Creating a Feather
A step by step walk-through of how I made the feather shown below. I had some problems with photoshop crashing so I had to redo several steps. That resulted in it not looking quite as good as the original. Oh well, you get the point. :) This is actually my first attempt at drawing a simple feather so bear with me.
Draw the "spine" of the feather to determine which way it will lie.
With a general base color, block in the shape of your feather. Depending on the feather, pieces will clump together and separate in different areas.
With a fairly large, soft-edged brush go in a develope basic shadows and highlights.
With a finer brush, start to develop some of the individual "hairs" on the feather.
Continue to bring out the texture of the feather. Again, depending on the
feather, this could look really different. For some feathers the "hairs" are very visible and for others (like this one) they appear much more like one piece.
With a large brush over the top, bring out the shadows and highlights a little bit more.
Obviously not necessary but I added a shadow .