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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.

© Joris De Raedt
© Joris De Raedt


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.

© Joris De Raedt


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.

© Joris De Raedt


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.

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