Jillian Tamaki

National Geographic Animals

Dec 18th, 2009

This project was definitely one of my highlights of the year. It was completed back in September, but the issue is just out now (Jan2010).

The series was about Asian Wildlife trafficking. You can read the article (and view some very disturbing photographs) here.

Animals, along with Dance, are probably my favourite things to draw. I was very excited when the AD, David Whitmore, suggested a simpler, painterly approach similar to the guy in this post. Thanks, Blog!

This wash technique is a very different one from my typical method… more of a one-shot deal with very minimal digital manipulation. (I still sent pencil sketches, albeit very rough ones.) Some of animals were done a dozen times before I got a few that worked. I would send the AD several final versions to choose from. Here is a picture of (mostly) discards.

It was an exercise in a new way of thinking and a good lesson for me as I try to streamline my illustration work. I have discovered through teaching that the most important thing you develop in school is not technique but PROCESS: a way of working that allows you to operate within the confines of Art Direction but still leaves you psychologically free to create work that is fresh and stimulating.