From the back of a cupboard …

Whale: gouache on illustration board

Some years back, and before writing took hold of me, I illustrated several children books. One was Save Our Seas, by author Maria Gill, who tells a story about the marine environment in New Zealand, based on logbooks from Sir Peter Blake’s New Zealand voyages. I was especially pleased to be asked to illustrate this book, as I love wildlife. And I had around fifty separate illustrations to do.

I had to make the main character – the skipper of Alba Tross expeditions in cartoon style. He was representing Sir Peter Blake, who was famous for introducing red woollen socks during his winning race in the America’s Cup.  

Gouache, graphite and pen
Leatherback Turtle

Many of the sea creatures were drawn in graphite on smooth illustration board. I edged the drawings in black ink to give them an extra lift.

Gannet on its nest
Rock Hopper Penguin
Little Penguin

I also sketched or painted; seals, sea lions, fish of all kinds. Then there were shells, crabs, more penguins, maps, boats, dolphins and more.

The intention of the book was to have students learn what lives in the seas surrounding them, and make them aware of how pollution impacts upon that environment and causes its endangerment. If you wish to see more illustrations from Save Our Seas, please let me know. It could make good fodder for another blog.

Right Whale: gouache

Maria wrote another book soon after, called Echo Warriors Save the Planet, which I illustrated. This is also a non-fiction book for school-aged children, which shows them ways in which they can become eco-warriors, through good energy savings, recycling, growing vegetables etc., and help the planet. I shall show you some of those illustrations next time.

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