I’m in the middle of a big clear out and found an old sketchbook from when I was studying Natural History Illustration. As part of our studies we had to keep an ongoing sketchbook and I thought I’d share some watercolour and pencil bird sketches from it.
I love all kinds of bird and the sketchbook is full of them. All of the bird sketches are either from a stuffed specimen that we had in the studio or from life, or should that be death? As well as the stuffed birds and mammals that were dotted around the studio we also had a freezer full of dead creatures!
Sounds gruesome and it was in a way. The ‘freezer of death’ contained a whole variety of different species of bird and animal, all of which had been collected by our lecturer. Don’t worry, she wasn’t an animal murderer by any means. Thankfully they’d all died natural deaths or were unfortunate enough to end up as road kill.
I have many fond memories of hours spent drawing and painting the creatures from within the freezer but there’s one I’d rather forget.
Unfortunately the freezer broke during the Summer break one year and everything defrosted. Needless to say the odor which greeted us on our return in September was something I never want to smell again and it lingered for months.
Not surprising really as some of the specimens were more than a few years old!