assured I’ll mainly be in the little hamster tubes you have there, so hopefully it will be okay. 😳😊hehe… too bad we couldn’t meet for coffee! Hope you have safe travels to NYC!


  6. I hate it when the do-gooders start messing with shows because of all the potential harm they might do. I remember guns in ET and Han shooting first and the only people I want to harm are the people who are so concerned I’m damaged by those things. Kids are so much smarter than adults give them credit for. As for Sesame Street, what does it say about me that my favourite character was Oscar? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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