Andy Ward
Not exactly the transmutation of a species but somewhere in the fabric of this post must lay an excuse to allude to an ism. I’ve recently been working on a series of natural history prints for children. Before dragging themselves to
land and learning to walk upright the ancestor of this series of images began life as a single character developed for a children’s book pitch.
Albert lion was shelved around 10 years ago and the character was picked up again in 2005 and expanded upon for a children’s clothing line. I created a single image called ‘Animals Of Africa’ which took the form of an educational identification chart with 16 African mammals. It used an antique script font and an aged paper to add a sense of authority to it’s otherwise wonky appearance of wrongly coloured animals that were out of shape.
Three years later another fashion label asked me to expand on the series and I produced ‘Animals Of The Arctic Circle’, this time for a line of accessories. The images have remained out of license for a couple of years and rather than leave them on the shelf again,  last month I added ‘Animals Of Amazonia’ to the series.

I then thought about creating an ‘Animalfabet’ with the animals I had and last week made up the missing letters from the animals in stock. I have a great love of natural history, and this series has become a labour of that love. The animal characters are stylized but in no way do i intend on mocking the animals I've drawn. The series is intended to be a celebration of the variety of life and the myriad of innovative specialties evolved in order for each species to carve a niche for itself in it’s environment.
This series of images evolved from one forgotten children’s book pitch character that was dug up again in order to pitch on a second project. My post with a tenuous link to an ism concludes with the thought that sometimes natural selection needs a helping hand now and again. It’s good to pause every year or so and go through the files of abandoned ideas and reevaluate with fresh eyes. The evolution of an idea is not always linear.

Above is a quick illustration of the drawing technique. The animals were researched, referenced, and sketched. Over the years I have built up a very personal natural media brush library in photoshop. All of the brushes I use are built from either hand drawn and scanned natural media such as charcoal, pencil, airbrush or are textures I've created to emulate those natural media.
I like the rendering to have a little soul and echo the natural media I once used to produce my work before I bought my first mac. I want my cake, and I want to eat it too.
More images of these prints can be seen on my editions website. The final prints were finished with a gold emboss stamp.

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