Step 20 (optional): For a cleaner look, erase as much as you can of the initial guide lines. Don't worry about erasing all of the guides. It's okay to leave some behind. Re-draw any of the final sketch lines that you may have accidentally erased.
Final Step (optional): Cardinals are colorful, so instead of the usual shading, try coloring your drawing. Using gray, add some shading to give the drawing more dimension and volume. Shadows are generally at the cool end of the color spectrum, so add some blue or purple in the shadows.
Use black for the mask on the face. Use strokes that go in the general direction of the feathers. Continue adding black until you've covered the entire area of the black mask. Start adding dark red to the body, mainly to the sections in the shadow. Add some brown on top of the dark red you've already to give the coat more color variety. Now cover the rest of the body in red to give the cardinal the vibrant coloration it's known for. Add the color lightly as you cover the body in red. Then push harder with your pencil to get separate layers of the same color. This gives the drawing more dimension.
Now use a slightly lighter shade of red to build up more color throughout the bird's body. After the layer of lighter red, you can go back and add more dark red. Continue the process of adding different shades of red to the body to build up the color you want. Adding different layers of color can be very time-consuming, so be patient and take breaks. You can also simply add a single layer of red to the entire body for a simpler drawing. Add some highlights to the top of the body using orange and yellow. Color the beak using the same technique of layer different shades of red on top of each other. Use light red on top of the beak for a shiny texture. Color the cardinal's feet using layers of shades of brown. Use dark brown for the shadows on the feet, then light brown and yellow for the highlights.
Draw a cast shadow underneath using gray and blue. This helps ground the cardinal so it doesn't appear to be floating. Don't forget to pause the video after each step to draw at your own pace. Add some blue to the shadows on the body and some reflected red on the cast shadow below the bird.
Visit the Amazon affiliate links below for helpful books that you can use as reference when drawing birds!