Earlier this year I was asked to provide some conceptual illustrations suitable for a guide to baby massage. The style direction was influenced by simple lines and subtle touches of colour. This was a very different subject for me to work with, but I enjoyed the challenge of something new.
The first piece was quite close to my usual way of working or 'style', with most of the image having some colour as well as paint splats. In the following pieces, the colours became increasingly subtle, with most of the illustration becoming line drawing - much more suited to simple and elegant step-by-step instructions.
Following the first design, I was asked to show more detail in the baby's face, and reduce the saturation:
The first part of the book touches on how the very first bees evolved, from early pollinators to how we know them today. The first pollinators were prehistoric beetles and wasps.
I leapt at the opportunity to illustrate the lumbering legs of a stegosaurus alongside one of the very first bees, who is busily pollinating early species of flowers. Illustrating the 'first' bee was a challenge as there is very limited images available of them. I used images of early wasps and photos of early bees trapped in amber for reference. This one would become one of the larger illustrations in the book, spread over two pages.
The first flowering plants included species of waterlilies and magnolia.
Bee-friendly flowers: cosmos, Californian poppies, sunflowers, blue borage, squash blossoms, certain species of orchid (Myrmecophila Tibicinis), dandelions, foxgloves, blueberry, cherry and tomato plant blossoms.
The Little Book of Bees is published by Harpercollins and Abrams
I was recently contacted by a lady who has a tattoo inspired by my artwork - one of my little bumblebees on her collar bone. She asked to commission a little green grasshopper to go with the bee she already had. I thought this was a lovely idea and I jumped at the opportunity to draw more bugs! It was a fairly quick and simple commission, with one sketch and no revisions - it really felt like my own artwork from beginning to end with no outside influence/direction for a change, only that it matched the style of my previous bee illustration.
After confirming that the customer was happy with the sketch - I went ahead with some vivid colour. She also asked to purchase the original artwork from me, so I had to be extra
Earlier this year I was asked to illustrate a pair of Bald Eagles for Jekyll Island magazine, 31-81's upcoming fall/winter 2019 issue. It was lovely to learn that bald eagles mate for life, and that they have a breeding pair on the island itself. After looking at a number of photo references, I ended up with two possible sketches for the illustration.
The second sketch was chosen to take to completion - and here it is, this one was a treat to work on.
I am super excited to share my work for The Little Book of Bees - An Illustrated Guide to the Extraordinary Lives of Bees. Over a number of months, I worked closely with the lovely Hilary Kearney (aka Girl Next Door Honey) and a certain truly amazing editor at HarperCollins, to create altogether around 70 individual illustrations, depicting many species of bees, life cycles and behaviours, bee-friendly flowers, honey, bee keeping equipment and more. The book was published in August earlier this year. I am proud to have worked on such a wonderful project. The overall look and feel of the book is a style which I hope to go on to produce more of in future nature-related artwork.
"Bees continue to fascinate and charm us all – from novice gardeners and nature-lovers to dedicated environmentalists – and today, bees need our help more than ever. Discover the story of these incredible creatures, with The Little Book of Bees. Bees first appeared on Earth an incredible 130 million years ago. Since the time of the dinosaurs, evolution has taken our beloved bees on an incredible journey – and today, there are 20,000 species on the planet. The Little Book of Bees is a lovely, informative book of all things bee - from evolution and communication, to honey, beekeeping, and saving the bees - all in a beautifully illustrated gift book. Perfect for apiarists, Queen Bees, nature-lovers and bee enthusiasts everywhere." My artwork is used to illustrate the entire book from cover to cover; something I am truly proud of. The layout designer at HarperCollins did a wonderful job placing the artwork and making everything 'fit' together perfectly. 'Bees' is available in all major bookstores across the UK and US. I am also selling signed copies in my Etsy shop - available here. And a selection of fine art prints featuring artwork from the book.