The lab gave me a list of bird species to use. I started by doing basic research about where each one lived, how it behaved, and, of course, what it looked like. I searched for photographs, watched videos, and even looked at preserved specimens in museum collections.
Next, I sketched each bird on paper and had a scientific advisor look them over. I often had to go back to the drawing board two or three times before I managed to depict everything correctly. Once my drawing was accurate, I scanned it into a computer, scaled it to life-size, and printed it. Sometimes the printouts were huge, like in the case of the ostrich, which is 2.7 meters (9 feet) tall.
Finally, I worked with a team of artists to trace the scaled drawings onto the wall and fill in the base colors I’d chosen for each bird. Then I painted in the details with acrylic paint.