Here are a few pages from my sketchbooks and some of the background behind them .
Some watercolour sketches of a kingfisher on the Eyebrook in Rutland done over the space of a few hours while it kept returning about every fifteen minutes to the same perch on an old willow branch overhanging the river. Some of these were the basis for the painting "Eyebrook Kingfisher". What a bird!
The sketch of the little robin singing its heart out on the top of a nearby shrub, was drawn in Spring near Nairn while I was sea watching.
A page of puffin sketches drawn on the island of Lunga in May when there is a lot of activity going on all around in the puffin colony. Birds beak fencing, gathering grass for nesting, bickering and constantly coming and going from nesting burrows. A beautiful late afternoon sun created gorgeous lighting that really showed up their form.
Pencil and a small amount of coloured pencil (lower images) and ink and coloured pencil (top image) was used here to show the contrast between the sleek patterned plumage of the adult and the "hairy fisherman's sock" look of the youngsters. Both have the most incredible orange eyes like huge searchlights. Note the difference between the two youngsters - the one on the left being younger and so therefore not as well developed as the one on the right. Both fledged successfully.
Some little owl sketches from a visit to Norfolk.
Enchanting little creatures - emperor tamarin monkeys drawn at the rainforest building at London Zoo where they have free access to come quite close to visitors but on their terms. I am not a huge monkey fan, but these little guys were like intent, hairy elves escaped from a Rankin illustration. Note the drawing on the top left - they stick out their long, curved, bright pink tongues as a means of communication.
Oystercatcher sketches done on the coast of the Isle of Mull. I spent a morning sketching the squadrons of oystercatchers on a glorious, sunny morning in June. With the light reflecting off the water onto the undersides of the beautifully white birds and their pied shapes against the sky and flashes of orange on the beaks, legs and eyes, they were irresistable.
For a few years barn owls nested in a rock crevice close to where I live. These were some very quick sketches I did while monitoring the brood of youngsters through a telescope from a distance to avoid disturbing them.