This past weekend I was lucky enough to see a group of Gambel’s quail, who are native to my area but rare to actually spot. They inspired me to revisit drawing quail, because it’s been a while. And drawing adult quail naturally turned into drawing baby quail chicks, so I thought I’d put together this tutorial for drawing quail chicks to share all of the information that I learned.
If you haven’t read my tutorial for drawing birds, head on over to check that out, as well!
The first way that drawing chicks differs from drawing adult birds is that chicks can be drawn from circles and ovals. Drawing the skeletal structure underneath is not necessary. The chick’s body is an oval twice the size of their head, which is a circle. The circle and the oval should overlap a little bit. I’ll be drawing two chicks in this tutorial, once sitting down (left) and one standing (right).
Chicks’ legs are pretty long. They should be spaced about a head’s width apart. Quails have three toes, with the middle toe being longer than the other two, which are the same length.
Quail chicks’ beaks are small. They are pointed, not hooked, and are positioned just below center of their head. A side profile beak will look like a triangle, while a front-facing view will appear more like a boomerang shape. This boomerang shape holds true for any type of shape beak (not bills) which are not hooked.
Their eyes are level with the top of the beak and positioned just slightly forward of center. In the front-facing view, both eyes are visible and not on the side of the head.
Quail chicks have oval wings. On both the side and front view, use very soft, rounded shapes for their wings. At this age, flight feathers have not grown yet; their wings are still covered in down. Therefore, the structure is not so defined.
Gambel’s quail chicks have very distinct patterns. I have demonstrated this pattern by blocking out the dark patches of feathers, though the separation between dark and light feathers is not so stark in real life. This pattern is mirrored on both sides of their body. The chest and stomach of the quail chick is light, without a pattern.
And finally, one of the very cutest features of baby quail, the mohawk. At least, that’s what I call it. They have a littly tuft of feathers on the top of their head (which will turn into their plume as an adult). This little tuft of feathers is only on the dark part of the feathers on their head.
Thank you for taking the time to read (and maybe draw along? Let us know if you made your own picture today!).
This video right here, as a last treat, was very important in my research for this tutorial (read: it’s really cute and I recommend you check it out).
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