ABOVE: Detail of the graphite drawing "Lioness and Lion".
"Why do you only draw wildlife?" I was once asked at a gallery. In truth, I do paint wildlife as has been made popular by some of my favourite wildlife illustrators; such as Robert Bateman and Glen Loates, but most of my fine wildlife art consists of graphite drawings. It helps to set my art and style apart from those who seem to use most of their fine wildlife drawings as less important sketchbook illustrations. Graphite is a highly undervalued art medium.
My interest in wildlife art is not merely due to my enjoyment of animals and the great outdoors. It's a bit more complicated than that. I was attracted to the wildlife photography of National Geographic magazine long before I ever held a camera. Drawing animals was something I did almost as often as drawing scenes I remembered from sci-fi movies and TV shows. Illustrating wildlife is actually a major reason why I got into wildlife photography. I wanted to be able to photograph animals that I hadn't become proficient in drawing and painting--particularly animals not found in Canada, so that I could study them in order to be able to render them better by hand; not so much to become a fulltime wildlife photographer. Studying animals; their anatomies and behaviours in their natural habitats, also gave me ideas as to how wildlife may evolve and behave on other worlds in the universe. For me, wildlife art has always been a crucial step toward inventing believable animals and beings for my fictional worlds, like Rädën. Of course, my head is always in the stars.
Where I live in Canada, many enjoy sci-fi and fantasy but to pursue making a living as an illustrator mainly through those genres remains extremely risky for most who would try. Most of my career as an illustrator has been as a wildlife artist. Yes, I still push sci-fi art like a man possessed but I don't mind showing the world my diversity in other two-dimensional art forms like wildlife art.