Before I begin any painting, I always sit down and draw my chosen subject. By drawing first, it gives me a chance to "feel" and get to know my subject before I paint it.
I have been taught by many teachers when it comes to drawing, but two artists that I keep looking back at to learn even more, is Aaron Blaise and Glenn Vilppu.
Aaron Blaise is a former animator from Walt Disney Animation Studios. These days, Blaise has set a goal that art should be for all and therefore he now makes educational videos regarding art (different mediums, how-to etc.). I have participated in a live online course last year on how to draw animals which helped me depicting my birds. He has also made an entire course on how to draw birds of prey which I have found very useful for my painting project.
More of Aaron Blaise's work can be seen here: https://creatureartteacher.com
Glenn Vilppu was one of my first drawing teachers. Vilppu is an American artist, who is incredible at figure drawing. I remember my first meeting with him. I had seen much of his work, so it was a real honor meeting him in person. Once when I was being taught by him, he sat down next to me and explained how drawing was not just about copying something, but about making your own observation of something. After that lesson I remember I felt instantly freed, as I had always believed it was about "perfection" in a way, but suddenly I felt like I was able to explore what drawing could do without the fear of failure. Whenever I am in doubt about a drawing I find myself looking for answers in Vilppu's drawings, and most of the time I find the answers.
More of Glenn Vilppu's work can be seen here: https://vilppuacademy.com