Eagle Head Drawing


Designed as a cane topper, this majestic eagle could easily be enlarged for a full-size carving

By Pat Mikula Moore

Lets begin with drawing a circle for the head, and then add one face guide like so. The eagle's head. Eagle's head Drawing by pzRomashka 3 / 1,133 Flying eagle trailing flames Stock Illustration by buch 5 / 52 distressed eagle head Clipart by earlferguson 8 / 230 Graphical sketch of head predator eagle Clip Art by Larisa13 2 / 569 eagle head tattoo Clipart by lineart 3 / 909 Illustrated set of wild animals and Stock Illustration by ElemenTxD 8 / 325 Eagle symbol Stock Illustration by IgorDudas 1 / 98 Vector Eagle Head Stock Illustrations by createfirst 4 / 673 Eagle Drawings by oorka 32.

Acane head makes a great project for several reasons: it is small enough to hold in your hand; if you make a mistake, you haven’t ruined an entire cane; and it is a great way to practice your techniques before starting a larger project.

When trying to create a realistic-type carving, I have plenty of reference material handy. Pictures come from a variety of sources such as magazines, books, photos, and the internet. These pictures are invaluable to understanding pattern lines, shapes, and textures from a variety of angles—something no one picture or pattern can achieve.

I use three photocopies of a pattern when carving. One copy is adhered to the carving block with a spray adhesive (A tip I learned from chip carvers). The other is to be cut up and used as a working paper pattern, making line transfers during the carving process.The last copy is kept for quick reference.

Block out the main pattern lines first by holding the tools perpendicular and making straight up and down cuts square and as close to the pattern lines as possible. Do the same with all the other pattern views, one view at a time. Rounding of the edges does not begin until all major areas match the pattern and are set to the correct depths.This insures your piece will not “grow” or become distorted during carving.

Another important and necessary step is to draw and redraw the centerlines and major reference lines as they are being carved away! These lines are invaluable for balance, symmetry, and referencing as you carve.

Eagle Head Drawing Pictures

Getting Started

Start by preparing your blank. Use the pattern to mark the centerlines for the sides, top, and bottom. Use a carpenter’s square to true these lines perpendicular to the blank’s bottom. That way, all the pattern views will line up accurately once transferred. Then align your side-view pattern to your marks, and secure it to the blank with spray adhesive—the other views will be drawn in later. Drill the center of the eyes with the 18“-diameter drill bit. Drill the whole way through the block to mark both sides. A drill press makes it easy to drill the holes perpendicular to the blank, but you can use a hand drill if you have a steady hand. This tiny hole now is a point to measure from, and it will mark the eye placement in later steps.

Cut out the block on the band saw. Cut outside the line on the side-view pattern—the other views will be carved by hand later. Redraw all centerlines including the bottom.Then place the top-view paper pattern on the centerline, and draw this view to your block as shown.

Rough-out the back of the eagle head. Use a large #3 gouge. Begin from the top-view pattern lines and carve straight down, keeping your lines perpendicular to the bottom. Follow the marks from the back of the neck to the base of your carving.As you carve through the paper pattern, redraw any major lines removed.

Define the chin line. I use a large V-gouge. Start from the side-view centerline and carve to the front-view centerline. Take care not to carve too deep. Use the same tool to start to define the bottom edge of the feathers that will eventually fit over the staff.

Gta vice city download free for pc. Redraw your centerlines and the details of any key areas that were carved off.

Begin to shape the beak. Use the large #3 gouge. Follow the top-view pattern lines and shape the outline of the beak and brow-ridge area.At this point, the paper pattern should be completely carved away, leaving only your transferred pencil marks.

Define the underside of the eyebrow ridge. Use a large V-gouge. Note: the small drill hole is still in use as a reference.

Check your progress. Your piece should still look pretty blocky with all the major lines defined and carved to the appropriate depths.

Begin shaping the eagle. This is where keeping true to the pattern lines pays off.Soften and shape the hard edges using a carving knife or large #3 gouge. Examine your piece from all angles. Using your centerlines, make sure both sides are equal, balanced, and the same thickness. Be sure “key” locations, such as the eyes and corners of the beak, line up with each other when viewed from the front and above. It is better to find misalignments now (See Tip).

Continue to smooth and refine your tool marks. Begin with a coarse-grit metal or diamond file. Then move on to a medium-grit file before finishing with fine or extra-fine grits. Your carving should look smooth and flow from one area to the next without any “hard” tool marks. The goal is to get close to the overall shape in preparation for finer detailing. With the shaping done, take the side-view paper pattern, and lightly draw in the upper beak, lower beak, and eye outline locations on both sides, making sure they are even.

Drill the eye sockets.Double check the eye center before drilling its perm-anent position.Using a 9mm barrel or disc diamond rotary bit, drill a 14“-deep recess in each position. Test fit the glass eyes for depth and fit. The outline of the glass eye should follow the contour of the head with the pupil pointing inwards towards the beak. This allows live birds of prey to pursue prey directly in front of them without turning their heads. Check the alignment straight on and from the top-view.Remove and set aside eyes until final placement.

Separate the upper and lower beak using a medium size V-tool.The bottom beak needs to fit up under the top portion and is slightly recessed. Smooth this cut with an extra fine, curved diamond file to prevent tear-outs while carving these delicate areas further. Because this is a functional walking staff, the tip of the beak is thicker, shorter, and will have a rounded point—unlike one found on a realistic carving—to increase its strength and durability.

Outline the upper and lower beak. Use a sharp, 18” V-tool to set these sections apart from the face. Use a 18” gouge of your choice to carve in the cere (or fleshy-looking nostril area) to separate it from the beak. Use this same tool to define the oval nostril openings—see the pattern for positioning.

Draw in the different feather groups. Follow the natural feather tracts and how they flow. This is where good reference photos come in handy! Your concern is not to define each individual feather, but to concentrate on the groups of feather and how they relate to one another.

Carve in the major feather groups. Use a large V-gouge creating interest with slight “hills and valleys.” Next, draw in the medium size feather groups within these larger feather tracts you just carved. Use a medium V-tool or gouge to establish these feather groups.

Soften the tool marks. Use a 14“-diameter round stump burr, ruby, or diamond stone rotary bit.Follow the direction of the feather groups, flowing from one area to the next. The outcome should be subtle changes within each group.

Add detail to the feathers. Separate some of the smaller individual feathers in the cheek area and the edges of the larger feathers throughout your carving. Use a 116” veiner.

Define the very fine feather detailing around the eye. Use a 116” veiner.

Defuzz the carving. I use a rotary tool with abrasive pads mounted on a screw-headed mandrel to clean my carving. Go with the direction that the feathers flow—not against—to prevent any breakage.This step helps give the carving a final finished look.

Draw an outline of the bottom most feathers.These are the feathers you want to overlap onto your staff. Remove the excess wood up to this mark with your saw of choice.

Test fit your head and staff, and make any final interior adjustments before finishing the fragile feather tips (see sidebar on page 64). Your overlapping neck feathers should be about 18” thick at the edge for this fitting.On the neck in the photo, the opening has been adjusted to reflect an oval which matches the outline of the staff used.After acheiving a proper fit, begin to carve the feather tips so they curve and taper down to your staff.Your feathers should be rounded on the top side and fit tightly, flat against the staff.When finished detailing the feathers, test fit to make sure the dimensions as well as the “look” of the two work together.

Tip: Making interchangeable cane heads

Before you rough out your cane and cane head, take the time to plan out the joint. As shown below, the block has been kept square, which ensures that the opening is positioned accurately. Using a 112“-diameter keyhole saw-style drill bit, place the bit on the center of the neck, and drill up into the bottom 112-2″. This forms a stop-cut when cleaned out to accept the staff. Clean out the hole with a medium-sized gouge.

Then set the head aside and drill the receiving end on the staff. A slightly larger keyhole saw-style drill bit, 134“-diameter, is used. Center the drill bit on the staff, and drill about 112-2″ down from the top. Remove the excess wood on the outer edge of the staff to expose the peg portion, which will fit into the eagle’s neck. The staff is slightly larger so you can hand trim it to a tight-fitting joint.

If added strength is needed, drill a 38“-diameter hole in the center of both the staff and the neck to accept a 38“-diameter dowel. This is an optional precaution.

Tip: Getting Key Points to Line Up

Take two stick pins or needles and push in slightly to the two points you wish to compare, (such as the eyes or corner of the beak). Then look at the piece carefully—do the pins line up when viewed straight on from the front-view? If not, adjust the pins until they do. Then look straight down from the top-view—do the pins line up in this position? If not, adjust again. Keep moving the carving, adjusting the pins until you find a position where the pins successfully line up from both views.Mark this position with a pencil, and transfer your pattern lines from this new point for accurate placement.

• Cherry: 212” x 2″ x 72″ (6.4cm x 5.1cm x 1.83m) (staff)
• Basswood: 234” x4″x6″ (7cm x 10.2cm x 15.2cm)
• Wooden dowel: 3/8″ dia. (1cm)
• Glass eyes: 9mm yellow
• Two-part epoxy

• #3 gouge: 1″ (25mm)
• Carving knife
• Detail knife
• V-gouge: 5/8″ (16mm)
• V-tool: 1/4″ (6mm)
• Veiners: 1/8″ (3mm), 1/16″ (2mm)
• #11 gouge: 1/4″ (6mm)
• Gouges: 1/8″ (3mm), 1/16″ (2mm)
• Carpenter’s square
• Band saw
• Drill or drill press
• Drill bits: 112” (38mm) dia. and 134” (44mm) dia. keyhole saw-style
• Drill bits: 1/8″ (3mm) dia., 3/8″ (10mm) dia.
• Rotary power carver
• Bur: 9mm barrel diamond
• Files, metal or diamond: assorted

This article originally appeared in Woodcarving Illustrated Spring 2006 (Issue 34).

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This tutorial shows how to draw the head of a bald eagle from the side view in twelve steps. It includes detailed illustrations and simple drawing instructions.

While drawing animals can be complex this is a fairly beginner friend tutorial as it offers a very detailed breakdown of the drawing process. The examples show how you can take an eagle’s most characteristic features with a minimal amount of detail and create a fairly realistic looking line drawing.

It’s recommended that you start the tutorial in pencil and draw light lines that you can easily erase in case you make a mistake. You will need to do so in several of the steps.

Step 1 – Draw an Outline of the Eagle’s Head

Start the drawing with a simple outline, basically a silhouette without any of the smaller details.

First draw a fairly large beak with a hook like tip and afterwards add the lines to define the top and bottom portions of the head/neck.

Please be aware that you can and may need to weak this outline as you begin adding the different parts of the head.

Step 2 – Draw the Eye & Surrounding Shapes

Draw the eye as a circle or a light oval with it’s top portion lightly covered by the eyebrow. You can project the eyebrow line/forehead line from the area where the beak transitions into the head.

Afterwards you can draw a some construction lines for the feather pattern above and below the eye as shown in the example. Please note that the actual feathers will be added in later steps and these lines can then be erased.


Step 3 – Draw the “Cheek” Area

From about the middle of the shape surrounding the eye going down to about the tip of the beak outline the feather pattern of the “cheek” area. You can then extend the bottom of the bill to basically merge into it’s bottom curve.

Step 4 – Draw the Details of the Bill

Add the smaller details of the bill as shown in the step by step breakdown below.

  • Add the line that splits the top and bottom halves
  • Draw a wave like line in the upper portion to separate it from the nose area
  • Show the “lips” as an outline of the mouth that is wider towards the base and narrower towards the tip
  • Draw the line that separates it from the head
  • Add the nostril

Step 5 – Draw the Details of the Eye

Once again you can see a step by step breakdown below. This time for the eye.

  • Draw the pupil as a small circle or a light vertical oval
  • Add the highlight (light reflecting from the eye) overlapping the pupil as a tiny horizontal oval (can be just about any shape depending on light source)
  • Show the eyelids as an outline around the main shape of the eye
  • Define the shaded area
  • Fill in the pupil and “in shadow” part of the eye with black or pencil shading

At this stage you should have a pretty much finished basic outline drawing of the eagle’s head. So you can begin darkening the lines you will keep for your final drawing by going over them with more solid strokes. You can alternatively use a pen or a black marker but only if you are very confident that you won’t make a mistake.

Step 6 – Darken the Lines

As already mentioned you can darken the parts of the drawing that will remain unchanged in it’s final stage. After you finish with the eye you can also go over the outline of the bill.

Step 7 – Draw the Feathers Around the Eye

To make the eagle look more realistic and less like a wire frame you can now add some of the feather pattern starting with the area around the eye.

You can draw most of these with just two lines adding some single and lines here and there to make the pattern appear more random. Also try and draw each clump to be slightly different in size and to have a bit of a random wave or curve (different directions).

You can draw the feather lines with darker strokes right away as you already have the construction lines from the previous lines to guide you. You can then use the tip of an erase to remove the guide lines after you are done.

Step 8 – Draw the Feathers around the “Cheek”

After the eye add the feathers around the “cheek” and base of the mouth area.


The feathers below the mouth generally tend to be tiny so you can pretty much draw them to look like fluff with very tiny lines. The feathers towards the back of the “cheek” however should be much larger.

Step 9 – Draw the Feathers Outlining the Head

Outline parts of the overall shape of the head with a darker line similar to the bill but also add some feathers clumps randomly sticking in a few places.

In particular these should be a little bit below the bill and at the back of the head. You can also add some tiny fluff in the upper part of the head just past the bill.

Step 10 – Draw the Forehead Feathers

Show some of the feather pattern of the forehead by simply drawing a few curved and wavy lines. These should be of varying length with somewhat random curves and waves but at the same time should have the same general flow (towards the upper/back of the head)

Step 11 – Add the Feathers Around the Neck

As bald eagles have white feathers on their head/neck area you can shown this pattern by creating a sort of “upside down crown” pattern of feathers around the neck.

Randomize the size, curve and direction of these feathers but at the same try draw most of these to be larger than in other areas of the head.

Step 12 – Finish the Eagle Drawing

Finally add the last bits of feathers as some fairly random batches of clumps around the upper neck area and back of the head.

This will create an appearance of the head being covered in fairly rough feathers without having to draw every single one of them.

Once you finish these you should be done with the drawing of the eagle’s head.

Eagle Head Drawing


A bald eagle is a pretty cool looking bird and having a well done drawing of one can look quite impressive. Hopefully following this guide has helped you gain a better understanding of how to draw one, and possible a slightly better understanding of how to draw in general.

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