Most of my wildlife paintings and drawings come from real-life scenes I’ve photographed. I usually make a quick sketch or a more developed one before I incorporate it into a painting. I also study the birds and wildlife and get more information online about their living habits and behaviors.
I try to get photos that cover a particular animals seasonal colors, feathers or fur. It adds to the realism. If you’re going to feature a heron or egret in spring, then you’d better add the extra feathers and plumes of the mating season. In fall and winter, backdrops would be more drab, the plumage or fur more ordinary.