DC eagle cam + accordion sketchbooks  = Drawing eaglets every day!DCeagleCam1-8_IkumiKayama

Why am I doing this? First, I wanted to do more watercolor. I love it so much, and it’s fun and challenging. To me, quality art comes from practice. And of course, birds are one of my favorite subjects to paint.

I also like to scribble and draw fast to take a break from a slow meditative task of recreating scientifically accurate figures for textbooks and journal publications. I told myself that I would limit my painting time to be under 2 hours every day. That rule went out of the window pretty quickly.

Watching and Painting DC2 and DC3 via DCeaglecam:


I learned about the bald eagle pair nesting sometime in February, and checked out the webcam image for few days. Sitting on eggs seems to be a very boring chore! I’ve never seen such bored eagles! I went back to it around March 15 when the eggs were expecting to hatch. Watching the cracks on the egg get bigger is a bit like watching paint dry.


Ta-da! DC2 the baby eaglet is here! When I paint the eaglets, I try to show their size in relation to other objects and their parents. They are growing quickly! It’s really funny to go back just a week back and see how tiny they were.


Seeing the second eaglet (DC3) hatch was fun too. Ah! So cute! I didn’t know how loving and caring the bald eagles were! They are so cuddly with their sharp bills and claws.


Watching how the eaglets interact with the parents is fun too. One day the parents brought a new branch for the nest, and they hit both babies on their heads with it. Was it intentional? Who knows. They two fight, eat, and nap together. I like it when they sit by the parent’s chest and look around. There’s so much to this world, kiddos!

DC Eagle Cam for Mr. President and The First Lady: Some background info:

When not drawing brains, joints, and other medical topics, I’m looking outside counting and painting birds. Unfortunately, this spring has been really full with inside work at Studio Kayama.

Stuck in front of a computer researching, writing, consulting, translating, illustrating, and reading, I discovered that a pair of bald eagles have returned to their nest at the National Arboretum. Even more exciting, the American Eagle Foundation have placed two webcams to watch the birds. Perfect! I had the live feed on for a few days, and watched the majestic eagles sit in their nest looking terribly bored.

Earlier this month, I was browsing through sketch blogs for inspiration, and came across an awesome idea for an accordion sketchbook by Marc Taro Holmes. Marc’s work is amazing and inspirational, and I highly recommend you checking it out.

Last summer, Stinky the titan arum at Denver Botanic Gardens bloomed. It was the first of its kind to bloom in the Rocky Mountain region, and I was there as the artist in residence to see the whole event unfold in front of my eyes. I drew it every day, and had a sketchbook full of titan arum drawings. It was an adventure! I worked in Disney World and Disneyland and thought I knew what a long line was. Stinky proved me wrong! The line to see the flower was 8 hours long!

The paper I’m using is Arches 140lb cold press 20″ x 30″ watercolor sheets. Years ago, I inherited a stack of said watercolor sheets from a colleague. He said he will never make art analog again (he is a really cool computer artist).

I finished Sheet 1 and almost done with sheet 2. What’s next?

I’m not a bald eagle expert in any stretch, but somewhere I read that it takes about 8-9 weeks for the eaglets to fledge. If all goes well and I can keep up, I will have 8-9 sheets full of DC2 and DC3 growing up every day.

Challenge accepted.

So far I’m able to keep up with my usual tasks of running a medical/scientific illustration studio, so let’s see how long I can keep painting. I’m enjoy this process immensely. If anything, I will be a master of painting hay and pieces of fish flesh.

To be continued! Let me know what you think, and if you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please leave me a note in the comments section.

PS: The American Eagle Foundation is naming the two eaglets and are accepting name suggestions via social media. If you have a good idea for their names, check out their facebook page!