NZ Natural History Artist #1: Bruce Harvey


On my recent trip up north to Russell, we made a stop along the way at Waipu, where they were having an antiques show. They had all sorts of fascinating things- old books, fountain pens, sewing machines, vintage postcards… but what caught my eye were these vintage Air New Zealand menus, because of the beautiful bird illustrations on the covers. I bought a couple for a few dollars each, and have framed them (in some repurposed frames from the op shop). It turns out the illustrations were done by NZ artist Bruce Harvey (one of the best known NZ artists of birds), between the years 1976-79.



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Puriri branch- coloured pencil

Here is another piece that I just finished yesterday- an illustration of a Puriri (Vitex lucens ) branchlet, completed in coloured pencil. Would have liked to do one more pass over the leaves (might still do that) but a bit rushed for time on this one!

puriri branch, coloured pencil, 2014
puriri branch, coloured pencil, 2014

Something I learnt doing this illustration- when illustrating flowers ALWAYS finish the flowers before the leaves+stalk! Otherwise they will go all wilty and you will have to go and find more specimens to get the colours and shading right.

I used Strathmore wind-powered bristol board (smooth) for this piece, and was really impressed! It stood up really well to scratching back the pencil with an exacto for fine details. My new favourite CP paper!


A bit off topic, but here is a fun video via School Journal Library about the author/illustrator Peter Browns’ process in creating his latest picture book ‘Mr Tiger goes wild’. Something fun to watch, lots of references to mid-century Disney artists such as Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle.

Author and Illustrator Peter Brown On His Process from School Library Journal on Vimeo.


Hope you are having a great week- and have a happy easter!




botanical pen and ink

I used to avoid pen and ink and be really disappointed with anything I tried to do with it. Now that I’ve done more practice with it through my classes, I am growing to love it! I decided to do a pen and ink plate illustration of the Puriri Tree (Vitex lucens). It was completed on detail paper (my new favourite for pen and ink) with a hunt 102 nib and 0.5mm pigma micron.

botanical-in-progress puriri-plate-actual

Another really useful resource that I discovered for Pen and Ink rendering is the book ‘Rendering in Pen and Ink‘ by Arthur L Guptill- which according to is the most comprehensive book ever published on the subject of ink drawing. It definitely has a lot of detailed info in it- I’ve added it to my Resources page!

Hope you have a great day!


p.s I am slowly moving all my finished illustrations onto my new portfolio website- . Its still a work in progress, but eventually I will link this up to the portfolio on the blog. Please follow me if you have tumblr!

portfolio website image