Mother Hen

Mother hen

Towards the end of last year I was asked to do a chicken themed commission, and, while I felt up to the task, I’ve never really drawn chickens before. In preparation for this illustration, I spent quite a while sketching chickens from reference photos. I first wanted to figure out how to draw a chicken that looked like a chicken (because my initial attempts looked more like short-necked geese than chickens), and once I figured that out, I needed to figure out how to give a chicken personality. This piece came out of the ‘attempting-to-give-a-chicken-a-personality’ phase. This image popped into my head while I was thinking about the tender, nurturing aspect of a mother hen:

It took quite a lot of erasing and revising to arrive at this sketched image, but I think it now reads like a real animal with personality. When I think of hens, my first mental impression is the classic red comb and white feathers image, but now that the city of Nashville is allowing residents to keep chickens in their yards, many of my friends have been posting images of their chickens on Facebook and I’m now aware of the wide variety of feather colors and patterns that chickens display and decided to use a more interesting coloring and pattern for this hen. I’m very pleased with the final results.