I know birds have been "magically" appearing on my blog, with no explanation on how they got here, so I thought I'd post a rough sketch. I always find a lot of reference for the birds and flowers, and look for photos that are as close to the final positioning I want. Then I do several studies and thumbnails to get the shapes of the birds, and also to figure out the framing. I look at a lot of art nouveau posters for inspiration for the framing. Mostly it's Mucha (because I have Ye Giant Book o' Mucha, "Alphonse Mucha: The Spirit of Art Nouveau"), but I've been finding others to add to my scrap file.
So they're getting a spot more complicated, but I was unhappy with the shocking lack of flowers in the earlier birdies. This sketch is for Eastern Bluebirds and Mexican Primroses...probably a mother's day, birthday, grandma, Easter kind of card.
Next step is to do all the linework in Illustrator, and then paint it in Photoshop. This one might take a long time...:-)