Reference material with sketch.
Now I'm in research mode, trying to get a feel for my subject. In this case, it's an extinct (or very nearly extinct) species, the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, which makes for a good challenge. I've been pouring over bird books and museum websites, trying to absorb as much information on Ivories as possible. It's too bad that I just can't skip down to the Denver zoo and sketch one of these birds in person. They were (are?) quite large and strangely beautiful, the largest of their kind in North America; it's tragic that their habitat got wiped out in the last century and they couldn't adapt quickly enough to survive. Now all I can do is study their smaller/differently marked cousins (pileated woodpeckers), as well as blurred photos and old Audubon etchings.