During the winter of last year I was very gratefully asked If I wanted to illustrate a new bird book being brought out by Kate Humble, due for release in the spring of 2011.
(Image borrowed from http://www.dollymix.tv/images/Kate%20Humble.jpg)
Well that time has come and Kate's new book is available on Amazon as we speak. I believe the official release date is on the 27th of April but as the books are available from some retail outlets I decided to upload my work in the run up to its formal release.
The book is called Watching Waterbirds with Kate Humble and Martin McGill and is The book introduces some 75 species of wetland birds to readers through the eyes of Kate Humble.
The product description is the best way of summarising the book as it describes it in a nutshell
Kate freely admits she is still learning her birds, so to find out more she contacted Martin McGill of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust to act as her guide. Their birdwatching sessions together form the basis of this book. As Kate learns the difference between a Canada Goose and a Barnacle Goose, which ducks dive and which ducks dabble, and how to tell apart those little brown jobs that warble from the reedbeds, so she passes on the information to the reader as she goes. The effect is not dissimilar to the Last Chance to See series, in which Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry scour the world for endangered species. The difference between Canada Geese and Barnacle Geese? Just remember that the C-anada goose has a C-hin-strap. The Teal is the Ziggy Stardust of the duck world, while the Shoveler feeds as though it's dropped its contact lenses. Each species takes up approximately two pages, complete with photographs and illustrations to bring out the key identification and behavioural points. The birds are divided into simply titled groups - large waddling birds, little brown jobs, and so on. Other chapters in the book cover topics such as basic equipment, clothing, hide etiquette and more, each written for the beginner in Kate's style. WWT centres: Slimbridge (Glos), Arundel (Sussex), Wetland Centre (Barnes), Welney (Norfolk), Washington (Tyne & Wear), Caerlaverock (Dumfries), Martin Mere (Lancs), Llanelli (Wales), Castle Espie (N Ireland).
Kate Humble is Vice President of WWT, President of the RSPB and co-presenter of Springwatch and Autumnwatch. Martin McGill is a senior warden with WWT, based at Slimbridge.
Despite it being pointed towards the beginner I am very proud and happy indeed to be part of it, especially if it goes towards helping the plight of some of our most charismatic resident and migrant waterbirds and enables other people to enjoy a hobby (arguably a way of life) that has given me hour after hour of enjoyment
How my art will look in the book is similar to the annotated note style Jamie Oliver used in his 'Jamie at Home' series whereby he kept a journal of the ingredients he used in his cooking and where they came from in his garden (see poor photo below as an example)
My illustrations depict the birds Kate and Martin observed and hopefully highlight particular behavioural traits and defining features the species has. My work is placed alongside images of the birds and Kate studying them and creates a diary/scrapbook like spread to achieve a sense of discovery and avian adventure.
I hope you enjoy the book and my art as much as I enjoyed working on it. I would just like to say a massive thankyou to Kate Humble and Lou Millward for asking me to be part of this book and wish them great success with the publication.