Saturday, December 10, 2011

In my role as Wildlife Illustrator, at Bristol Zoo Gardens, I not only have the illustrations to do for the zoo’s animal identification signage, but the general up keep of them as well. Apart from painting and drawing, this involves a lot of computer work; where I have to have a basic working knowledge of the design software applications of Freehand, Quark and Photoshop (I have just recently started to learn to use Adobe Illustrator, as well, as we are switching over all IDs from Quark and Freehand). I also often do a lot of other little jobs, sometimes connected with the ID signage, sometimes not.

My work on the computer involves compiling new ID signs and editing information (putting distribution ranges on maps and dropping in animal information text, scanning in illustrations and editing size, blemishes, colour, backgrounds etc). After printing completed signs from the computer, they then need to be trimmed to size and after being sealed in laminate (which we have a machine for and I do myself), trimmed to size again, strips of adhesive put on the back and then putting the signs up on/by their respective enclosures.

This is an old pic of me (hair colour and length since changed) but it shows me changing ID signs in situ.

I do regular “sweeps” of the zoo to check the signage for missing, damaged or faded signs that I then need to replace. This year I have tried to do a “sweep” every 2 months to try and keep up with the ravages of weather, wear and mischievous imps.

So my work is really quite varied and far removed from just drawing or painting all day, every day.

To give you an idea.. This is what I have been doing over the last three weeks….

*Screwed ID holder to exterior of a bird aviary.
*Observing and taking close up anatomical detail photos of an Indian violin mantis – transferring details to drawing already done of the animal.
*Drawing a mega mantis.
*Painting a mega mantis – getting it checked and ok’d by animal dept. Scanned illustration on computer and picture file incorporated onto ID sign file.
*Learning to use Adobe Illustrator and rebuilding old Quark and Freehand ID sign templates in Adobe Illustrator.
*One morning spent sketching and photoing out at the Hollywood Towers Estate.
*Walking zoo grounds checking Christmas animal light shape displays for any that are bent and mis-shapen.
*Walking zoo grounds doing an ID sign check - “sweep”.
*Photoing and observing Madagascan blue stick insects ready for when I am to illustrate them.
*Several “Maintenance job request forms” done for work required on ID sign related stuff.
*Removed old sign board from an animal enclosure.
*Rescrewed into place an amenities sign blown down by wind.
*Overseeing rebending of mis-shapen Christmas animal light shapes.
*Painting background for Indian violin mantis.
*Hole punched and hammered in metal eyelets into laminate on some bird ID signs.
*30 ID signs printed, trimmed, laminated, trimmed and put up on respective animal enclosures.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Workshops at Nature In Art

Just been booked for another workshop next year and one for possibly January 2013; both at the Nature In Art Museum and Art Gallery in Gloucestershire.

In Sept next year I shall be tutoring a two day workshop for batik on the weekend of 29th & 30th. It has been a while since I have done a workshop at this wonderful venue, so I am looking forward to it enormously. This ties in nicely with my Artist in Residence week that follows there shortly afterwards from Oct 8th - 14th.

Butterfly fish batik I did in between helping my students on the 5 day workshop I tutored earlier this year.

And if the other workshop goes ahead as planned that will be the following January, although I have no dates as yet. The workshop will be held for 2 days over a weekend and it will be focusing on how to paint fur in oils. Although this workshop is very probable, I haven't had a confirmation for this as yet; but as soon as I do, I will post the dates.

For enquiries on booking a place on either of these workshops, please contact Nature In Art... found in my "Links" on the left hand side of this page.