I don't go in for massive showy gifts for Valentines day, it used to be a handmade card and some flowers, but nowadays I generally don't even get time to make anything!
But I had a little idea pop into my head this year and so I went with it and created a Lovebug in a entomology style, I loved it so much that I just had to do a second – the well-known Horny Lovebug!
I came up with some latin names to accompany them - Scarabaeidae Amare and Dynastini Eupatorus Lubido and tried to encapsulate the appropriate feel for how each beetle's attributes would create it's appearance.
Here's the Horny Lovebug and some more detail shots of both:
As you know, I love to draw animals! So I was really happy when BBC's Wildlife Magazine got in touch at the end of last year and asked me to do some illustrations to accompany a feature on conservation.
The essay was about how it's not always best to cordon of huge tracts of land and call them reserves or parks, as often this has seen an increase in poaching and deforestation, due to the lack of funding for the protection needed. Also what of the indigenous people that are forced off of their own land – some statistics show that often these very people are the best at protecting the land that they hold dear.
Obviously it is a really hard topic to discuss and there is no hard and fast answer for all instances, and I didn't want to take anything away from the park rangers who do an amazing job to protect wildlife. For the first illustration, a full plate I decided to do an amazon habitat with a Kayapo tribesman acting as guardian of his piece of jungle, surrounded by relevant wildlife – at the bottom an arapaima which has faced real problems from over fishing, a threat that is still being dealt with through education of the local inhabitants. Next is the quintessential icon of the amazon, the jaguar, and at the top a real success story, the Red Siskin, after a new colony was found after being feared to be on the brink of extinction.
For the second illustration I wanted to show the rangers of the African National Parks, who put their lives on the line every day in defence of wildlife. Although they are doing all they can, they cannot be everywhere at once, and often this can mean that whilst one thing is being protected, others are not, which is why it's so hard to get a definitive solution. I wanted to show this with poachers fires behind the rangers back.
Finally I wanted a bit of lightness so I drew a cute asian elephant, based on some pictures I took in Borneo, although I had to edit it a bit so that it wasn't a pygmy elephant! It featured in the January 2016 issue of Wildlife Magazine.
Here are all the illustrations and some detail shots:
My new mailers have arrived! A big thanks to Steve over at inky solutions for sorting out the printing of these, a really great job. I did a couple of new illustrations for this and tweaked some old ones – Endangered Invertebrates on one side and some animals I love(jellyfish, hammerhead sharks, King of Saxony bird of Paradise and a Golden Frog) on the back along with my all time hero - Sir David Attenborough.
Here are some close ups:
A couple of weeks ago I managed to meet one of my all time heros – Sir David Attenborough. I saw went to see him speak at the Environment Trust's annual talk and it was an amazing treat to see and hear him in real life.
It just so happened that it had been his birthday a couple of days before and as I had recently been working on a new illustration for a future mailout which featured him I decided to get a couple of giclée prints made up as a present (printed by the extremely helpful and skillful David at DOTtoDOT printing.)
He was really nice and appreciative of the gift (he even managed to hide any outward sign of being freaked out at receiving a portrait of himself by from an enthusiastic fan!) Being a little star-struck I forgot to ask him to sign my copy, but luckily I managed to get in the queue and have a slightly calmer chat about my illustration and get a special addition on my print!
What a legend!
Here are some close ups and pics: