Arts & Culture, Humor, Open Mic

Open Mic: Osprey with Prey by Emmanuel Koh

Disclaimer: This article is the exclusive property of Emmanuel Koh and clay magazine. It is not to be drawn with, thrown, or struck by lightsabres. It is also not to be published to Stick Man Pte Ltd or to Vader & Co.

Somehow, I had this idea when I sat at my desktop and listened to EDM music while scrolling through Pinterest.

SKARG!!! I have no idea what to do. Should I just scribble or draw stick men or…

And suddenly, my headphones blared as a singer belted out the lyrics “FAAAAADDDEEED!!!”

Suddenly, I see this cool-looking bird on my screen, and I’m like, Ok…ayyy…let’s DO THIS!

And then hours later I have a magnificent bird coming to life. Well, almost, but not quite.

Actually, how did I accomplish this? Here is my interview as the master of birds, sarcasm, skarginness, and yes, history.

Reporter: So, Emmanuel, how did you master the art of birds, feathers, and fur?

Emmanuel Koh: It was really hard at first, but once I got the gist of it, it wasn’t so hard. Basically, I learned from a very helpful website called Virtual Instructor and my art teacher from TPS.

Reporter: Cool. So anyways, Emmanuel, what do you have to say about this osprey you’ve drawn?

Emmanuel: Well, for me, it was a question of whether I should continue drawing birds or move on to different things. At first, I thought I needed variety, right? But in the end, I decided on an osprey, which is a bird of prey. Usually, I draw smaller birds and parrots.

Reporter: Yeah, but Emmanuel, why an osprey? Why didn’t you choose a simpler bird?

Emmanuel: I chose an osprey since their feathers have beautiful detail on them. Also, I chose to work with pen and marker, so I was really able to work on the bird itself.

Reporter: And how did you manage a six hour drawing?!

Emmanuel: Laughs I took breaks! Skarg! You really are curious!

Reporter: I’m a reporter, Sir. Reporters are to be curious. By the way, how long are your breaks?

Emmanuel: It’s fine to call me Eman, that’s what my friends call me. Anyways, they’re decent breaks, about 10 minutes. It depends on if I’m eating or working on a different subject altogether.

Reporter: I see. So when you drew the bird, how did you make the bird “real”? Did you add texture or values? Plus, how did you use your supplies effectively?

Emmanuel: First, I used HB pencils to draw a rough proportion of the bird, and then I outlined the basic shapes of the osprey with a 2B pencil. After that, I did a contour line drawing of the osprey’s wings and feathers.

Reporter: Awesome! Behold, the master of feathers!! So, going back to the topic, what made you choose pens and markers?

Emmanuel: It was an experiment to test the effectiveness of the pens. At first, I was hesitant and for a good reason. If I made one single mistake, everything was going to fail. But another part of me said to be fearless and try new things. So I did!

Reporter: So what happened? Did you fail, or did you make it?

Emmanuel: I succeeded! YAY! But the pen and marker process was very difficult, and it took the majority of the time given on the art piece itself. I think it was one hour on the initial sketch, not including time for planning, and five tormenting hours on the fur and feathers, all in pen.

Reporter: Wow! Five hours! That’s incredible! So much commitment!

Emmanuel: Yes it is! After I finished, I looked at my hands, and they were sore and red with graphite all over my hands! Going back to the process, I did a rough sketch of the feathers around the bird and played around with the proportions of the osprey’s eyes. I managed to get the left eye but almost failed on the right eye. The next day, I resumed drawing and focused on the texture and values. For values, I blended each feather with a cotton bud and carefully added life to each feather. And no feather is the same.

Reporter: And the face?

Emmanuel: I did short, bold strokes for the feathers, and before that, I did the feathers with 4B pencils. It really helped, and I also coloured the eyes yellow, very lightly, with a tint of white for light.

Reporter: So on the tail feathers, did you do the same short strokes on the feathers?

Emmanuel: Yes and no. Yes, because I added pen marks on the tail feathers, and no, because it’s mostly comprised of pencil and cotton bud marks. As for the fish it’s holding, I did little detail, just the scales and fin. As for the feathers, I did cross-hatching since it really worked effectively.

Reporter: Wow, this really is something. I think we’ll stop here, and, thank you for your time here at clay!

Emmanuel: Thank you very much!


Meet the Artist

How old are you?
I am 15 years old.

Where do you live?
I live in Singapore.

What classes do you take in TPS?
I take French 1 Language and Culture, English 2, and Art Foundations.

What’s your favourite thing about art?
I definitely like to focus on details and also look at the beauty of God’s creation in birds. I like birds, but I don’t like walking near them or crossing their path, because I’m scared if they fly into my face. That happened once.

Can you tell us more about yourself?
I am not like other 15 year olds, big, tall, and strong. I am quite small for my age. That’s because when I was born, I had medical complications and had eight operations. So it affected my growth. There was this guy who punched me in the stomach and even tried to take photos of me for bullying purposes. But I love myself for who I am in God.

What are your hobbies?
Drumming, drawing, playing chess, reading military books, and playing nerf guns with my little brother.

What sports do you play?
I play soccer and basketball. In soccer, I’m a goalkeeper, and in basketball, I’m a striker.

What music do you listen to?
Worship music and electronic pop. Mostly Planetshakers and Alan Walker’s album, Different World


  1. Great work Emmanuel! That looks really realistic! Keep it up!

  2. Wow, great job Eman!

  3. Wow it looks really cool!!(i had WF6 with you)

  4. Naomi Hochstedler

    Nice drawing! Loved the details!

  5. I actually thought the osprey was in 3D when I first looked at it! It’s incredible!

  6. ayyy niceee emmanuel!!! (idk if you remember me)

  7. Omsd, that is epic! skargin’ awesome job Eman

  8. Awesome work, Emmanuel!! You’re very talented!

  9. This is amazing. I’m always impressed by your drawings. You can tell you put a lot of time into them!

  10. Hannah Den Hartog

    Great Job! I like art and ospreys are my favorite raptor (I’m a bird-watcher), so I really enjoyed this. The detail is amazing!