Fieldwork is a very important aspect in the making of an accurate illustration of a species. Seeing the subjects in their natural habitat is often the very first step. Keeping a nature journal with field sketches helps me get familiar with the character of the species and makes is easier to capturing its essence in the final illustration. Looking through a spotting scope I make (visual) notes of the animals I'm studying.
01. SKETCHING PHASE
Getting to know the general shapes and anatomy of the species by making sketches is always the very first step. Besides fieldwork a visit to a wildlife sanctuary of the archives of a natural history museum can help to study details and compare different specimens. Any research or reference material that can be helpful is collected.
02. LINE DRAWING & DESIGN
Back in his studio all studies and photographic footage collected in the field will help in making the final drawings. I will look for an optimal visualisation which shows all typical aspects of the species and translate it in a rough line drawing. When an extensive panel of the species is required I will discuss all important behaviour that needs to be visualised with the client and provide a basic design.
03. FINALISATION & DELIVERY
In the next few days colour and detail is added on the computer, using a graphic tablet. The finished illustration is checked by the client and when approved the digital files can be delivered.
Timelapse of the colouring process of the Northern mockingbird.