I think it’s fair to say that you need a fair degree of skill under your belt before you tackle this book. However, that’s not unreasonable, because birds and animals are a difficult subject and anything that proclaims itself a beginner’s guide is inevitably going to trivialise and simply annoy the more serious practitioner.
That said, for those who aren’t daunted by the author’s highly detailed approach, it does start somewhere near the beginning, with main chapter heads devoted to fur, feathers, eyes and ears, feet and tails, etc. In other words, short demonstrations covering basic structure rather than full-blown and perhaps rather off-putting projects covering a whole creature.
Doing things this way allows you to build up your skills and techniques progressively and also to pick out whatever it is you need at any particular time. If there’s a criticism, it’s that there aren’t any complete projects, so you never get that “pulling it all together” section that most books like to include. Although, as the book is already 144 pages long, extending it in this way could double the length or significantly reduce the admirable attention to detail that characterises the author’s approach. Forewarned, you shouldn’t feel short-changed when you come to the end.
The overall approach is painstaking and Rod does well to break a complex and difficult subject down into manageable chunks that don’t become overwhelming.